Sunday, September 13, 2009

Printsy Interview - Diana Moll


Brief Bio
I've been interested in art since I was small. this alarmed my parents, who really didn't know what to make of it since they were science oriented and so were my brothers. I looked at school as an opportunity to draw, not necessarily a place to learn math. A few times I got in trouble for drawing.

When I first went to college I thought I would be a pre-vet major since I spent much of my life with animals, but in less than a year I dropped out and went backpacking in Europe with a friend for 6 months. On my return I tried to get into the Art Department, you had to petition, and I didn't get in. Now I can see why, but then I was devastated.

I started doing an Independent Major in Illustration and took full year of letterpress printing and started getting hooked on printing. A Life Drawing class got me drawing a bit better and my petition for the Art Major was accepted. I spent lots of time in the Lithography studio inhaling fumes and making prints of toads and lizards. After graduation I did some graphic design and illustration along with various odd jobs. I bottled wine, was an assistant to a composer, DJ'd in a club, worked for years in record stores (when there were records LOL), that sort of thing. I wish Etsy had been around!

Graphics started getting more and computer oriented and I didn't like working on the computer so I went back to school and drew my way through a Masters of Traditional Chinese Medicine degree from Five Branches Institute. Along the way I got married and had a son, got divorced, got involved in Marital Arts (Tai Chi and Ba Gua). A few years ago the alternative medicine business started to get thin so I started teaching art at my son's school. I got hired at the now defunct Santa Cruz Waldorf High School and I started doing more art work because teaching can be very stimulating that way. So here I am, my son is off to college, I have two rabbits, an insomniac boyfriend, and lots of prints that want to be created........

How did you get started in printmaking?
I semi-concentrated in printmaking in college, mostly lithography and letter press. I loved it, but got really burnt out with the chemicals and it just wasn't the sort of thing you could do without a proper studio. That was decades ago. Last year the High School I worked for asked me if I'd teach a relief printing class this year. I hadn't printed in such a long time, then I saw Moku Hanga taught by April Vollmer being offered as a weekend course at the Community College and figured it would be interesting and good way to get back into it. I really liked her work, so I signed up. I fell in love with the Moku Hanga, no really, it was the same feeling.

Describe where you work.
I have a desk in the corner of the bedroom, there's no window, but I have a full spectrum light. Moku Hanga is very adaptable to small spaces!

What's your favourite printmaking process?
I like them all equally for different reasons. By the time I'm satiated with one it's time for the next and it feels like a fresh start. The variety of activities offered by Moku Hanga quite agrees with my need for change.

What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
The initial stimulus can be different. Like for 2 From Nottingham that was a commission and I did a sketch or two then looked at a lot of pictures of my subjects and revised my drawing a few times. For Toad's Eye View I wanted to do a print that used gold leaf and my new tool designed to make circles. In general things start as little sketches, then I'll see different aspects or things I want to try during the day while I'll doing other things.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
Seeing lots of fresh prints lined up is so exhilarating. Also printing the block that starts to pull everything together. It can be surprising which one this is, it's not always the key line, sometimes it's a color.

What's your least favorite part of the process?
Clean-up, I work in a small space and every time I start the next step I have to clean and straighten everything, just to have enough room to work.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
I've gotten more complex, trying to get some different sorts of textures. Of course I've actually only been doing this sort of printing for less than a year.....

How do you get past creative slumps?
Work in the garden, play with the rabbits. Get some rest, have acupuncture, get the energy back up and harmonized. It's all about Qi and balance.

How do you promote your work?
My Blog, donations, local crafts fair (well one so far and that was a disaster LOL).

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Go make some prints, spread some art. In this age of the digital it is so important to have some things made with hands.


Annie B said...

I love Diana Moll!
So great to see these prints all together in one place and to learn a little more about the artist. Great interview.

About Bobbi... said...

I love your work! You've really captured the art of depicting creatures simply, which is the hardest thing, I think.

bobbi c.

pejnolan said...

Your frog print is hanging in a place of honor at my brother's home (dakokichidekalb) I like to study how the inks were laid. Thank you for your interview!

d. moll, said...

Hi, Amie, thanks for putting me up and using so many images! I see now I may have misunderstood the question about print making process, I thought it meant the different parts of making a woodblock, that is to say designing, carving, printing, as opposed to favorite different sorts of printmaking......

Paula said...

What an intriguing interview and I'm happy to say that I have several of Diana's prints and hope to acquire more. There's such intelligence and warmth in her work and her palette is irresistible. Thanks for featuring her work.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! I love Diana's art and Diana is an amazing person! I have a one of a kind piece hanging above my desk right now, a picture of my rabbit Archi Ann who was suddenly taken to the bridge. Diana was inspired by her markings and made a beautiful pic of her.

Silver said...


Friend of the Animals said...

So very cool. Good for you!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Woo Hoo ... and there are Tyler and Sydney too! Great interview.