Graphic Chemical & Ink Company is a world leader in the fine art field of printmaking. We manufacture our own time-tested inks for etching, litho and relief printing, as well as sell screen print inks, papers, tools, chemistry, plates and supplies for all of a printmaker's needs

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Location: Villa Park, Illinois, United States

I have worked for Graphic Chemical & Ink Company since 1968 - with a brief hiatus(almost 4 years) to travel the World courtesy of my uncle. Sadly it turns out it was my Uncle Sam, and I wasn't too thrilled about the places that he chose to send me. My wife and I have run Graphic Chemical for many years, and have enjoyed the travel that comes with the position. We get to meet our customers (and the occasional vendor) from all over the World

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I have chosen today, to plagarize shamelessly from the newsletter of one of my favorite groups - the Illinois Arts Alliance newsletter. They have recently sent out their first newsletter, and they have included the following piece that bears reading.

Arts at the Core: Every School, Every Student
The status of arts education in Illinois public schools

In April 2005, surveys were sent to all Illinois principals and superintendents to better understand the status of arts education in Illinois schools and the challenges of delivering quality arts instruction. In total 234 superintendents and 751 principals responded for a response rate of 20.6% The respondents reflected a representative, statistically sound sample with respect to location, size, student population and school type.

Here are the Six Major Findings:

Major Finding 1: Almost all superintendents and principals agree that "The arts are an essential part of a quality education, that arts education helps students perform better on standardized achievement tests" and that "arts education is important to success in life."

Major Finding 2: Despite strong support for arts education, almost 20% of Illinois principals surveyed report having no arts program (visual arts, theater, music or dance) in their schools, AND 28% of superintendents report that none of the four arts disciplines were considered part of the core curriculum in their district.

Major Finding 3: Students in Illinois do not have equal access to arts education, the strongest correlating factor being where they live. Students in rural areas and small school districts tend to receive the least amount of arts instruction. Inconsistencies in the delivery of arts education also exist among schools within large urban districts and between suburban school districts.

Major Finding 4: One in ten Illinois school districts has no certified arts teachers in any arts discipline anywhere in the district. Twenty three percent of schools employ no arts specialist.

Major Finding 5: Eleven percent of school districts in Illinois require no arts instruction in any grade. In addition, 80% of high school principals report that students in their schools are not required to take a single course in the arts in order to graduate.

Major Finding 6: According to principals and superintendents, the most significant barrier to arts education is budget considerations, with lack of available time in the schoolday also a major barrier.

The full research report can be downloaded from

While this report is Illinois specific, it is indicative of what is happening in many areas across the country. For the record, Illinois has, at last count, 887 school districts in three types: Elementary (K-8), High School (9-12), and Unit (K-12). A full 25% of high schools outside of the city of Chicago, have a total student population of less than 250 students across four grades.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Every year around Holiday time, you hear some TV announcer talking about the Rose Bowl game as the "granddaddy of all bowl games"! I guess that means not only is it the oldest, but maybe the best...although many in places like Miami, Dallas and New Orleans would argue that point.

When it comes to printmaking shows, the "granddaddy" is clearly the SGC show. This show has grown over the years from one vendor (Graphic Chemical) to in the neighborhood of 30, and from a handful of printmaking instructors to almost a thousand attendees. The show coming up this Spring is going to be held in Madison, WI at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I know that's not your typical southern city, but it's a great printmaking town, one of the best.

Other than the Product Fair, my favorite part of the conference is the print exchanges. To those who proclaim that printmaking is a dying art, I suggest an hour at the SGC Print Exchange. First of all, you will barely scratch the surface when it comes to seeing all of the art displayed. The range of prints is that of beginners to some of the best known names in the field. If ever I need an renewed source of energy this is the place to find it.

SGC had, as many organizations did, some humble beginnings. Among the original group were Boyd Saunders (formerly of the University of South Carolina), and the late Bernie Solomon (Georgia Southern). Ken Kerslake of Florida and Bill Walmsley from Florida State were two others that have been involved since the beginning.

I started attending way back in 1985 when Karen Broker at Rice University was the host. Since then the show has shucked its southern roots and gone as far astray as Boston, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Athens, OH, Piscataway, NJ and this year, Madison, WI. The growth of the show has been phenomenal - mostly because of the dedicated volunteers that give of their time and talents to put together a great experience for everyone attending, regardless of their printmaking expertise.

So what's the connection between this piece and the photo? Well, that's my granddaddy - the founder of Graphic Chemical & Ink Company, Robert P. Faulkner.