Monday, May 18, 2009

Printsy Interview - Stacie Clark

Name: Stacie Clark

Brief Bio:
I earned my B.S. in Art with a painting, printmaking and ceramics concentration. I currently work as the printmaking assistant in a local community college.

How did you get started in printmaking?
I took college courses in printmaking. I didn't really connect to it until I took an Intaglio class from a printmaker named James Mattingly.

Describe where you work.
Most of my prep work is at home on my table. This is where my light box, photos, and sketchbooks are. I am fortunate to have access to the printing equipment at the college where I work. This is where I print my prints.

What's your favourite printmaking process?
Intaglio. I really enjoy the embossing of the paper and the unique velvet texture found in these kinds of prints.

What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
I usually begin going through my personal photographs. For most of my prints I strip out a lot of the details and what I consider miscellaneous parts to create the basic outline. For many of my prints I make a lot of my compositional decisions while working on the plate. If I am uncertain what I want to do I will create a value sketch before any plate work.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
The process of creating a plate. I enjoy that internal conversation I have as I think about the composition. There is a mystery in the creation of a plate. No matter how much experience I have, I can only guess at what it is going to look like when I finally print it.

What's your least favorite part of the process?
The failure rate. There are prints I feel aren't as successful as I hoped. Every artist starts a project with the hope that it will be good. I invest the time and the effort with the hope that I will be rewarded. I am rewarded often enough to be pleased and eager to move on to the next plate. But when it doesn't work, I find it discouraging.

What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
I find inspiration in random places. Photographs, looking in books, working with students, driving and seeing a grouping people or objects. It is unpredictable what will affect me.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
My earlier prints were very realistic. I used my image sources for accurate details much more then I do now. Over time my compositions have become more stripped down and surreal.

How do you get past creative slumps?
I tried not to get frustrated and accept that what was satisfying before isn't working now. I will often change my medium. I'll create a relief block or do some watercolor paintings. Dealing with different compositional and technical issues can be cleansing.

How do you promote your work?
I leave business cards with my websites in the local cafes and art supply store. I attempt to get into galleries and juried shows but find it challenging and expensive. Even after all these years I find self-promotion uncomfortable.

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
If you can, take some classes. A good instructor will give you the basic skills that you can take home and practice with.