Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl's Window

Betye Saar. The Wounded Wilderness. 1962

Etching with relief printing, plate: 23 7/8 × 14 15/16" (60.6 × 37.9 cm); sheet: 25 9/16 × 16 5/8" (64.9 × 42.3 cm). Gift of Julie and Bennett Roberts, Roberts Projects, Los Angeles

Artist, Betye Saar: In 1961, I moved to an area in Los Angeles called Laurel Canyon. This was the first time that I was in a really rural, natural setting. Unfortunately there had been a terrible fire in Laurel Canyon and most of the trees and practically everything had burnt down. A few things were beginning to grow back, and I was impressed with the way it looked with the sort of burnt out elements of nature, and I made this etching and it has a color overlay it with it. It's called The Wounded Wilderness.

I’m a true Californian—I was born in LA and grew up in Pasadena. As a child, I was always interested in art. My brothers and sisters got roller skates and bicycles, but I got paints and drawing things. I became interested in printmaking when I was studying design at Long Beach State College, and I passed the printmaking room. And the printmaking room has a distinct odor of ink. And that really intrigued me, so I went into this to look around and since I was a student there, I decided to take a class in printmaking. And of course, I loved it. And printmaking became my segue from design into fine arts. And it's always been very, very important to me. I think that's why in many of my windows and assemblages, I use an element of printmaking - either an image that I've done, or scraps of prints.

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