Print Artists North’s first-ever Summer School of the Arts concludes at North Peace Gallery

The Print Artists North held its first Summer School of the Arts workshop in Fort St. John this month, focusing on different aspects of relief printmaking.
Print Artists North members during its Summer School of the Arts workshop. (Manavpreet Singh,

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Print Artists North (PAN) held its first Summer School of the Arts workshop in Fort St. John this month, focusing on different aspects of relief printmaking.

The printmaking workshop ran from August 12th to 22nd at Peace Gallery North and was led by printmaking duo Alain Costaz and Victoria Edgarr from Victoria, B.C.

“In the heart of Fort St. John, we gathered a diverse group of artists for an enriching two-week workshop that delved deep into the art of relief printmaking,” said Costaz. 

Costaz describes relief printmaking as a technique that includes linocut, linoleum cut, and metal stamping and uses tools to carefully cut away the areas that are not to be printed, leaving behind a raised surface of lines and shapes.

The visual artist is also an art instructor in Victoria, B.C., where he teaches painting, drawing, and printmaking at the Victoria College of Art. According to his website, Costaz focuses on the human form in his pieces, exploring identity and “emotional and physical landscapes.”

Edgarr is a Canadian artist and printmaker whose pieces take an interdisciplinary approach and often include “pictures, words, actions, and installation.”

There were eight different modules during the two-week workshop, with 14 people participating in each module.

Different aspects of relief printmaking at the workshop. (Manavpreet Singh,

“Each module focused on different aspects of relief printmaking, making different possibilities and was an elaboration in the basic technique of printmaking,” said Costaz. 

Participants received guidance and demonstrations on fresh print-making techniques, providing them with tools to enhance their artistic expression. 

Costaz said it was great to see a variety of skill levels participating in the workshop, from eager beginners to seasoned veterans.

North Peace Gallery coordinator Florencia Ormeno said artists with different backgrounds bring rich cultural experiences to the Peace region. She added that apart from sharing relief printmaking techniques, the artist duo also delved into innovative approaches, such as mixing styles and experimenting with prints. 

“Meeting artists from all over the place who actually make a living from their art and have their studios and galleries brings such an excellent mix of cultures to the city… It’s a blast for us local artists, seriously,” said Ormeno.

The gallery coordinator said that print artists are pros at mastering all kinds of styles, such as etching, intaglio, linocut, mixed media, and more. Linocut is the most utilized technique by PAN workshop instructors, Ormeno added.

Costaz said workshops like these offer more than just lessons, they provide a transformative journey through art. He believes artists thrive when they can share their insights, learn from each other’s journeys, and collectively celebrate the process of creation. 

“The arts have the power to unite, inspire, and elevate the human spirit, and workshops like these are integral to fostering that creative spirit in the Peace region,” said Costaz. 


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