Cohen’s studio has three major areas: his press, an area for oil, acrylic and lacquer painting, and space for developing sculptures. “I have special lighting which creates close-to-daylight color. This is important as Buffalo is not known for its sunny skies and it permits me to work day or night.”
Cohen adapted a Vandercook Proof Press for his prints and does not use the self-inking roller. Instead, he prefers to control the inking process and hand inks and wipes all of his plates. The Vandercook handles up to 18” x 24” prints.
Reflecting on his wood working tools, Cohen said, “I bought my first group of burins with my good friend Misch Kohn when we both were teaching at the Institute of Design in Chicago. Misch taught me how to hold the tools, how to mix the ink, how to ink a block, and to choose the types of ink depending upon the type of wood and the kinds of papers that I wanted.
That initiation to wood engraving was in late 1949, 60 years ago. I also have some burins that Misch gave me before he died. Misch was, and still is, my inspiration.”
For Cohen’s collagraphs, he paints on a plastic plate using a plastic material. Using a variety of tools (wooden, plastic, and some found metal objects) he develops the lines, tones, and patterns of gray that he desires. As the plastic never really hardens, the plates have a very limited production run.
Dry point etchings are made on plastic and metal plates with standard tools. Cohen typically draws directly on the plate with India ink and then uses the tools to etch the images. He prefers to use dry point mostly for work with models, landscapes, plants and flowers.