Rose Jaffe

<em>Untitled</em>, 2020, ink on paper. (Courtesy of Mariah Miranda)
Untitled, 2020, ink on paper. (Courtesy of Mariah Miranda)

Rose Jaffe is best known for her colorful murals around Washington, D.C., especially her two-story depiction of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, painted on the side of a brick building on the city’s historic U Street. Initially, as a student at the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, she used only chromatic shades of black, gray, and white in her work But in the past decade, she has shifted course, drawing on colors across the spectrum for her murals, ceramics, woodblock prints, and mixed media works. Most recently, she has been experimenting with a new technique: monoprinting. “I’m using cut-out pieces of acetate, inking those up and laying them down, and then running it through the press,” she says.

During a recent fellowship at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Jaffe started these experiments with monoprinting. “When I’m exploring a brand-new medium, I get obsessed, like what can I do here?” she explains. “I wanted something super vibrant, playing with new inks and seeing what new colors could be made when shapes overlap.” In her monoprints, figures silhouetted in bold primary colors dance across the composition, mixing and intertwining with geometric shapes. Her goal? To inspire feelings of joy in the viewer. “I think everyone needs a little bit of that right now,” she says. “There’s no overt political anything that I’m trying to say. These prints were a meditative healing process for me, to get lost in the shapes and colors, and I hope for other people, they can be a moment of lightness, too.”

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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