Material Recovery: Printmaking Using Recycled Materials


Every product that flows through the Port of Los Angeles has packaging associated with it, whether cardboard, plastic, metal or wood. Invariably this packaging is either reused, recycled or becomes waste, needlessly choking the few remaining open landfills of Southern California.

As printmakers, the members of Lynk Collective work with many of the same basic elements that are used to create these items, such as paper and inks. We have a vested interest in the ongoing recovery and reduction of material waste. Even the paper on which we print — so-called “rag” paper — was traditionally made from scraps of recycled cotton rags.

Material Recovery, an exhibit opening at Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, California, on January 20, 2024, and on view through March 23, is an attempt to produce artwork made from recycled rather than raw components. Curated by LAPS members Christina Yasmin Fesmire and Jared Millar, the exhibit features collaborative and solo work by the collective along with contributions by a number of guest artists, several of whom are LAPS members.

A centerpiece of the exhibit is Container, a collaborative installation by nine Lynk Collective members made up of 32 printed panels on found paper which, when installed side-by-side, mimic the size and shape of the metal shipping containers that dot the landscape around the Port of Los Angeles. The images in each panel range from abstract to figurative and are inspired by San Pedro and its environs, with references to bridges, metal cranes, machinery, graffiti, local fauna and flora, as well as the writer Idah Meacham Strobridge, who operated a small literary press, Artemisia Bindery, and hosted women’s literary workshops in what had been an abandoned fisherman’s cabin on Terminal Island in the early 1900s.

Olga Ryabtsova, Christina Yasmin Fesmire Shallow Water 1, 2023 collagraph, hand stitching, thread from 100% recycled ocean plastic 25” x 20”

Other images in the exhibit began life as deconstructed cardboard boxes or leftover chipboard which was turned into collagraph plates. Old compact discs became drypoint plates. Reclaimed thrift store fabric served as a substrate for the Shallow Water series of tide pool-inspired collagraphs by Olga Ryabtsova, which were heightened and embellished by Christina Yasmin Fesmire using both machine and hand stitching. Collaborating is “a very interesting experience for me,” notes Ryabtsova. “I want to be surprised by the evolution of the artwork.” In keeping with the theme, some of the hand stitching includes a thread derived from 100% recycled sea plastic.

Guest artist MJ Rado experimented with drypoint on unfolded cardboard packaging, printing on various types of paper, with each plate containing an image of the plant from which the paper was made. An arts educator for 34 years, she continues to reflexively look for ways to extend the life of discarded supplies. “The work is an act of honoring the materials and their sources, while transforming objects designated as waste,” she explains. “The ink is left over from other projects.”

Tracy Loreque Skinner, Diane McLeod, They Only Come Out at Night, 2023
Monotype, pochoir, woodblock, collage, 11” x 30”

Another project, Discard, proposed and led by Diane McLeod, provided an opportunity to exchange old prints that the original artist considered unfinished or unsuccessful. Instead of being disposed of, these works were transformed by the efforts of successive artists, each contributor responding to the print as they received it and taking the image in a new direction. Unfamiliar approaches to creativity were explored.

Primarily focused on printmaking, but also containing sculpture, assemblage and installation, the exhibit is comprised of 81 pieces by 31 artists working in techniques ranging from drypoint to collagraph to paper lithography, all with a focus on recycled materials. We hope you will have a chance to visit the historic Angels Gate Cultural Center overlooking the San Pedro Bay to see this exhibit in the upstairs gallery, itself a repurposed building dating to World War II, and to visit the print studio in nearby Building E where classes are taught by Lynk Collective’s Nguyen Ly. The studio will be open on February 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. for demos. (R.S.V.P. required).

Olga Ryabtsova, Vera Polic-Lakhal, Ascent, 2020 Fabric, collagraph, mixed media, 19” x 13”
Tracy Loreque Skinner, Christina Yasmin Fesmire Pulling Strings, 2023 paper lithography, monoprint, machine stitching 12” x 12”
Nguyen Ly Head, 2023 collagraph 15” x 12”
Andra Broekelschen, Karen Fiorito, Nguyen Ly Celestial Bird, 2023 intaglio, monotype, serigraph 15” x 11”

Lynk Collective

Yeansoo Aum, Elisabeth Beck, Andra Broekelschen*, Alexandra Chiara, Christina Yasmin Fesmire*, Karen Fiorito*, Carole Gelker, Bill Jaros, Nguyen Ly, Diane McLeod*, Jared Millar, William Myers, Marina Polic, Vera Polic-Lakhal, Francisco Rogido, Olga Ryabtsova, Laura Shapiro, Tracy Loreque Skinner, Mary Lawrence Test, Paula Voss, Zana Zupur

Guest Artists

Karen Feuer-Schwager, Kim Kei, Wendy Murray*, Jackie Nach*, MJ Rado, Victor Rosas, Fred Rose, Marianne Sadowski*, Jillian Thompson, Katie Thompson-Peer.

*LAPS members

Exhibition Dates: January 20 – March 23, 2024

Opening Reception: January 20, 2024, from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Closing and Artist Talk: March 23, 2024, from 2 to 4 p.m.
at Angels Gate Cultural Center:

3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731
[email protected]