Aug. 11 2014 06:44 PM

Printmaker's process and the resulting images are a beautiful anachronism

Gregory Bada
Gregory Bada
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Gregory Bada was born a few centuries too late. On the outside, he looks like a straightforward, contemporary Californian—tattooed arms, sunglasses and all. But his artwork—mostly intaglio prints that look like they were crafted in the 19th century—tells a different story.

"I always loved etching—the antiquated, atmospheric effect you get from it," he says, standing inside Bay Park Press where the young artist shares studio space and printmaking equipment with others interested in printmaking and handmade artists' books.

Even in his studio, amid the decades-old etching press, his collection of etching tools and vats of acid and other pieces of equipment, it's hard to completely appreciate the process.Since taking courses under master printmaker Jim Machacek, who co-owns Bay Park Press, Bada eventually ditched a career in hospitality to become a full-time artist. The process behind the centuries-old printmaking technique he adopted is long and grueling and, since he started to regularly showing his work publicly, he's had to learn to succinctly describe the incredible amount of work he puts into each piece. Inevitably, folks who see the distinctive prints want to know exactly how he created them, but it can get complicated.

"There's a process called mezzotint," Bada says, reaching into a bag and pulling out a tool called a rocker to demonstrate. "You go over the plate like this, gently rocking against the plate, and you have to grid the plate and go over it in every conceivable direction and angle. So rockering this small plate would probably take 12 or 14 hours, but it's worth it because it gets you the deepest, richest, authentic black you can get in printmaking."

'Room Number One'

Bada's piece featured on CityBeat's cover this week, "Room Number One," is an etching, engraving and Chine-collé, which essentially means he spent weeks carving a detailed image into a metal plate. Then, during the printing process, he placed small pieces of red Japanese rice paper on the plate before each print (he typically prints just a dozen) went through the etching press. The rice paper adheres so tightly to the print that it's barely recognizable as a collage, but the little bits of paper add dramatic color and dimension.

"Room Number One' and other prints by Bada will be on view in tent No. 302 at ArtWalk NTC @ Liberty Station from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16-17, inside Ingram Plaza (2645 Historic Decatur Road in Point Loma). More than 170 other artists will also have work on view.

Write to and follow Kinsee on Facebook or Twitter 


  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • The former local boy and creator of the highly influential blog, Advanced Style, will be signing and discussing his third book, Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, which features inspiring pictures and stories...
  • C.J. Chenier and Bonsoir Catin headline this annual Cajun inspired festival. Also enjoy 10,000 pounds of crawfish, dancing and cooking demonstrations. Held at Spanish Landing Park, across from the...
  • A Cinco de Mayo party featuring $2 tacos, cocktails and live music from Bostich+Fussible, Javiera Mena and Gepe
  • A spoken word showcase hosted by English instructor Karla Cordero and her City College students. There will also be a special reading from poet Mercedez Holtry, as well as an art and photography show....
  • Widely known as host of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live and for his role in the Showtime dramedy Weeds, Kevin Nealon brings his unique humor back to the stand-up stage
  • New works from over a dozen UCSD undergraduate students. Participating artists include Charity Algarme, Richard Lin, Joseph Maas, Ignatius Nguyen, and more
  • This video art exhibition from UCSD MFA candidate Stefani Byrd features two installations that explore the themes of breath, mediation, and the nature of time. Takes place in the VAF Performance Space,...
See all events on Thursday, May 5