Luis Remba, a second generation print-maker, founded Taller de Gráfica Mexicana (the precursor to Mixografia®) in Mexico City.
Luis’ father owned a commercial printing business, through which the Rembas befriended Pablo O’Higgins in 1969. O’Higgins was an artist and one of the co-founders of Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) which opened 1937. He was impressed with the Remba’s print quality so he encouraged them to open an art lithography shop.
Using the knowledge and skills he gained from his father, Luis took O’Higgins’ suggestion and opened Taller de Gráfica Mexicana (TGM), a fine art lithography printing studio. During that time, Luis and his wife Lea invited artists to the workshop, providing them with studio space and an environment to explore their creative ideas.
In 1973, the Rembas invited Rufino Tamayo to create a series of prints at TGM. This collaboration was what led to the invention of the Mixografia® printing technique. Tamayo was looking to change the look of his prints by incorporating aspects of texture and dimensionality into his artwork and agreed to collaborate with TGM under the condition that the studio develop a technique that would allow him to produce his prints in relief. Luis rose to the challenge by inventing a process that not only allowed Tamayo to create prints in relief, but also registered the artwork’s texture and very fine surface detail. Unable to use commercial paper for this new kind of printing, Luis and Lea’s son Shaye Remba designed and built the papermaking machinery to use in the studio. The name of the print shop was changed to reflect the name of the medium for which it had become known: “Mixografia.”
Mixografia went on to publish over 80 editions with Tamayo, including the 1983 paper mural “Dos Personajes Atacados Por Perros,” which was printed using the largest conventional lithographic stone in the world, measuring 103 x 63 inches. This stone, on which the artist’s original drawing is still visible, is on permanent view in the Mixografia gallery.
Mixografia wanted to expand its boundaries beyond printmaking so, in 1982 Mixografia produced its first sculpture, an edition of cast copper bas-reliefs made in collaboration with Henry Moore. The sculpture, “Wall Relief No. 10,” was made by replicating a plaster relief that the artist created in the 1950s. This opened up a new realm of possibilities for artists working with Mixografia. To date, the workshop has produced sculptures using a variety of materials, such as copper, wood, bamboo, paper, resin and soil.
During 1980, the Rembas were approached by Robert Grey, the then dean of the department of fine arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. Grey wanted to organize an exhibition of Mixografia’s prints at UCLA’s Wright Art Gallery. With the success of the exhibition, Grey suggested that the Rembas open a studio in Los Angeles. This space would allow for artists visiting and teaching at UCLA a chance to collaborate with Mixografia and a chance for Mixografia to broaden its reach. So, in 1984 Luis and Lea moved to Los Angeles to open a second location. Soon after, Shaye joined his family in California, and Mixografia began operating out of the newly established printmaking facility in Downtown LA. Mixografia still operates out of this location today and has attracted major names in 20th and 21st century art. As artists continued to approach the studio with increasingly creative and diverse ideas for Mixografia prints, Shaye built new machinery and developed techniques to fit the needs of each project.
As the Mixografia® printing technique has developed and evolved, it has been able to produce increasingly complex works of art that have come to redefine the category of “print.” The versatility of the Mixografia® prints allows artists greater conceptual possibilities, greater creative freedom and possibility. Because of the quality and adaptability of the processes, the artist’s ideas are not constrained in the way they would be while working with a strictly two-dimensional medium. Artists have the potential to think in an entirely innovative way with the option to render materials on a print on paper.
Today the workshop, directed by Shaye Remba, continues to attract major national and international artists. Through its dedication, perseverance and desire to set new standards of graphic art, Mixografia has enriched the Los Angeles artistic community and reached audiences all over the world.
Mixografia has produced over 600 unique editions by 89 artists and has exhibited pieces at institutions around the world including Staadliche Kunsthalle, Berlin; Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo, Lima; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; National Museum of Art, Tokyo; Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna; and, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.