Recently I had the pleasure of giving a talk on my work in conjunction with a show I was taking part in, Stinking Fish Artists: AT THE MAG
To prepare for the talk, I created two slideshows of my work, one on process and the other higlighting some of the recent figurative works I have done. I’d like to share them here, along with the introductions I gave during the talk. I hope you enjoy.
“My medium of choice is printmaking. I know this is a medium that not many people are familiar with and one that is often confused with reproduction work. So I will begin my talk with a brief explanation of the process of printmaking and of how I came to become a printmaker.
Many years ago, in the late 80s I was living in Japan. While I was there I attended the CWAJ Print Show in Tokyo, a show that was put on as a yearly fundraiser for a college women’s group and one that featured the work of many of Japan’s foremost contemporary artists, as well as the works of quite a few foreign artists living in Japan. The artworks in the show blew me away. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before. Unlike oils or watercolours, they had a quality and structure that defied understanding, and the subject matters, being highly influenced by Japanese culture, held a fascination and beauty that was very appealing. The descriptions of the works were baffling to me: etching, aquatint, mezzotint, lithograph, serigraph, wood cut, as was the fact that many of these pieces were done as editions yet were considered original works of art of great value. No amount of explanation or reading up on the terminology really helped to understand the processes involved in creating the works. But I happily immersed myself in the print scene and even bought a few prints myself, not understanding how they were made but appreciating their beauty nevertheless. At the time I continued my studies in ink brush painting and watercolour and continued with that as I moved around the world. In the year 2000 I returned to Japan and once again found myself captivated by the amazing print scene there but it wasn’t until I moved to Victoria, BC in 2002 that I finally took my first printmaking class at MISSA at Pearson College. I finally, through the process of actually making prints, understood what printmaking was all about. I came to understand that it was a process of transferring an image from one substrate to another with the use of pressure, and in the process of doing so a unique and intriguing work of art is created. There are many ways of doing this transfer process and the one I have become most fascinated with is the process of photo etching. What I love about this process is that it uses light to create an image and it allows for the use of photographic imagery to be used and manipulated to create the final work. The following slide show takes you step by step through that process. It begins with a series of images that begin with the original photograph and end with the print and then it moves on to how the plates and prints are created. The large black box you will see in some of the slides is one of my light boxes that exposes the plate to light to create the image on the plate. So here is the first slideshow.
As you will have noticed most of my imagery is figurative work. I began doing figurative work a few years ago when I decided I was going to do a self portrait. I had a need to express something important to me and to push some boundaries in my life and in my art and I realized that a self portrait could do the trick. Well this first self portrait snowballed into many series of figurative works that culminated in three solo shows, several small group shows and some critical acclaim with a total of five awards at various large juried art shows on the island. But the most important thing it did was allow me to finally create works that were inspired from within, that helped me find my voice to tell my own truths and to ask my own questions. I could create artwork that mattered, that not only reflected my journey through life but helped me along that journey, and I soon found that it helped others as well for it connected with viewers on a deeper, more emotional and personal level than my artwork ever has before. I found I was finally able to create artwork that could act as a mirror for others to find their own truth and see their journeys in and that is very satisfying and exciting to me. So here is Part Two of Portraits in Prints. It shows a good number of the figurative works that I have created in the past few years. I hope you enjoy.