John Ross

Artist Biography
Acquisition Number: 76.33
Medium: Collagraph on paper
Size: 18 x 24 in.
Date: 1966
Credit: Gift of an anonymous donor

Ross was successful as an artist and commercial illustrator. As an illustrator he worked on advertising campaigns and designed record jackets for Columbia Records, and founded the High Tide Press, producing nineteen artists’ books. He co-authored "The Complete Printmaker" with his wife, Clare Romano, and taught printmaking at the New School for over fifty years. The United States Information Agency selected him to be an artist in residence in Eastern Europe, where he taught printmaking in Yugoslavia and Romania. It was during this time that he helped develop the collagraph technique. He was getting copper plates for etching from Vienna when the supply ran out. Ross and Romano devised a process of gluing together textures on a cardboard backboard and printing on an etching press. He embraced the process, as he enjoyed the freedom of the variety of the textures and the creative ability to arrange them at will. Ross combined intaglio and relief, wiping ink into the plate like intaglio, then rolling color ink like relief. The two were instrumental in developing the collagraph as a print medium. “One of the most useful printmaking techniques for my images,” said Ross, “is the collagraph, which I helped to develop. The plates for this method are generally made of mat board with gesso adhering paper, fabrics, cardboard, and found objects to the mat board base. Razor blades can cut lines and other shapes to place on the base. From these ordinary materials, I can create city streets, mountains, canyons, oil refineries, skyscrapers, and other constructions, either realistic or visionary.”