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7 October 2013

Meet the printmaker - an interview




(re-posting my interview from The Print Shop site

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work… What sort of prints do you make? 
I enjoy taking on a challenge, which is what has held my interest in exploring illustration and the associated grey areas that it merges into, such as design and more conceptual or character artwork. Sometimes it's a tricky job to try and personally define where my work sometimes falls. More often than not it's focus is illustrative and I think even when I'm creating a piece of artwork from my own imagination, there tends to still be a purpose, meaning and attempt-to-explain a wider concept or story.

Recently, I've tried to include my screen-printing know-how into my practice more and more. I fell in love with the way screen-printing can force a limitation (depending on what limits I set) on how I create an image. It's focused me even more on the colour palettes I choose and I've had fun discovering the layers that build up an image and how I can reduce those layers down, without losing the complexity and clarity. You can see a range of my screen-prints here.

Are you solely a printmaker or do you work in any other creative fields?
I have always loved producing things in a traditional manner and have drawn and painted as long as I can remember. Painting and drawing is certainly always the starting point with all my projects. It's interesting to be translating these skills into printmaking methods.

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?
Creating little rubber stamp letters at school is my earliest print memory. In recent times, simply seeing the wealth of print talent in Bristol alone is such an inspiration for any budding print-maker. Since moving here, I've been enjoying learning new techniques from masters in this craft.

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work? 
Colour is an obvious inspiration. I often draw on themes of optical illusions and geometrical shapes, as well as my long-term fascination with bird-life, nature and texture. I also love expressions and dark fairy stories.

Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspace and where you print? 
I have been part of setting up the Drawn in Bristol studio and print studio space, which is situated inside the Hamilton House building in Stokes Croft. Drawn in Bristol occupies a large area of one of the floors with over 20 people working within a lovely open plan space. I create all my work and print work from this studio, as well as inducting new members of the print studio into the space.

The work of which other printmaker/s do you admire? 
Too many! But if I have to be specific, Simon Tozer, Hannah McVicar and Paul Farrell - all Bristol print-makers - have been a long-term source of advice, inspiration, support and general loveliness. Please check their work out. Hannah is also currently part of The Print Shop.

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you enjoy the most? 
I think it's the puzzle of working out what should be on each layer of a multi-layer print. I've always liked puzzles!

Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing? 
I purchased two mini-squeegees in India, which I love using, when it's appropriate as they are so light-weight and fit well on the lip of the screens I use. Acetate is invaluable when I'm working out registration.

Can you share a little printing trick or secret with us? 
I always try to not print when tired - too many mistakes happen otherwise. Music is really important to me and having a good sound-track when printing can often help focus my mind. I've recently been getting into Forest Swords.


How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future? 
There's always more to learn and to improve on - I love discovering new tricks. I often feel like I'm at the start of a fun print-making journey and am excited about what's next. I definitely want to challenge myself by creating some much larger prints.

Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through?
Juxtapoz is always interesting, as well as Digital Arts. I really enjoy the free comic compilation Off Life too.

Monochrome or multi-coloured?
Multi-coloured mostly.

Flock (detail), 4 colour screen-print

Drawing out 'Flock'

James the Elephant, 3-colour screen-print

Two of the layers, drawn in 4B pencil of 'James the Elephant'
Two of the layers, drawn in 4B pencil of 'Twits'
12 Bikes - A 12 colour screen-print
Printing 'Twits' in the Drawn in Bristol studio
Wrestlers, in the print rack, at the studio

Tracing paper layers for my bird cards
Raven Skull, 2-colour A2 screen-print.