WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — What do an asphalt roller and art have in common? Introducing steamroller printmaking, a unique way to bring the Wichita community together while celebrating local artists.

Wichita State University’s (WSU) Assistant Professor of Printmaking, Marco Hernandez, spearheaded the recent event where a live audience got to see the heavy machinery in action.

“I am trying to get people involved in this type of art because I love it,” said Hernandez. “This is probably the first time some of these people have seen something like this.”

How does steamroller printmaking work?

Artists begin the process by first carving a block of wood.

“Some of my students told me they worked on these blocks for a month, so for a whole month, they were carving hours and hours, probably hundreds of hours,” Hernandez said.

Once the blocks are carved with a design, a portrait, you name it, it’s time to get inking. At the Wichita steamroller event, high school and college students, with the help of Hernandez, used rolling pins to transfer ink to the wood blocks.

Once the ink was in place, a team placed a perfectly cut piece of paper over the wood block.

“My students get their exercise as well because it is very physical. It is a very physical art,” said Hernandez.

The physical aspect didn’t stop there. Next, the steamroller, provided by the City of Wichita, pressed the paper onto the board. The result was a fine art print, an art print students carefully revealed to the audience and put on display.

“Sometimes I feel like a magician,” said Hernandez. “Every time we make a print, it’s an original piece of art.”

“It definitely is like a performance art aspect,” said artist and student Zoe Gillis.

Art from the event was available for purchase. Hernandez plans to host more printmaking events in the future in hopes of inspiring the next generation of creators.

“These types of events really show the community what printmaking is and hopefully get them interested in printmaking,” he said. “Hopefully, some of the high school students can, you know, enroll in some of my classes and make printmaking more popular in the community of Wichita.”

Wichita’s steamroller printmaking event was sponsored by the WSU School of Art, Design and Creative Industries, the Ulrich Museum, Gamblin, Blick Art Materials, Art & Design Advocates, Legion, Speedball, and ShiftSpace.