A fourth generation Native Californian, Phil Tognazzini was born on April 5, 1956 in San Luis Obispo, and was raised on the family ranch in the small town of Cayucos. He was schooled locally, and attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where he graduated with a B.S. Degree in Fruit Science. He resides at the family ranch where he is involved in raising beef cattle and growing avocados.
Along with his love of the land, Phil’s other interest in life has been his artwork. He has been drawing all of his life. Influenced by the old Santa Barbara artist Ed Borein, Phil enrolled in a night course in printmaking at the local junior college. He was hooked. For the past ten years or so etching has been his primary medium. More recently, Phil has resumed working in watercolor and pen and ink, finding a diversity of mediums stimulating and enjoyable.
The ideas for Phil’s artwork come from ranch life – gathering cattle, local brandings, and the beautiful countrywide of the Central California Coast. He enjoys not only portraying modern cowboys, but the old California vaqueros as well.
Once Phil has an idea for his etching, he draws and refines the subject until the composition and proportions are accurate. The completed design is then transferred to a zinc plate coated with hard ground. The image is then defined by scratching lines through the ground with an etching needle, much the same as drawing linework on paper. Once the basic form is achieved, the plate is immersed in a nitric acid solution with the acid “biting” the plate where the metal is exposed. This process is usually repeated several times, removing and applying new ground each time until Phil gets his desired effect. The plate is then inked; surface wiped off; and placed on the printing press with paper on top. The inked design is then transferred to the paper for one finished print. The inking/wiping procedure is repeated for each print until the edition is complete.