Cannonball Press World HQ, Brooklyn, New York and production outpost Hammonnasset Hideout, Clinton, CT

Martin Mazorra is a Brooklyn-based artist originally from West Virginia. He works chiefly in the medium of woodcut and letterpress, in a range of scales from small books, prints on paper, prints on canvas, to site-specific print-based installations. He is the founder of Cannonball Press, formed in New York in 1999.

Born in Morgantown, WV, 1972. Martin has a BFA from West Virginia University 1994 and an MFA from The American University 1996. Currently, Martin teaches at Pratt Institute and Parson’s School of Design in New York City. He has been invited to speak at distinguished institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and has been a visiting artist at numerous universities and colleges nationally and internationally. He has been the recipient of a NYFA Fellowship in Printmaking, Drawing and Artist Books, a United States Artists Ford Foundation Fellow, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio grant. His work is in the collections of the Yale Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Taubman Museum, the Fort Wayne Museum of art, and others.

MARTIN’S PRINT POSSE INK, “Cannonball Black” Letterpress Ink

 

Artist Statement

I work chiefly in the medium of printmaking, specifically woodcut. I have chosen woodcut for its tradition of social satire, its immediacy, and its history as a medium in the service of populist communication. The woodcuts are often combined with hand-carved type or letterpress. Wooden type has a similar appeal. It is a medium meant to be disseminated in the public domain, has a handmade, tactile quality, references history and popular culture, and fortifies the significance of the accompanying imagery. The unique combination of woodcut with text builds upon and expands the historical practice of printmaking by utilizing elements such as scale, content, and or installation.

Black-and-white prints are the core of my work. In addition to the black-and-white images I create prints on canvas, collaborations, color editions, and for several years now, multiple series of botanical images paired with letterpress text which continue the sentimental tradition of the language of flowers. The choice of single flowers or bouquets, along with provocative text, is my personal interpretation to this method of cautious exchange. It is suggestive of the ways in which we indirectly communicate thoughts too awkward or complex to articulate out loud.

My prints combine pictorial narratives and humor, a style that grew out of my childhood as the son of a Cuban exile in West Virginia, submerged in Appalachian economics and pre-Castro romantic nostalgia. Both my Hispanic father and rural community used levity to convey their histories, lighten personal tragedy, and make sense of a perplexing world. I work in a range of different scales, from small books to large-scale sculptures and installations of printed materials. Images of bouquets, birds, skunks, cuckoo clocks, sideshow performers, pugilists, ephemera, lottery cards, mystics, icons of country music, day laborers, tornados, outhouses, and back-road car races speak to my roots in the South, social issues such as class, desire, and judgement, my family, ordinary and not so ordinary humanity, and popular culture at large.

POSSE STATEMENT

"When you have to shoot, shoot; don't talk." - Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez "The Rat"

Images of Work

Techniques

Hand-Carved Relief Prints
Hand-Composed, Standing-Form Lead and Wood Type Printed on Vandercook Letterpresses (restored and maintained by the artist)