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Sandra Cinto at Graphicstudio (IFPDA)

In November of 2013, while in New York City for the IFPDA Print Fair, Graphicstudio Director Margaret Miller encountered the work of Sandra Cinto at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Piece of Silence included cellos and violins painted white and intricately decorated with black ink line drawings, mounted to the gallery walls that had been covered with music staves. Struck with the delicate beauty of the sculptures, drawings and paintings that were included in the exhibition, Margaret enlisted the help of Noel Smith, Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Art, to make contact with Sandra and explore the idea of coming to Graphicstudio to make prints.

Sandra Cinto was born in 1968 in Santo Andre, Brazil and lives and works in São Paulo. She is known for her large-scale, dramatic scenarios incorporating water, the night sky and billowing seas. Japanese ukiyo-e prints and Hokusai’s iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa have long served as an inspiration to her, as has European Romanticism, particularly Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa, which depicts a famous sea disaster. Much of her work features huge blocks of dark and rich blues, covered with her finely detailed line drawings in silver or white.

It took nearly a year, but eventually Sandra’s busy schedule synced up with Graphicstudio and she made the trip to Tampa. Cinto hadn’t made prints since she was in art school, and the possibilities of printmaking led to a flurry of activity between the artist and staff. One medium resonated in particular: cyanotype. The Prussian blue color and fine detail possible lent itself perfectly to Sandra’s practice.


Open Sea is Sandra Cinto’s first completed project with Graphicstudio. The print contrasts her freehand drawing style brilliantly against the deep blue of the cyanotype. The imagery is familiar, turbulent seas with fans of parallel lines and concentric circles, a dreamy scene encapsulated by its simple title.

Once the relationship between Sandra and the Institute for Research in Art had been established, Noel Smith recognized an opportunity to further engage Sandra’s talents and approached her with the idea of creating a solo installation to coincide with her upcoming exhibition Histórias/Histories: Contemporary Art from Brazil. The idea for Chance and Necessity then took shape: Sandra would incorporate a series of Graphicstudio prints with three paintings on watercolor canvas for the exhibition.


Sandra had recently returned from a summer residency at Aomori Contemporary Art Centre in Aomori, Japan and had undertaken a new artistic direction. Rather than depicting water, she has used water itself as an element of the works. She began a series of five prints, each to be printed in an edition of ten. To create her prints, she mixed water with India ink, and let it run freely over frosted mylar to create flowing, random marks. The process was long, with layers of ink built up on the mylar and the darkness of the marks depended on how quickly or slowly the ink mixture passed over the surface.

Eventually the ink rivulets took on form and shape, and once Sandra saw an image in them they were allowed to dry. She placed a new sheet of mylar on top of the ink-stained one and traced her intricate linework, giving structure and form to the ink washes on the mylar underneath. Her characteristic shapes reference Japanese landscape art, suggesting rock outcroppings jutting out from waterfalls when viewed from a distance and woodgrain or veins when viewed up close.

The two mylars were etched into copper plates through the gravure process. The mylar was exposed onto a sensitized sheet of carbon tissue, made of a pigmented gelatin layer on paper backing. The exposed surface of the gelatin was adhered to the copper and they were immersed in heated water that dissolved the unexposed gelatin. Then the paper backing was removed and the image was developed as a negative. The plate was then etched in several baths of ferric chloride. Once the plates were etched, the aqua blue water run was printed and the ink allowed to dry completely before printing the black line drawings. Registration is a painstaking process for a print so detailed and precise.

View all prints and artists at Graphicstudios (IFPDA).