Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Saskatchewan
Nik Semenoff was born and educated in Saskatchewan,
and is an outstanding researcher, artist, teacher and inventor.
He has taught at the U of S and has been artist-in-residence since 1992.
His cutting-edge research into safer printmaking processes
has placed the University in the forefront of
non-toxic printmaking research and education.
The inventor of the waterless lithographic process,
high-resolution screen-printing and specialized inks,
he has made printmaking both safer and less expensive.
Professor Semenoff has published his research findings
in several refereed journals,
and has been invited to do workshops around the world.
In the early 1950s, I worked at a commercial offset printers as a graphic designer and illustrator, starting my apprenticeship as a lithographer. Part of the apprenticeship called for me to learn as much about the craft as I could, so when things were slack in the art department, I was sent to help in the department where the process camerawork and platemaking took place. The fact that printing could be done from a rock, intrigued me, even though all our work was done on zinc plates.
This interest lead me to build a small press and obtain a dozen small 10 x 12 inch stones to learn more about the process. At that time, there was little information for me on the stone lithographic method, so like some others, I started to learn the process on my own by the little bits of information I could gather - like from the older camera operator in the plant. He had learned his trade in a British shop, where the artists producing large travel posters first drew on limestone; when satisfied with the color image, they would pull black and white proofs that were photographed for offset production without using a halftone screen. The amount of information from the cameraman was scant, but good enough to get me started.
A 26 x 20 inch waterless lithograph printed from positive plates. The image was made up of plastics attached to glass and scanned for the line detail. It was printed out on a wide format inkjet printer and exposed to plates. Toner wash was applied to Mylar and transferred to a recycled plate. Flats were produced by painting in areas with dextrin, using iron oxide lines transferred from Mylar.