7. RI Housing

Jean Cozzens

About the Work

Reconstructing Providence -- 2004

six-layer silkscreen print, color stages.

The "Reconstructing Providence" poster was created in 2004 for a radio documentary made by Robin Amer. [http://robinamer.com/]. In silkscreen printing, each flat color is laid down in a separate layer, so an image with depth and complexity can be built up from what are really just simple stencils. While I was printing this poster, I set aside one sheet of paper after each color was printed, preserving a record of the six layers of ink that were necessary to create the image -- including one gradient roll for the sky, to allow it to go from light to darker blue.

Industrial Trust Building, Providence -- 2009

two-layer silkscreen print, five different colorway versions.

I first drew this building in the summer of 2002 (sitting on the steps of the downtown post office and, over a couple of weeks, becoming pals with the security guard there). In 2009, I re-adapted that drawing into a simple portrait of everyone's favorite "Superman" skyscraper, which was originally named the "Industrial Trust Building" (built, of course, by the Industrial Trust Company!). I wanted to try out different relationships between colors as well as creating prints that would evoke different atmospheres, lights, or times of day. Over the course of printing, I changed the colors of ink in the screen to create five different "colorways": versions of the same image made with different colors.

About the Artist
Jean Cozzens is an artist, designer, screenprinter, carpenter, and teacher. He has lived in Providence since 1999 (spending time also in Italy, Worcester MA, Philadelphia, and New Orleans). He received a bachelors' degree in architecture from RISD in 2005. Since then, he has collaborated on participatory cardboard city-building projects, mentored high school students in screenprinting and artmaking, organized the renovation of a kitchen in a collective house, and made tons and tons of drawings, prints, and posters. He will be teaching advanced screenprinting classes this spring & summer, at community print shops in New Orleans and in Providence. He thinks constantly about cities, buildings, and spaces, as well as graphics, light, and patterns. On his own, he works meticulously by hand on drawing, building, and printing; in collaboration, he strives to work in ways that allow knowledge to be shared and to grow.

To learn more about the artist, please go to:


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