It was back in April when they arrived by the hundreds, "footprints" upon "footprints," all impressions of the artists from around the world who created them.
As measured by juror Donald Sultan, a leading American contemporary artist, the group of prints -- each one a foot square -- was a diverse collection. And, such a spirit remains as evidenced by the works he selected to make up the Norwalk-based Center for Contemporary Printmaking's third biennial Footprint International Exhibition 2012.
One can see those selections now through Sept. 2. It features the work of more than 120 artists, say organizers.
"I try to be as inclusive as I can," said Sultan, who is based in New York City.
Yet, Sultan said he was looking for a certain level of ability, and a certain artistic sensibility that, when combined, created a print that resonated.
"I tend to not just pick the technique " the technique has to serve the art," he said. "There are those people who are really inventing their own way of doing something."
Sultan has created quite a few prints throughout the course of his career, as well as paintings and sculptures. Since the late 1970s, his work has been seen in galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, which staged a show in 1988 of his large-scale, black-and-white aquatints, "Black Lemons," which the museum called "monumental."
His prints can be found in public and private collections.
As far as award winners, Sultan deemed Boston artist Kristen Struebing-Beazley's "Untitled (Ars Amatoria Series) 1" as the top print. This 2011 red-and-black linoleum cut earned her $500. Weston's Leslie Giuliani came in second, with a $300 prize for her "Untitled (2)," a mixed-media piece created this year. Irish artist Paula Pohli was third, with a $200 cash prize for her 2012 linoleum cut, "Dublin Apparition."
There will be more chances to see Pohli's work as the center also is featuring a selection of her original works in its lithography studio.
Pohli is among other international printmakers, from countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Israel and Japan, whose works are in the show. They join artists from across the United States, hailing from such places as New England, New York, Georgia and Minnesota.
There are established artists, as well as those new to the craft, such as Stamford resident Emanuel Valerio and Trumbull resident Matthew Hood, whose prints came out of the work created during a recent printmaking class at Norwalk Community College.
"I've been doing art all my life," said Valerio, 22, who works as a tattoo artist in Norwalk. "I try to better myself as an artist every day."
Valerio, who is working toward an associate degree in studio art, said he hopes to keep pushing the boundaries of tattoo art, so that more people see it as the art form that it is.
But printmaking is new to this aspiring artist, who said his linoleum cut, "No Apologies," was the first print he made in the class.
"It definitely surprised me," he said, of being told that the work had made the cut. Still, he said he worked hard on the image and chose a bold color palette -- red and yellow. And, he's bound to revisit the medium sometime soon, given he has plenty of raw material to tap.
"I have six sketchbooks that are already completely filled," he said. "I get ideas from all over."
In addition to the award winners, there were eight honorable mentions. They include: Frances Ashforth, of Ridgefield; Eileen Tavolacci, of Redding; Courtney Johnson, of Wilmington, N.C.; Melissa Howe, of Salisbury, Md.; Art Werger, of Athens, Ohio; Daemon Baldwin, of Vancouver, British Columbia; Gerda Muhl, of Germany; and Yoshihisa Yasui, of Japan.