Andrew Raftery spent two years working on Suit Shopping, cutting copper plates with an engraving chisel called a burin, before completing the print in 2002. Part of the Cleveland Museum of Art'sFresh Prints: The Nineties to Now exhibit, it was the first of his artworks to be acquired by a museum of Cleveland's size. Raftery comes to the museum May 8 for a talk in conjunction with the exhibit.
The print's different shades are created by Raftery carving lines of various thicknesses. "It's almost like venetian blinds, pulling the string and making the blinds wider or thinner," he says. "You are letting a certain amount of light between."
Raftery made small sculptures of the figures and furniture and used a three-way mirror to help draw the reflections. "I set the figures in the mirror to perceive how it would work," he says. "There's no way I could make that up."
Raftery carefully selected the paper and ink for the print. The laid paper has a ribbed texture and a light, crisp, creamy color. "It almost feels like an 18th-century paper," he says. He used a darker ink to contrast the white paper and black lines.