Compact Prints was first held in 2002 when Umbrella was based in Northtown on the Mall. The idea was conceived and curated by Rebekah Butler, President of the Umbrella Board at that time. It started as a national event, but after considerable interest from overseas it became international in 2004, and has continued every two years since its inception. The exhibition is widely appreciated and anticipated.
Expressions of interest are sent out to printmaking organisations and previous participants, who pass the word on to their own networks. The news spreads quickly by word of mouth, and on the internet. Participation Forms are completed in advance to enable the database to be built, and prints are then delivered by a later deadline. The project is handled almost entirely by email and post,
Participants are asked to submit two prints from the same edition and a brief artist statement. The paper size must measure 12 x 12cm and the print may be any size on that paper. There is no set theme and no other restrictions. One print will be displayed in a CD jewel case as a part of the exhibition and then at the end of the exhibition exchanged with another participating artist. A letter also tells them who purchased their print at auction, and which artist received their exchange print. Many of these exchanging artists now correspond all around the world. The second print will be auctioned at a fundraiser to assist with event costs.
The aim of the project is to provide artists with a forum to exchange work and ideas, as well as provide the opportunity to exhibit in a contemporary art space.
The feedback from artists over the years has been wonderful and many of the participants have taken part in every Compact Prints exhibition to date.
“Taking part in Compact Prints is a wonderful and honourable opportunity for me to present my art and also to discover the art of the Australian and international printmakers.”
Temenuga Hristova, Bulgaria
“It is great to have work situated within an alternative cultural context, and to make contact with other artists and individuals through exhibiting in different countries, even if I have not been there! I love to hear of the stories and situations that develop around art making in different places.”
Natasha Rosling, United Kingdom