Haute Spot

DAN WELDEN: Prints Charming

In the past 50 years, Dan Welden has made thousands of pieces of art. His work has been shown in 96 solo exhibitions and more than 700 group shows. 

A master printmaker, author and Past President of the Society of American Graphic Artists, the Sag Harbor-based creator has travelled to 53 countries in support of his work and has taught thousands of others over the course of his prodigious career. Notably, he’s collaborated with and produced prints for the likes of Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Eric Fischl, Kiki Smith, Robert Dash, Roy Nicholson, Dan Flavin, Jimmy Ernst, Esteban Vicente, William King, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Freilicher, David Salle, Louisa Chase, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers, Jack Youngerman, and many others.

The prolific artist is a pioneer of alternative printmaking and the originator of Solarplate Etching — a revolutionary printmaking technique that doesn’t use acids and other dangerous chemicals and which allows artists to create a range of imagery and prints that resemble etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, screen prints or photographs. Welden is also a fierce advocate for environmental and spiritual awareness, and serves on the board of Inspiration Plus, a non-profit Arts and Science educational organization. 

Sought out for his extensive knowledge, enthusiastic approach to art, and his genial disposition, Welden is a frequent lecturer and creative guide. He’s taught all over the world — from his early days as an art teacher in Long Island high schools to university stints at SUNY Stony Brook and others, and at a hugely popular “Printaganza!” workshop at The Church in Sag Harbor. He’s even got a printing press named for him at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Cuzco, Peru where he’s a Professor Emeritus.

“I like to share with others,” he says simply of his considerable contributions.

However humble, Welden is a true innovator whose work has instructed and touched the lives of too many to count, according to his fellow artists and art-world experts.  

“If you don’t know Dan Welden, you don’t know much about American printmaking,” says Nassau Museum of Art Director Charles A. Riley in a Master Class review of the artist’s work. 

Now in his sixth decade as a working artist, Welden is showing no signs of slowing down. He recently participated in a live exhibition, “The Pianist, The Poet & The Painter” at LTV in Wainscott, and his work is currently on view at the Alex Ferrone Gallery in Cutchogue and the Center for Environmental Education and Discovery in Brookhaven. He’s got more upcoming shows at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania; in Hudson, New York; and Annapolis, Maryland. 

And there’s still more to come for the inventive and convivial artist. He is the focus of the soon-to-be-released film, “Lasting Impressions: The Dan Welden Documentary.” Directed by his son, Carl Welden, the documentary features insight and praise from his contemporaries, including Kiki Smith, Eric Fischl, Alice Aycock, Helen Harrison, and Roy Nicholson, among others. 

It’s a love letter to the creator, his work, and his humanity. Featured film quotes from Welden’s contemporaries include: 

He’s just a really wonderful, loving, good human being. And that is not … that’s rare.”

Alice Aycock 

Dan’s a very exuberant, enthusiastic teacher. He’s infectious in his enthusiasm.” 

Kiki Smith

You can’t compare Dan to anybody else; that’s what’s so special about him. He’s incomparable.” 

Roy Nicholson

Despite his numerous successes, at the end of the day, Welden wants for little. 

“I don’t really have expectations about trying to reach any great level or making a fortune. But I am looking for that 100th show,” he mused during a recent studio visit. “I just hope to achieve the same sensibility as I have up to this moment. After that, there’s nothing else that I need.”

For more information about Dan Welden, visit danwelden.com. For information about Inspiration Plus, visit inspirationplus.org.

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