Monday, September 1, 2008

Printsy Interview - Amy Josefczyk-Papa

Printsy Interview: Amy Josefczyk-Papa - pspress
Interviewed by: Emily Berezin - artbear

Upcoming event: Kraftwork indie art market. Young Blood Gallery & Boutique, Atlanta, Georgia. September 4th, 7-10 PM.

Bio: I have been doing linocuts for about ten years, and only in the last three or so have I moved from hand burnished prints to working in letterpress. I have no formal art school training -- my degree is in computer science -- but I have always been interested in art, and after college continued with various classes outside of a degree program.

To start off, tell me about how you first began working with printmaking.

I took a class on screen printing at the School of Visual Arts in NYC because I was always interested in graphic design and poster art. After the class, I didn't have room to do it at home or studio access, and happened upon relief printing using linoleum blocks while I was browsing around an art supply store. I just tried it out and liked it immediately.

El Trovatore Print - brown

You mentioned that you started out hand printing your linoleum blocks, but now you use a Vandercook letterpress in conjunction with the carved blocks. Can you describe that process a little bit, and how your work may have changed when you transitioned to using a press?

My process starts out by sketching and refining an idea, sometimes on the computer. After I have the sketch made, I reverse it then use low tech carbon or sorel paper to transfer the design to my block. I carve the block or blocks using standard linoleum cutting tools you can get at any art store, then I test print and refine further. Once I am done, I mix inks then print using the Vandercook. Before I got the press, I was very hesitant to print very large or anything that required registration, because I never felt that I could get consistent results. The press has given me confidence to do larger works with more detailed registration of two and three color editions.

Hill-Top Motel Print in Progress

What is your favorite part of the process, or your favorite thing about printmaking generally?

Good question :) I like carving the blocks best, it is very meditative.

Linoleum Block Carving for new Ice Cream Print

How about your least favorite?

I struggle with putting my ideas on paper, and that may be due to my lack of art school training. When I come up with an idea the hardest part is coming up with a sketch that matches what I am seeing in my head.

Who or what inspires you? Where do those ideas come from?

Advertising and design elements from the late fifties and sixties inspire me, as does the work of Hatch Show Print in Nashville. Poster art also inspires me; the book Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion is a fantastic book to see what can be done. Also motel signs and fifties and sixties roadside architecture. I have a huge collection of motel sign photographs that I have taken when on road trips across the country, and the design elements of those continue to inspire me.

Linocut Motel Print Series

Tell me a little about your background in computer science. Does that influence your art? Do you see the two as working together in some way, or are they largely separate?

I think that computer science involves problem solving on a daily basis, and so does the act of printmaking. Letterpress requires constant problem solving when making prints, so those skills may overlap. Other than that, I think that my computer science background doesn't have a lot of influence. I like the fact that I can have a balance in life between my work, which relies on my computer science background and is very left brain, and my art, which is more right brain.

How do you schedule yourself in your art practice? How does it fit in alongside your day job?

I usually devote evenings after work to art. I try to have a nice dinner after work and then work on printmaking rather than sitting in front of the TV. I also spend a lot of time on the weekends with it.

Finished Ice Cream Print

Can you describe your work space?

My husband and I own a commercial building where we both have studio space. I have a press room where my press lives along with all my tools and supplies. It is good because now I don't have to worry about space issues and can keep my work area separate.

Vandercook SP15
How do you promote your work and your business?

I blog, use Flickr, and do the Indie Craft Experience summer and winter craft events here in Atlanta. This is an area that I could spent more time on! I was also just accepted to be part of this month's Kraftwork, a revamped monthly craft night at the Youngblood Gallery, which is a local indie art gallery in Atlanta.

Do you have any advice for newcomers to printmaking?

Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. I am trying to challenge myself more to this -- although there will be failures, you can learn so much more in the process.

New Big Rig Print

Thanks so much, Amy!


She Rides the Lion said...

neat! i spent many years printing on a vandercook, love it.

Ele said...

Amazing- another scientist seeking left-brain/right-brain balance through printmaking!

I enjoyed reading the interview.

Ele (aka minouette)

Ellen Shipley said...

I like how you've incorporated poster art in your work. A fine tradition. ;-]

And I admire how you can turn the TV off and get to work! Wish I could. ;-j