Meet This Year’s WPT Auction Commemorative Artist
April 14, 2015 Leave a Comment
Art items created by artists from around the state will be available throughout Auction, May 27-31, including the work of Ann Fischer Athas, the 2015 Auction Commemorative Artist.
Ask Ann Fischer Athas to name her proudest artistic achievement and she won’t boast, even though her creations are remarkable. Instead she’ll cite the fact that she keeps producing. “Just when you think you’ve found something you like to do in printmaking, you find a million more things to explore,” she says.
Fischer Athas consistently turns her concepts into realities by producing one-of-a-kind prints often inspired by nature. Printmaking is a technical, step-intensive art form that has deep roots. Many printmaking techniques date back to the 1600s. The commemorative piece Fischer Athas has donated to Auction, titled “Winter on the Farm, February, 2015,” was created using the intaglio method, which is the exact opposite of a relief print. For this piece, the image was incised into the surface of the plate using acid, and the etched area held the ink prior to transfer.
Like the origins of printmaking, Fischer Athas’ love of printmaking runs deep. She first experimented with printmaking while working on her B.A. at Knox College. After graduating with a degree in art, she worked as a graphic designer in marketing for years, until a move to Wisconsin brought printmaking back into her life.
After relocating, Fischer Athas heard about a printmaking class offered by UW-Extension and decided she wanted to try the medium again. So the then stay-at-home mom hired a babysitter for her daughters and headed back to the studio for the first time in years.
“I thought, ‘do it now or you’re never going to do it,'” she reflects. Looking back, she recognizes that decision as a pivotal moment in her life. She has now been making prints for more than 20 years.
“One of the things that’s interesting about the printmaking tradition is the collaboration between artists and printers,” she explains.
That rapport is showcased by the donated piece, which was created through collaboration between Fischer Athas and Master Printer Andrew Balkin, with Balkin serving as the printer for the edition.
To learn more about Fischer Athas’ prints, visit
Be sure to join us for this year’s Auction, May 27-31 as we celebrate our 40th year of fantastic fun! Help support Wisconsin Public Television as you bid on an array of goods and services donated by businesses and individuals from around Wisconsin and beyond. For details, visit auction.wpt.org.