This is a short write-up by Krrrl in preparation for the Zoom Panel Discussion at the University of Arizona Art Museum on September 21st, 2023:

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a Printmaker, but I am a Troublemaker

Like the Bermuda Triangle, the Desert Triangle is this zone, west of Austin, where an artist can enter and never be heard from again.  I've been to a lot of regional exhibitions -- like "Estampas de la Raza," the print collection of Harriett and Ricardo Romo -- but they are always filled with those California and Texas maestros. Where are my Mountain Time artists?  Outside of Luis Jimenez, the talent is unknown between Tucson, El Paso and Albuquerque.  So the Desert Triangle Print Carpeta is an effort to make a big noise and let the world know that we are here.

However our print portfolio did not start that way.  Back in 2009 I landed in Tucson and was amazed to see all the artists congregating on 6th and 6th downtown, exhibiting at Solar Culture, and parading in the All Souls Procession.  I fell into the Sculpture Resource Center, and from there stepped up to run the Tucson Sculpture Festival in 2013 (founded by Danny Wolverton).  I had no idea of this robust art scene in Tucson, and wanted to show these works in Albuquerque, but there was no way I could bring much sculpture, or even paintings, across the state border.  So we brought some Tucson PRINTS to show in El Paso, during the Chalk the Block festival in 2013.  And then we continued showing those prints across the Southwest, while picking up other prints along the way.

The next year Manuel Guerra organized the "Horned Toad Print Exchange" from El Paso; and Joe Marshall answered with the "YayBig Print Exchange" from Tucson.  I framed the prints in both of those exchanges and showed them in El Paso for Chalk the Block in 2014.  The print momentum was building.

Ramon Cardenas also had an art pop-up exhibition at Chalk the Block, so I approached him about commissioning some big prints for the next Chalk the Block in 2015. Christian Cardenas, soon to be his wife, said that she could get some artists from Juarez to participate, which solidified the project for me.  Then they, as "Los Dos," suggested that we print in Mexico City, with Arturo Negrete at his silkscreen studio -- Taller 75 Grados.  It started getting out of hand from there.  

The Desert Triangle unfolded organically.  What was supposed to be just 10 prints blossomed into 30, as we had to invite more and more artists, including Cristiana Cardenas. She was an established printmaker, so we were not bold enough to approach her at first.  Moreover we weren't stuck on Mountain Time at first, however it was those artists from Tucson, El Paso and Albuquerque that stepped up and formed "The Triangle."

Ultimately the Desert Triangle was more of a convergence, rather than a project conceived with any hard theme.  Ramon Cardenas was already coordinating the artist collective "Maintain Mash" in El Paso.  Manuel Guerra had his crew at "Horned Toad Prints" in El Paso.  Joe Marshall was showing printmakers at his YayBig Gallery in Tucson.  So it was just add-water-and-watch the project grow naturally -- and it grew into something that we were proud to tour across the United States.

I should add that we also printed in Desert Triangle studios -- such as at the "Gloo Factory" in Tucson, the "Tucson Community Print Shop," "Proper Printshop" in El Paso, and "Remarque Print Workshop" in Albuquerque. Plus we also printed in Mexico, sending Francisco Delgado to make his print edition at "Taller Grafica Libre" in Oaxaca, and Manuel Guerra to make his lithograph edition at "La Ceiba Grafica" near Xalapa, Veracruz.

Rather than impose any particular theme, I asked the artists to "make something personal,"   And they all stepped up with their best effort, which I think is what makes this print portfolio so special.   While it did not start out so ambitiously, it did grow to fulfill my latent ambition, which is to let the rest of the country know that we have great artists out here in Mountain Time.  Then we proudly toured it through Miami, Chicago, Austin, Portland and Riverside, California -- as well as Tucson, El Paso and Albuquerque.  One of our prints was even shown at the Smithsonian.  Plus we showed our prints in Mexico City and Oaxaca.

The Desert Triangle -- that dry zone west of Austin -- feels the tug from both the West and East coasts.  However, unlike the rest of the country, we also feel a strong artistic pull from the South, Mexico.  Our prints reflect all of that, and it would be nice to continue the momentum of our region.  For instance, afterwards Manuel Guerra organized another print exchange in 2019 -- the Ambos Lados International Print Exchange -- between Mexico and the United States.  And we also have to congratulate the traveling print exhibition that Marco Sanchez of El Paso organized, of US and Mexican printmakers -- Nexo Entre Racies -- which just recently closed at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

I was first inspired by the silk screened prints of Mission Grafica, which was located in the upstairs balcony while I was running the drawing group down stairs at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco in the mid 90s.

Also I should mention that we followed the example of Sam Coronado when we found out about the Serie Project in Austin. We commissioned 50 large 22x30 inch prints (on a full sheet of cotton paper), and split the edition, giving 25 prints to the artists.  We also gave the artists $500 and covered their printing costs.

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