For the casual art student, it’s easy to be intimidated by famous works of art, but with Shelley Thorstensen, Bowdoin students had little reason to be concerned.

“I’m a little bit cavalier about these, no white gloves,” she said of her prints.

Thorstensen, a professor at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and a world-renowned printmaker, spent the week at Bowdoin working with students enrolled in Printmaking I, taught by Associate Professor of Art Carrie Scanga. She also gave a talk about her work at the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance on Monday.

Scanga stated that she hopes the students are able to make the most out of working with Thorstensen. She said she thinks it’s valuable for the students to be able to work with someone who makes a living focusing on and producing her own art.

“She’s in her studio 10 hours a day at least, every day, and I think it’s really special to meet somebody who does that,” Scanga said.

During her lecture, Thorstensen spoke about her inspirations for her work, taking the audience through her prints one by one. The title of her talk, “Like a Radio,” gives insight into her perspective on her own work. She sees her art as a synthesis of the information she takes in throughout the day, which she expresses through her prints.

“It comes out again as something new, like a radio. So it’s a metaphor,” she said.

Thorstensen has been working with Scanga's class on hectographs, a particular type of printmaking involving gelatin. An advantage of this technique is the relative speed with which artists can produce prints.

“They’re very quick to make a plate, so I’m trying to get them to think visually further than they normally would,” said Thorstensen.

She hopes that some exposure to a new printmaking process will give students a chance to think about the medium in a different way.

Ben West ’16, a student in Scanga’s class, agreed, noting that Thorstensen’s style was a change from what the class usually experiences.

“The class was really interesting because usually printmaking is such a long process. But with the gel printing, everything is immediate,” West said.

Thorstensen also spoke extensively about one particular print that she said had a great deal of religious symbolism. However, she noted that she didn’t begin the print with that idea in mind. Instead, she let herself change her approach as she worked on the piece.

“You can take a whole plate and draw for a long time,” she said. “It gives you some time to think. You draw, and you think.”