When it comes to exhibiting fine art editions, NYC's Pace Prints has been the pantheon for some of the most important artists of the day, ushering the careers of a wave of up-and-coming museum staples, such as George Condo, Julian Schnabel, Shepard Fairey, Chuck Close, Ryan McGinness, Ghada Amer, Erik Parker, and Ed Ruscha. The list of artists who have made prints with Pace Editions and shown in the Pace Prints gallery is enviable.
"Never before had we worked with print media, so naturally everything had to be learned from the ground up, and we have to admit, it was a big challenge for us. Not only was it a different work process, but just the impressive history of Pace's collaborations and the respect rendered at the institution meant there was pressure to create powerful pieces. Having been given this opportunity, we felt the need to intensify our efforts, being that we are the only contemporary artists grounded in graffiti that they have shown. And because of this, we recognized the significance of this next stage in our careers.
"We normally work as a team of two without any assistance, but we found that communication is key when we started working at the Pace screen printing studio at Watanabe Press in Brooklyn. A How Nosm painting is usually started on a white canvas, and we first create the entire drawing in black outline without any background planned. No colors or shadings. These aspects fall into place later as the drawing develops. When we arrived at Pace, Jo Watanabe and his team expected to have material that was all set for printing. But we didn't have that ready, so for the next two weeks we created different images on mylar for the different print sizes which we could mix up eventually to create totally different looking prints.
We never reuse a drawing for our paintings. Everything is one of a kind, which is very important to us when it comes to our paintings. But these monoprints are unique as well. We managed to get very close to the originality and authenticity of our paintings in the print studio. We normally spend about five to six weeks on one painting, working on it non-stop, but with prints, that’s impossible. Not only did we have to work on separate prints constantly, but also on different images, already having added hand finishing to different layers. There was a lot of back and forth without ever completing one.
The prints took six months to finalize instead of the expected three or four months. We didn't anticipate this since we usually know our own time frames, but like we said, we normally just work as a team of two! The result is our first show with Pace Prints, and not only are we excited, but very proud. At one point during the process, Jo Watanabe reminded us that he and his team do sophisticated printing, and this really lets us see the possibilities of this art. We believe we graduated with honors, but also showed the veterans some new possibilities.
For more information about How Nosm, visit howandnosm.com
How Nosm's exhibition at Pace Prints runs through April 5, 2014
Photographs by Austin Kennedy, Courtesy of Pace Editions
This interview was originally published in the April 2014 issue of Juxtapoz.