Printmaking students who will be exhibiting and selling their work during College Royal include, from left: Nina Fazio, James Grass, Renée Bokma, Starr Bramer and Midori Fullerton. Photo by Mary Dickieson

This may be your chance to discover a future Picasso. Today, tomorrow and Sunday, March 18 to 20,  the Student Print Show and Sale in Room 207 Zavitz Hall will offer between 150 and 200 prints created by current printmaking students.

“All the work is printed by hand, and we have original lithographs, etchings, relief and screen prints,” says Allen Ash, print technician for the School of Fine Art and Music. “They range from non-representational to highly detailed photo-digital images.”

Any student enrolled in printmaking courses at U of G can participate, and most of the prints are available as an edition, meaning there is more than one print of the image offered for sale. Each participating student can have up to 20 individual prints.

Is there a future Picasso or two among these young artists? “A number of the students do go on to further studies and continue to exhibit their work,” says Ash. “A print by the student Myles Calvert that sold for $20 at the U of G print sale was later auctioned for $800.”

Calvert graduated in 2007; today he teaches printmaking and sells his prints online.

The prints available from today’s Guelph students are priced between $10 and $100, and there is no charge to view the exhibit. Two-thirds of the purchase price goes to the student who created the print while the other third provides funds for the Bachinski-Chu Print Study Collection.

“The collection is used as a resource by students to see firsthand examples of historic and contemporary fine art prints,” explains Ash. “Included in the collection are works by such important Canadian artists as Alex Colville, Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland, as well as by significant international artists such as Albrecht Durer, Francisco Goya, Rembrandt, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, David Hockney and Damien Hirst.”

Over the past eight years, the sale has raised between $60,000 and $70,000 in total sales, Ash estimates.

The current target is to raise enough for to purchase a print by Lucien Freud, described by Ash as “an important 20th century artist who has done some very significant print work.” The challenge of maintaining a high-quality print collection for student use is that prices have risen sharply in the past 50 years. In 1968, Ash points out, a Rembrandt etching could be purchased for $250.

The Bachinski-Chu collection is open to the public, but there are no regular viewing hours; anyone interested should call the print department at 519-824-4120, Ext. 54348. Group appointments are preferred.

Ash expects the Student Print Show and Sale to be well attended, as in the past. “We have many regular customers who come back for every sale and are very supportive in purchasing student work.” The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

While you’re there, don’t forget to drop by the annual Juried Art Show, another College Royal event in Zavitz Hall; it’s the largest student-run art show in Ontario.

And don’t forget to bring a little cash. “You just may come away with that perfect piece of artwork you’ve needed for your home or office, or with a great gift for a hard-to-buy-for friend or family member,” says Ash. It’s also a chance to jump in at the beginning of a not-yet-discovered artist’s career.