January Artist of the Month: William Stolpin

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

One of the benefits of traveling and exploring is finding new artists! This past fall, we traveled to the Michigan Renaissance Fair. It was so much fun - and I was so pleased to discover the most talented artist there! I'd like to share his work with you, in our Artist of the Month feature.  William (Bill) Stolpin is located in Eastern Michigan, and has a variety of art styles that he creates. We just fell in love with his dragon art.  We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Bill about his art, history, and more. Here's what he had to say...

Bill Stolpin

The Encampment

WE: Please tell us about your art...

WS: I am a printmaker; Etchings, woodcuts, screenprints and the like. I can paint (acrylics - oils take too much TLC), but I am not a painter. My prints all start out as drawings - first as thumbnails to work out the basic academics of the piece, then as full-sized detailed rendered drawings which are transferred to (or used by) the final print medium. In my 22' x 36' studio are three screenprinting stations (the largest can print bleed images on 22" x 30" fine art paper). I have a large Krull etching press, a Dickerson combination press (currently set up for lithography), and a small 'Line-O-Scribe' relief proofing press.

I work with three (now two since the death of Jim Anthony) other artists in the studio. Stefan Davidek, Carole Brender and I are known, locally as DAS PRINT CO. In 2005, DAS had a 25-year retrospective exhibition at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. Two artists from the Detroit area have also been regularly printing in my studio for years. In addition to everything else, I have had a shop at the Michigan Renaissance Festival for 19 years.  My work is in numerous collections including the National Trust in London, England, and the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. My most recent award was a $1000 second prize in my category (Drawing, Printmaking and Graphics) at the "Festival of the Masters" at Walt Disney World in 2007.

Bill Stolpin

Threave and friend

Bill Stolpin

WE: How/when did you start becoming an artist?  

WS: It all started back in Junior High School where I was making linoleum block Christmas cards. I was making cards with seven blocks and fifteen colors. I realized that I had some talent, and should probably take it seriously. I learned numerous artistic disciplines while (as a Boy Scout Den Chief) helping my mother (The Cub Scout Den Mother) as she showed the skills to her den of Cub Scouts. In High School, I did pencil portraits of my classmates. I've worked in Community Theater for decades doing everything from set decoration to directing. I am an Eagle Scout and former Lay Advisor to the Order of the Arrow (an honor camping society) where I used any number of artistic disciplines. I was fortunate to help with the annual art exhibition put on by the International Platform Association (IPA) in Washington, DC for a number of years. It was through the IPA that I met internationally-known lithographer, Professor Emil Weddige from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He convinced me to concentrate on my printmaking. That was back in the late 60's. I've been a serious printmaker since then!!

Bill Stolpin

Tintagell Castle

Bill Stolpin

Highland sentinel

WE: What do you draw inspiration from?  

WS:  I have a fascination with a number of different subject matters. I am a member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists and the America Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics with two of my prints (...and the Santa Maria, One Giant Leap) in the Air and Space museum. I have traveled extensively, and have a love of landscapes (Midlands Canal, Looking West, Michigan Winter) especially castles (Tattershall Window, Scottish Castle, Trausnitz Castle) and other ruins (Tintagel Castle), which probably explains many of my English, Scottish and Irish images. Back in the early 80's, along with the other three DAS PRINT CO members,  we decided to begin documenting the City of Flint, Michigan. As a group, we published several 4-print portfolios of buildings in the area, many from times past (as they were while I was growing up). I have continued to publish Flint buildings (Memories from the Tarmac, Masonic Temple, Atwood Stadium) at a rate of about one every two years. My love for mythology (Dark Rider, Encampment, Figurehead) and megaliths (Mount Killarus) coupled with my shop at the Renaissance festival has generated numerous prints I loosely call Fantasy prints. I am a dragon nut (Inferno). On my website you can find over 60 portraits of dragons of different types and styles. It's a nice collection of dragon portraits.

I periodically generate several abstract prints. I find the freedom in execution of abstract prints is reinvigorating and a welcome change from the precision and discipline required while accurately portraying a building from the past. Then there are the miscellaneous images; self-portraits, commissions, special projects (The Tower, Greenman I) or workshop pieces, that don't naturally fall into the other categories.

Bill Stolpin

Rettke's - Flint 1957

Bill Stolpin

Remains

WE:  What are your favorite mediums to work in?  

WS: I am a printmaker!! I can work comfortably in Intaglio (etching), Relief (woodcut), and screenprints. I have done stone, metal plate and paper plate lithographs, but find the process too restrictive for my patience. The majority of my images are screenprints, probably because of the layout of my studio. I can "easily" generate a 45-color print in an edition of 30 without changing much in the way of layout, storage, process, cleanup, or press setups. I do consciously try to choose the medium, size, paper, etc. most appropriate for the image. Some prints demand to be carved from wood, while others require the soft-ground texture of a delicate feather for instance. The print tells me which medium it requires, and I comply.

Bill Stolpin

Wyeth's world

Bill Stolpin

The eagle has landed

Bill Stolpin

Sunset

WE:  Where are your favorite places to create art?  

WS: My prints are created in my studio. I have a portable screenprinting table complete with registration hinges that I take with me for lectures and/or demonstrations, but those are unique circumstances.

Bill Stolpin

Wallace wonderland

Bill Stolpin

WE: How can readers find and purchase your art?  

WS: I have works in the Blue Heron Gallery in Elk Rapids, Michigan. I can be contacted through the Ann Arbor Art Center, and through Detroit Artists Market. I have pieces on display and available through the art sales and rental gallery of the Flint Institute of Arts in Flint. I own shop #146 along the Kings Way at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, which is open for 8 weeks in late summer. The easiest way to see and purchase my works (both originals and reproductions) is through my website, http://www.stolpinart.com/ . I take PayPal payments. By the way, I periodically publish a free newsletter showing what's going on in my artistic life. New prints are usually available at special pre-publication rates to subscribers to the newsletter. You can subscribe right on my home page.

Bill Stolpin

Michigan fall

Bill Stolpin

The eye

WE: You are involved in community work and teaching with your Printing. Can you tell us more about that? 

WS: I just completed a nine-year stint on the board of trustees for the Greater Flint Arts Council. I currently serve on the accessions committee for the Flint Institute of Arts, and I also teach relief printmaking there.

 

Bill Stolpin

Callanish

Bill Stolpin

Blue unicorn

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?  

WS: For grins and giggles I should point out that I am listed in the Marquis Biographical references "Who's Who in America", "Who's Who in the World", and "Who's Who in American Art". I'm not sure I know why, but I'm proud to be in such good company.

Bill Stolpin

Nordic Fog

Bill Stolpin

Cathedral of gargoyles I

WE: Thanks so much, Bill! Your work is extraordinary - it is great fun to learn your interesting history. We love the dragon coloring book we purchased!

Bill Stolpin

Ancient

 

For more information, to see Bill's prints, and to purchase any of his art, please see:
http://www.stolpinart.com/

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright of William Stolpin.

 

 

 

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