Interviewed by: Ellen Shipley
Online Store: www.SheRidesTheLion.etsy.com
I was born into the art world, into a family full of artists. I began artmaking when I was small and I began selling my paintings when I was seven years old. I attended the Los Angeles County Highschool for the Arts, and the Rhode Island School of Design, with an emphasis in printmaking. Since graduating college in 2002, I have been working as a fulltime artist. I show in galleries throughout Los Angeles, and run my own studio and printshop called She Rides the Lion. I am currently working on my first permanent public art installation, which is a 900 square foot tile mural the Macarthur Park Metro station in Los Angeles.
What printmaking medium do you most often work in?
I mostly work in mixed-media block printing and painting, monoprinting and silkscreen, although I have flirted with ceramics, textiles, woodworking, lithography, etching, and whatever else I can get my hands on.
How did you get started in printmaking?
I decided to major in printmaking in college to challenge myself and to learn new skills. This has proved to be a great decision. I love working back and forth between painting and printmaking, and I believe the process of printmaking gives my painting an interesting edge. Being a printmaker is like belonging to a special club. ;)
How does your painting inform your woodcuts, and vice versa?
In the beginning, my printmaking and painting were very separate. Eventually, I decided to try to combine the two mediums, which has continued to be very exciting and stimulating. I have noticed that my painting have become more graphic and 2 dimensional, and that my printmaking lines have become looser, to allow room for the color and texture of painting.
Are the woodcuts distillations of your images, or do they come first and the painting embellish the themes?
In the case of the “Ride the Tiger series” , I created the eight block prints of children riding on animals for the painting entitled, “Tree Primer”. After the painting was finished, I decided to edition the eight block prints on wood panels, and hang them on either side of the painting. The painting exists because of the prints, and the prints exist because of the painting.
Describe where you work:
In June of this year I opened up a brand new studio and printshop, called She Rides the Lion. It’s a beautiful 1000 sq. ft. industrial space in Highland Park, Los Angeles, and if you’re ever in the area, please come by for a tour or workshop! I teach printmaking classes there twice a month.
What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
Generally I work extensively on my drawing before I begin cutting my linoleum. I like to get to know my subject first, in order to best capture its movement and spirit. Occasionally I will recut an image three times before I am satisfied. I believe you have to know and understand your subject matter before you can draw it.
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
I am inspired by rabbits, lions, food, artists who appreciate good craftmanship, and artists who’s work is rich with content. I like fairy and folk tales, magic, real people and real issues. I love the country and I love the city. I love water, acorn caps, fire demons and yellow watermelons. And vintage ephemera. And underground passageways that hide secret groves of trees that grow rubies in the shapes of pears. And more!
What is the thinking behind your amazing alphabet series?
My alphabet series was the first work I ever did in linoleum! I started at the letter A and worked my way to the letter Z. One year later, I created a handmade artist book of the whole project (now sold out). The constraints of the project (26 letters, one child and one animal) was a great way of getting to know the medium. I currently sell individual editions of each letter.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
My linoleum cutting has loosened up a lot since I began. I usually am cautious and detail orientated when I begin learning a new skill and then I loosen up as I begin to master it.
How do you get past creative slumps?
No such thing! Creativity comes in cycles. There are intense times and chill times, but its always there! Don’t worry!
How do you promote your work?
Networking, press releases, blog, website, online store, word of mouth, powerful messages and giant stone lions that do my bidding during the full moon.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
There is freedom inside structure. Have fun!
Thanx for the interview Sonia. I want to be you when I grow up. 8-]