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Printmaking Sans Frontiers: Works by Hard Ground Printmakers 1989 - 2021

Printmaking Sans Frontiers: Works by Hard Ground Printmakers 1989 - 2022

From Hard Ground up: Comerford returns to Aberdeen

Printmaking Sans Frontiers by Jonathan Comerford
Works by Hard Ground Printmakers 1989 – 2022 at The Print Room,
252 Union Street, Aberdeen

Renegade South African artist Jonathan Comerford celebrates his return to Aberdeen with a retrospective exhibition and talk at Peacock’s Print Room on Union Street, this week.
It’s full circle for the master printer who has used art as a weapon to fight apartheid and break down borders with international projects, many of which are showcased in Printmaking Sans Frontier.
Fresh from art school in 1980s Capetown, Comerford first came to Aberdeen to visit friends diving for the nearby oilrigs.
“Somebody pointed me to Peacock [Printmakers studio], I walked in the front door, into that huge space with all the presses and I was sold,” he said. “I was told, ‘Come in, become a member and do your thing’.
“I had arrived in a place that I could never have dreamed of. It was phenomenal, it was like a wonderland to me.”
The ethos of Peacock’s open access print studio sat in stark contrast to the elitism Comerford had encountered in South Africa. All this creative freedom and support in the Granite City meant he could embark on a self-styled master printer apprenticeship.
Meanwhile, compulsory conscription by the apartheid government left Comerford wary returning home would force him back into the army. He had already served 15 months in the South African Border War.
A loophole existed though. “Essentially, I was state property. But I learned that as a sole proprietor of a company, the government can’t get use of you again.”
By taking the Peacock concept to South Africa, Comerford could work as an artist and avoid the draft for a war he opposed.
Scraping up enough money for a plane ticket home, he arrived in Capetown with a slideshow about Peacock. Using it as a blueprint, he won over a host of investors, one of them an art-loving diamond dealer. In 1989 Hard Ground Printmakers was born.
“My condition to them [the investors] was that there would be no repayment, but I would be responsible for producing artwork by South African artists in Capetown.”
With that money, Comerford rented a space and built the presses with enough cash left over to last the year. He then set off on an incredible arts journey, pulling in and helping develop a host of art talents, particularly from deprived black communities.
With no affiliation or funding with institutional bodies, the studio operated as an entirely independent, autonomous entity. This was key to giving voice to artists against the apartheid regime.
“I already knew quite a lot of black artists and comrades who were fellow students,” said Comerford. “People would come to the studio because I had access to the artists and the artists had access to Hard Ground. There was so much solidarity and support.”
Comerford encouraged artists to learn printmaking techniques that could help them translate their works into highly finished products. The studio then became sustainable through sales of art.
Upon returning to the UK in 2006, Comerford continued his collaborative practice working out of his Brixton studio and London Print Studio. He recently moved back to Aberdeen where his printmaking practice without borders continues.
“Coming full circle now to Peacock, I must thank the crew for embracing me back. If it wasn’t for Peacock, this work wouldn’t be here.”
Printmaking Sans Frontiers, Jonathan Comerford presents: Works by Hard Ground Printmakers 1989 – 2021

Liza Hamilton
Media Relations
peacock & the worm

Send a query: Printmaking Sans Frontiers: Works by Hard Ground Printmakers 1989 - 2021 (Reference ID: 20)

 Hakim Anitolo Odo L`aiye - The world is a river.
Odo L`aiye - The world is a river. Artist: Hakim Anitola - Artwork Master printmaker: Jonathan Comerford
1. Blue head - Silkscreen - Image: H56cm x W76cm Portrait
 Printmaking Sans Frontiers Linocut project 2016 -Cape Town, South Africa 2016
District Six Museum Homecoming Centre Cape Town South Africa 2016
Jonathan editioning - H G Printmakers 2016 CapeTown - HGP Pop up studio @ D6 Home Coming Centre
 Printmaking Sans Frontiers: Works by Hard Ground Printmakers 1989 - 2021
 Published works by Jonathan Comerford
The gallery presents work produced by master print maker, Jonathan Comerford, since 1989, in collaboration with artists from Southern Africa, Europe and the United States.
Growing Cube - lulwah al Homoud - Silkscreen - Image W40 x H30 cm
 RUN AND JAC Printmaking Collaboration between Giacomo aka RUN and master printmaker, Jonathan Comerford
Prints by Italian artist and internationaly renown muralist produced in collaboration with master printmaker Jonathan Comerford - Hard Ground Printmakers,London
 South Africa `Black & White` London
A retrospective of linocuts by Billy Mandindi and Jonathan Comerford.
Speak, see hear no evil - Linocut by Billy Mamdindi
 The Tin Boats portfolio.
A portfolio of 11 lithographs produced by the artist in 2005.
On the brink

Copyright © 1988-2013 Jonathan Comerford™