A printmaking student (thank you, Shanell) recently found my work online, and asked if she could interview me for a class assignment about my artwork, career, and practice. I don't get asked these sorts of questions often, and found it was a good exercise for me to have to formulate a careful response. After writing the answers up for her, I asked if she'd mind if I shared the interview with you. She said she'd be honored, so here we go: I'll post them in two installments to keep the individual posts within a manageable length, and add some illustrations.
Reclining nude by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Die Brucke.
1. Are there particular artists whose work you greatly admire and who may have influenced your own work?
I've been influenced by the relief prints of the German Expressionists, especially the artist collective known as Die Brücke.
A woodcut by Frasconi.
Other favorites are Antonio Frasconi and Leonard Baskin. I'm intrigued by the work of contemporary British artists Angie Lewin, Mark Hearld, and Angela Harding.
A whimsical two-color linocut by Mark Hearld
But my main artistic influences in general have been Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, and Cezanne.
2. Which type of art do you enjoy most and why?
I love paintings, drawings, and prints of all kinds and from all periods - I especially like Flemish/Netherlandish Renaissance paintings, the post-impressionists, and abstract expressionism. But I also love contemporary sculpture. Once a year my husband and I go to Mexico City, and our focus is to look at art. Mexico has a particularly strong tradition of design, art, and craft. This past year we saw magnificent pre-Colombian sculpture, and some sculpture done by an artist named Javier Marin in the past decade and was the best I've ever seen. Yet he is virtually unknown outside Mexico. There are some fantastic contemporary printmakers working in Mexico using linocut - you can find them on Instagram.
3. Of all the pieces of art you have done, which is your favourite and why?
A large watercolor portrait I painted way back in the 1980s. It's very free and just kind of worked out magically.
4. For your relief prints do you work only with lino or do you use other materials?
I only work in lino. I've done woodcuts, but find them very time-consuming.
Me, making a print
5. Do you sometimes use a press to make your prints or are all your prints hand printed?
All of my prints are printed by hand on relatively thin Japanese paper; I feel this method gives me the most control. I have a cast-iron book press with a crank on top that I occasionally use but I'm not happy with it for printing; I'm thinking of buying a small relief press in the next year or two in order to print on heavier papers, but think I will always continue to do most of my printing by hand.
6. Do you prefer to use water-based or oil-based inks and why?
I use both. Oil-base inks give the sharpest edge and densest color, but I appreciate the easy clean-up and non-toxicity of water-based inks and use them more often.
7. How much time do you devote to printmaking as opposed to graphic design, other types of art and writing?
Maybe 1/3 printmaking, 1/3 graphic design, 1/3 art and writing.
8. Apart from the internet, where and how do you sell your work?
To friends and other people who have seen my work in person.
9. How does printmaking compare with your other art disciplines in terms of income generation?
My sales of prints are relatively small; historically I have made much more money from commercial graphic design. Sometimes I have a painting commission, or sell a painting or pastel.
I also have a publishing company (Phoenicia Publishing) - I am designer and editor of the books - and last year I published a poetry anthology called "Annunciation," with the work of sixteen invited poets, and illustrated it with my own linocuts. That book sold well online and to friends, and I think it was partly because the illustrations and design made it a special book. So that is a commercial application of printmaking. I also sold some individual prints from that project as a result, and gave a print to each of the poets who participated. All of this increases visibility and credibility, with each discipline helping the others.