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History of Hard Ground Printmakers 1989-

Hard Ground Printmakers Workshop was an established printmaking workshop situated in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop was established in 1989 by artist/print-maker, Jonathan Comerford to provide professional printmaking facilities for the independent artist and to promote printmaking in the Western Cape, circa 1989 - 2006, now in London from 2012. The workshop philosophy is to promote the tradition of printmaking, professional practise and diversity.

Jonathan Comerford studied at the Ruth Prowse School of Art, majoring in printmaking and drawing. On completion of his studies, he spent two years abroad furthering his printmaking career at Peacock Printmakers in Aberdeen, Scotland. He returned to South Africa to establish a printmaking workshop in 1988, when the apartheid regime was still in place.

The purpose of the workshop was to enable the artists from diverse communities to exchange ideas, information, and technical knowledge and have access to an equipped printmaking studio. The studio was named Hard Ground, as a comment on the then status where most printmaking presses were situated in educational institutions or in private studios and inaccessible to most independent black or white artists, thereby breaking new ground. Comerford commissioned the construction of the largest etching press (at the time) in Southern Africa and gave this prototype the moniker, The Rooi Gevaar* (The Red Threat). Having created and equipped a studio, the task of establishing the idea of a collaborative printmaking studio was like planting a seed in hard ground. The continued existence of the workshop till 2006 bears testimony to the resilience and endurance of the artist committed to this task. It is therefore suitable to view the naming of the studio also in terms of a primary acid-resistant etching medium, Hard Ground.

Hard Ground Printmakers is unique in that professional artist, Jonathan Comerford does all the printing for the studio. This accomplished print-maker publishes his own work, collaborates with artists and facilitates projects. The studio was self-funded through the sale of artworks, professional collaborations, print publications and commissions. This enables Jonathan to continue practising as an artist/print-maker as well as pursue his interest in publishing and working with artists living in both London. UK and Cape Town,SA. Over the years he has collaborated with numerous artists, and participated in producing collective portfolios both nationally and internationally.

Jonathan moved to London in 2006 to pursue his printmaking career.

Jonathan Comerford - Hard ground Printmakers -is now based in London, England, and is available for dedicated collaboration, editioning, portfolio production and print consultation.

*The name of the studio press Die Rooi Gevaar was reference to the states paranoia of a communist threat to South Africa to justify the Apartheid regime as was the press to the then art establishment / institutions in Cape Town which maintained exclusion.

About Jonathan Comerford

Jonathan was born in Cape Town, South Africa of immigrant British parents. His formal art studies started with one year at the Cape Technikon prior to two years military conscription into the Namibian / Angolan war. He then went on to study further at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Woodstock Cape Town 1983 - 1986, majoring in printmaking and drawing. Further study and practice of printmaking was done at Peacock Printmakers in Aberdeen, Scotland 1986 - 1988 then in 2006 a Diploma in Lithography, distinction, at Michealis School of Art, UCT.

In 1989 he established an independent printmaking studio, Hard Ground Printmakers till 2007 before moving to the United Kingdom.

Jonathan is currently working in London as an artist / printmaker. He continues indipendently publishing fine art prints with artists in both London and Cape Town.

I am an artist/printmaker as well as a publisher of prints. Since 1987 I have published and collaborated with numerous artists, both individually and through producing, collaborative portfolios, from around the world.

My forte as a multi-disciplined artist/printmaker is in engaging the diversity of techniques printmaking has to offer ranging from etching, mezzotint, silkscreen, linocut, collagraph to silkscreen as well as digital prints.

Jonathan Comerford is the recipient of the Volkskas Atelier Award, 1995, and spent 6 months at the Cite des Artes, Paris, France. He has taken part in numerous Print Bienniales and exchange programmes and has been a resident artist at the Grafische Werkstatt im Traklhaus, Salzburg, Austria. His work is represented in collections such as the National Gallery, the Sanlam Collection and the Sasol Museum.

A full cv of Jonathan Comerford is available on request.

To contact Jonathan - click here

5A Roodehek Street, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

5A Roodehek Street, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

HG Printmakers studio - 148 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa

Jonathan with finished clients commissioned print, London

Jonathan HG Printmakers Brixton, London 2015 - 2016

Jonathan printing with artist - HG Printmakers Brixton, London 2015 - 2016


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