Guest Artist

November 2019: Jim Horton

November 1November 29, 2019

KBAC Gallery
Opens November 1 During Art Hop
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Jim Horton Statement and Bio


My father was a sign painter. I worked in my HS and college years as a sign and billboard painter. After college, I served as an illustrator in the Viet Nam War. I was an art and graphic design teacher for 42 years.

As an artist, I am a wood engraver and letterpress printer. I also love to draw. It is how I get to look closely at things.... to take my time and practice in a culture that often promotes immediate gratification and surface experiences. Drawing and wood engraving (making multiple prints from an end-grain woodblock) is the opposite of that...one can't hurry through it. All the while you engrave, it gives you a connection to your subject. It is a form of meditation. 

I have traditional degrees in Printmaking (Eastern Michigan University). I learned to engrave from the remnants of commercial wood engraving. The Sander Company was a great source of catalogue and technical wood engraving. It existed on the famed Dearborn Street “Printers’ Row” in Chicago. I have scrounged and saved much of the old equipment and tools of that era. So I feel that I am a link to the past, not just for nostalgia's sake, but that there was incredible skill and craft in these processes. I help to keep it alive and enable people to discover the satisfaction of using these processes.  I continue to teach workshops in these traditions. I am now writing a book on commercial wood engraving and am a part of establishing an engraving shop at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Wisconsin.

In 1994, I started an organization called the “Wood Engravers’ Network”. It has grown to several hundred practitioners from around the world. We have print exchanges and a journal called “Block & Burin”. We just published the 52nd such exchange. We have a traveling exhibition, and give a workshop every year.

As a teacher, I have taught studio art and graphic design, most recently at Greenhills School. I occasionally teach at Signal Return (Detroit), Hollander’s (Ann Arbor), Frogman’s Print & Paper (South Dakota), John Campbell Folk School (North Carolina) Bookworks (Ashville) and the Augusta Heritage Center (Elkins, West Virginia). In 1994 I was a Newsweek Magazine "Teacher of the Year" I’m an elected member of the British Society of Wood Engravers. Now and then I get published or exhibit. At heart, I am a student of art. I try to stay away from electronics and social media. I’m still learning and practicing to use my hands and eyes. There is so much to learn and explore.   .