When did you work at TGL? What was your role at the workshop, and can you tell us a little bit about what that role entailed? Can you outline some of the technical processes involved in your work?
I worked for Ken Tyler from 1984 to 1989. We developed several projects for Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein. Working with three-dimensional constructions, which entail model and mold making, the projects were built. Using spray booth techniques in epoxy, enamels, and lacquer, the projects were painted. We printed editions for David Hockney, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, and Terence La Noue. In other words we fabricated mixed media prints using papermaking, intaglio, lithography, relief printmaking and built sculpture. I also presented technical demonstrations and helped with exhibitions. It was a very full 5 years!
Can you tell us about the atmosphere in the studio? What did you enjoy most about working there?
The atmosphere was fluid and experimental. We had the ability to make anything the artist wanted. At one point I felt like an extension of Ken’s right and left arms. I also appreciated that Ken helped me buy a new truck.
Do you still work in the arts? How did your time with TGL affect your career path?
Yes, with my wife Rae we own a fine art printmaking studio in Portland Oregon U.S.A. for the last 20 years. My time at TGL gave me new abilities and confidence. It helped build on my collaboration skills and taught me how to work effectively with others. This allowed me after TGL to work at Gemini GEL and collaborate with another group of artists.
Do you have a favorite project from TGL, or did you have a particularly memorable experience with a specific artist? Can you explain what made that project or person so special?
I very much enjoyed working with Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein. In Frank’s work I helped him create from his 2D work 3D work and then turned it into his print. With the assistance of very smart people and computer-aided design, we had a lot of fun. With Roy I found one of the nicest artists to work with. We developed the brushstroke sculpture series. I had a chance to work as head collaborator at Gemini in 1991 with Roy and it was as if we started where we left off. I was protective of him and miss him a lot.
Can you share your favorite memory of the workshop with us?
I have a thousand stories on the subject “memories at TGL” that I’m not sure Ken knows. One morning in 1984 I was sent into David Hockney’s studio to clean. David had lost a dog so I brought a pet rabbit in to the studio to keep him company. Well Stones the rabbit did just that. While in preparation for David’s arrival from the upstairs studio apartment I would vacuum up dirt and crayon debris from his easel. A drawing on mylar from the Hotel Acatlan series got sucked into the cleaner. In my panic about what to do and having no idea David was watching from above, I hear “Thank you Mark I didn’t like that drawing anyway”.
Images top to bottom:
Mark Mahaffey dressed in protective clothing to spray-paint one of Roy Lichtenstein's 'Brushstrokes' sculptures, Tyler Graphics Ltd. spray booth, Mount Kisco, New York, 1987. Photographer: Howard Stein
Mark Mahaffey carrying newly inked magnesium printing element for 'Stubb & Flask kill a Right Whale (Dome)' to paper mill for printing, Tyler Graphics workshop, Mount Kisco, New York, May 1988. Photographer: Marabeth Cohen-Tyler
Last updated March 2015