This website presents the work of masterprinter Norman Lassiter. The art work includes the work from his studio in 2014, the work reflecting his screen printing over 38 years. This volume of work, already in museums, must become part of art history for his genius in addition to the genius of the artists who produced the imagery for the prints. Norman's innovation added to the artists' aesthetic, as he elevated screen printing as a fine art medium.
Norman Lassiter was a genius screen printer, a master screen printer. Among other achievements in his life, he elevated the screen printing process beyond it's traditional applications, using the screen print medium to recreate painting images with screen printing, often creating prints that had their own aesthetic, carrying the aesthetic of the original work in the screen print medium. The prints were not just recreations of paintings. Rather, Norman's inventiveness led him to create techniques for each artist that would best serve the aesthetic of the work. Having worked with Norman on one of his last print editions, I experienced the interest and curiosity he brought to the screen printing process, experimenting and inventing through out the development of the print. Constantly playing with new possibilities, always willing to be surprised, Norman was attentive to discovery and was totally present in the work for the day, giving all that he had. As one may think that a screen printer working from paintings may be simply a technician – executing the artistic vision of others – that couldn't be further from the reality in Norman's work; rather he was in touch with the aesthetic and the visions of many artists as he created methods to give form to the visions in the screen print medium. As artists and dealers use the print medium to expand the presence of art in the market place, creating scores of prints from a single image, Norman exceeded the screen print medium in creating some prints that deny an obvious screen print appearance, in some cases creating an essence of the artist's aesthetic that holds its ground with the source paintings.
As a master printer, Norman accumulated work of the artists he worked with in the form of printer's proofs and experiments. Much of this work is represented here. It is the goal of this site to share his remarkable legacy with others so the story can be told and witnessed in seeing his original work – understanding that the word original would not normally used to describe screen prints. Included are original prints by Norman Lassiter that will be made available including "Rain Chain", "Franklin Furnace" and "Snow Creature".
Inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Painter and Professor of Art at Rowan University (retired)
Norman Gray Lassiter,
master screen printer,
dies at 80
By ELLEN ROBERTSON Richmond Times-Dispatch
posted January 20th, 2015
Even as a youngster, Norman Gray Lassiter was a good artist.
“One of his grade-school friends said he was the finest artist in his class. He was a terrific sketcher,” said his wife, Shelby Jean Hart Lassiter of Montpelier.
“When he was mature, the art he created himself tended to the abstract and then he went to printing.”
It was for his screen printing that he won acclaim having developed the step posterization process that many major 20th-century painters used for their fine-art productions.
After graduating from the fine arts program of Richmond Professional Institute in the mid-1950s, the Richmond native, whose original surname was Lasseter before his parents parted ways, took his young family to California, where he worked various jobs.
He later moved to the New York area. While he was master printer at New York Institute of Technology, he met art dealer and gallery owner Louis K. Meisel and his wife, artist Susan Pear Meisel.
In 1976, he and Susan Pear Meisel founded a screen printing studio called Editions Lassiter-Meisel in Lower Manhattan. As master printers, they pioneered Photorealism printmaking as an art form.
Photorealism was the most popular movement in American painting to emerge in the 1970s, according to Louis Meisel, who coined the term “Photorealism” in 1969.
In a Deutsche Bank Art Magazine interview in May 2008, Meisel called the style “the creation of paintings fashioned in such a way as to appear to be photographs in their finished forms.”
The Photorealist artist used the camera and photographs to gather information for artwork, used a mechanical or semi-mechanical means to transfer the image to canvas, and then used painterly expertise to make the finished work appear photographic.
Editions worked with artists to allow them to create graphic images of their work.
Editions “proceeded to create very large, up to 7x11-foot prints,” Meisel wrote in an email. “The Photorealist prints were processed on Masonite in up to 80 colors (screens) and were displayed without glass as paintings.
They published fine art prints by artists such as Charles Bell, Ron Kleemann, Ralph Goings, Richard McLean, Richard Estes, Andy Warhol and Audrey Flack.
“Each color that you see (in a graphic image) indicates an impression or pass with a squeegee over a frame,” Shelby Lassiter said. His innovative step posterization process made fewer impressions necessary.
In notes on a City-Scapes Portfolio of works by Photorealist artists, Wayne Miller noted that the highly involved, painstaking labor of printing in the Photorealist style “probably reached its zenith in a 15-month collaboration during 1978-79 between artist Tom Blackwell and master printer Norman Lassiter. ... The result was ‘Shatzi,’ a silkscreen print of a World War II aircraft, which was 45x66 inches in scale and executed in an incredible 86 impressions.”
In 1988, Mr. Lassiter left New York, bought an old dance hall in Montpelier and converted it with his own hands into a studio called Editions Lassiter. He stocked the property full of interesting things like llamas, emus, geese, turkeys and a collection of dogs and cats, his wife said.
He continued working with major 20th century artists including John Baeder, Fran Bull, Ron Anuskiewicz and Richmond’s own Bill Jones until about 10 years ago.