Interview by pspress
Name: Iva O.
Etsy shop: ivaart.etsy.com
I live in the Toronto area where I share my little apartment with a wonderful cat and a lot of art supplies. I don't have formal training in art and everything that I have learned is through observation and constant experimentation. During the day I work in corporate finance and at night I dive into paint and ink. It's a dual kind of life that keeps both sides of my brain working.
What printmaking medium do you most often work in?
Block printing -- both wood and linoleum.
How did you get started in printmaking?
Printmaking was a natural progression from painting. I was lucky enough to meet a lot of great artists online whose work inspired me to try and express myself through printmaking. Through a lot of experimentation and remembering bits of an art class in high school I taught myself the basics.
Describe where you work.
Until recently I used to work in a 1 metre by 1 metre space on my bedroom floor. Now I have graduated to my living room. One day I hope to have some space for a studio.
What's your creative process for any given print?
I usually start with something that inspires me, a photo of a place that I have visited or an image I would like to play with and sketch it out. I redraw the image to the size I want it, flip it (sometimes I forget to do that), transfer it to the block and start carving. I often have several blocks on the go, as once I start working on one the ideas start flowing for other images. After I finish carving the block, I print a test print, fix anything that needs fixing and print. I am very low tech as I use a wooden spoon to transfer the image from the block to paper. I usually print in several layers combining colors and blocks. Sometimes I have a finished image in my head and sometimes I just layer until I am happy with the print.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
Playing around with the ink. I am a messy artist, by the end of a printing session I am covered in ink!
What's your least favorite part of the process?
Getting the paper ready, I don't like cutting the paper because I can't cut or tear a straight line no matter what I do.
What are your inspirations?
My major inspiration is my life. The art I create is a reflection of my experiences and emotions. My prints (and the rest of my art work) represent my search for a calm and peaceful state of mind. I am inspired by other artists and the techniques they use. Nature is a constant inspiration, I am learning about photography and a lot of my blocks are based on photos I have taken.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
My work is constantly changing as I discover new ways of carving or printing. It's an ever changing process.
How do you get past creative slumps?
I am in the middle of one right now. The best thing I can do is to keep looking at art, trying to think about it and finding time to spend with my sketchbook. I think that I will have to lock the door, turn off my phone and computer and get the ink out and work for hours.
How do you promote your work?
My work is mostly for sale online right now. I promote through my blog, flickr groups, forums, displaying at shows and word of mouth.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Just start working and don't be afraid to get covered in ink ;)
Thanks for the wonderful interview Iva!