ever or whatever—his mother, his dog, baseball, music—is missed is through art. “I’ve never considered my art as outrageous or out there,” says Pokrasso. “It’s pretty accessible. It’s personal and universal.” He started college with an interest in his dad’s field, but after his drawing teacher suggested a printmaking class, Pokrasso had found his true calling. “I fell in love with the process and the teacher, Robert Marx, immediately,” he recalls. After graduating from Brockport, and then getting his MFA from Pratt in 1975, all the while thinking he’d move into Manhattan, teach, and make art, Pokrasso received a letter from his college lithography teacher, Deli Sacilotto. It turned out Sacilotto had moved to Santa Fe to help print some of Edward Curtis’s photogravures. Having visited Santa Fe twice before (in 1965 with his family, again in 1976 with a friend), Pokrasso knew the town well enough to want to move. “Santa Fe and serendipity should always be mentioned in the same sentence,” he says with a smile. “It was already a desirable place for me.” And because it was— and still is—passive as compared to New York, it forced him to self-motivate. Which, after spending three years pulling over 30,000 Curtis prints—as the Curtis project’s master printer and production supervisor—he regrouped and in 1982 opened his own business, the Graphics Workshop. By 1985, he’d become known as the print tsar. It’s a title that extends well beyond Santa Fe, but it didn’t come overnight. “I had a hard time separating myself from my mentor, Robert Marx,” says Pokrasso. “That was a problem. Until I broke away and started using different sources: Francis Bacon, Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg.” Still, Pokrasso’s the first to admit to his limitations. “I know lithography, and I’m the go-to guy for monotype, but my expertise in printmaking is pretty limited,” he 62
says. Limited or not, one of his bigger challenges has been reining in his tendency to get in too much—artistically, managerially. “I suffer from overstimulation,” he admits. “Even when I submitted my portfolio to Marx years after I’d graduated, he said, Too many choices. So I’ve had to learn to choose, and deal with the consequences.” Even so, it’s a struggle. Between 2007 and 2010, he took a break from making much of anything. “I became overstimulated by materials and resources,” says Pokrasso, who filled that time with teaching gigs at
Opposite: Ron Pokrasso, Coloring the Relationship, monotype, collage, intaglio, drawing on paper, 16 x 12"; Above: Rockette Before I Knew Her, digital ink jet, intaglio on paper, edition of 20, 10 x 8"
Santa Fean June July 2011 Digital Edition