Monday, February 23, 2009

Printsy Interview - Erin Nolan

'Cave Point Park' - pejnolan on Flickr
Erin Kathleen Nolan, aka pejnolan
'Splinched' - pejnolan on Flickr
Brief Bio:
I moved often when I was a child. As a result I was shy. Artwork was something I could do that didn't require other people. It was also an ice-breaker when I had to find friends at a new school. I didn't receive formal education in art until I attended college. There I blossomed and knew that having a career in art was my goal. It took awhile to achieve that dream. Currently I am a graphic designer/creative consultant for OC Imageworks by day and an artist by night. I have been married for 19 years and have a high-school age son - both of whom are the loves of my life. We have our dog, Gracie and a cat, Crystal. We also have a stray cat that claimed us as his family. His name is Robert, Bobert, Bob, Bobby, Robierto del Feline.

'Poker Animals' - pejnolan on Flickr
How did you get started in printmaking?
I am a printing noob. I've only been working with prints since the summer of 2008. My brother, Al Stark (aka dakokichidekalb), has been making woodblock prints for years to use when constructing Japanese inspired kites. His work is wonderful. I kept watching him work, listening to him talk about the woodblock process and watching his eyes light up as he spoke about the block he was working on. Eventually I wanted to try it out for myself. I started out with wood my brother supplied, but my hands just aren't that strong, so I switched to linoleum block.

Describe where you work:
I work in a basement studio that I rent in a house. I use a drafting table as a workbench. On the opposite wall I have a metal cabinet and an old library bookshelf. There, my supplies are organized by type and stacked in plastic boxes. Everything has a place and I do my best to clean
up each item and put it away before I leave the studio for the day. That way it is fresh and clean - and inspiring - when I walk in next time I work.

What's your favourite printmaking process?
So far I've only made linocut blocks. There is so much to learn about papers, inks, barens, brushes. It will be awhile before I feel I can move on to something else.

'Linoleum block and original sketch' - pejnolan on Flickr
What's your creative process for any given print?
Being a graphic designer, I scan in a sketch or photo reference, then manipulate it in Photoshop to find what might work well as a composition. I print out a copy to 100% size. Next I will transfer the design onto a sheet of Tengucho paper. During the transfer, I alter the sketch further. Next the Tengucho is turned over so that the pencil side faces the block and adhere
it to the block with rice paste. After allowing it to dry 24 hours, I return to the drawing and adjust anything using a Sharpie marker.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
So much of myself goes into each piece that I found it difficult to part with it after a sale. I love the idea of being able to share my artwork without giving it away entirely. I guess I'm a bit selfish that way.

'Man-Child hand-lifted linocut' pejnolan on Flickr
What's your favorite part of the process?
Lifting that very first proof after carving! There is hopeful anticipation that wells up inside. It is the suprise and excitement of what might be - as if I were a child again opening gifts on Christmas morning.

What's your least favorite part of the process?
Clean up. I hate washing ink down the drain. I feel like I'm being wasteful.

'Three Raccoons Dancing on My Roof' - pejnolan on Flickr
What are your inspirations?
Beauty is everywhere: it is in the natural, organic forms found all around us. I use personal life experiences, memories, and stories as my inspiration. Many of my pieces are related to Door County, Wisconsin, USA. Al Stark is my printwork instructor and mentor. The energy of the linework in Van Gough's drawings currently has my attention.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
When I started I didn't have proper tools. I used an X-acto blade - cutting one side at an angle, then cutting the opposite side. I used silk-screen ink because it was what I had on hand. I'm learning more every day.

'Twin Lambs' - pejnolan on Flickr
How doyou get past creative slumps?
Oh! This one is hard! Sometimes I'll go weeks without being productive, then BAM! I have a conversation with someone, or go for a walk and something strikes a chord. Then I feel like I can't keep up with everything I want to get done. Basically, I allow myself those times when it just isn't working. The downtime is like sleeping: you're creative body needs it to refresh, renew, and repair itself.

How do you promote your work?
Etsy is my primary source of promotion. I also enter juried exhibitions and shows. Art Calendar Magazine is an excellent resource for this. Every week I search the internet to find new opportunities. There are Flickr groups to join and print exchanges to work on. I regularly attend my art groups: The Kishwaukee Valley Art League and The Makers Art Group. Moo cards are handed to all interested persons. Currently I'm working on a series on 100 prints for Art-O-Mat.

'One more try' - pejnolan on Flickr
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled
Don't wait until you have the education, proper tools, etc. If you want to try printing, or try anything in life, do it today! Action equals productivity. Productivity equals satisfaction. Satisfaction equals happiness.

Great interview, Erin, thanks so much!


marissa buschow said...

oh, you're related. now I understand!
beautiful work, glad to hear your thoughts behind it all.

Margaret Gosden said...

I follow other printmakers and will add you to my new blog. Thank you for an interesting interview - would like to share it.

Mariann said...

great prints..... and had such a laugh at the poker cat and dog...
thanks for sharing...Mariann

pejnolan said...

Thanks Marissa, Margarget & Mariann!

Took said...

I found this article through Robyn Wells' blog.

I am an Art-o-mat® host...(two machines in Michigan). I eagerly await your series!

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