Sunday, October 25, 2009
Printsy Interview - Jeffrey Heft
How did you get started in printmaking?
I first encountered printmaking as a freshman at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Describe where you work.
I work in my home. I have a 10 x 12’ room with a Charles Brand press (12” x 24” print bed), a 10 drawer flat file, a banquet table work area, a small set of drying racks some book shelves and storage shelves for materials.
What's your favorite printmaking process?
When I began printmaking I really enjoyed working a metal plate using acid, burin, scraper, and burnisher – basically sculpting a relief that would print the way I wanted. Intaglio can be a very indirect, slow, and technically demanding process. I still enjoy the involvement it takes to create an image that way but recently I have been working a bit more immediately with monotypes. I also create linocuts and collagraphs. Collagraphs, especially, are another way of sculpting the printing plate. At any given time it is whatever process or combination of processes that will work to create the image.
What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
This varies quite a bit. Linocuts usually start with a drawing, either on the linoleum itself or a transferred drawing from preliminary drawings made on paper or via computer. I favor Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop when I’m developing images with the computer. Monotypes are many times a dialog with the ink, a kind of advanced finger painting, or I might start with an idea, things I’ve been ruminating over, and then work them out on the plate… but I also will work with preliminary drawings for monotypes.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
The finished print. A hand-pulled print on quality paper is something special.
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
Currently I am very interested in narrative in its many forms whether spoken, written or visual.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
It has changed and evolved as my interests and skills have changed. When I began it was as much about understanding the craft as it was about the content. Craft is still an interest, always will be, but now the work stems from content ideas rather than craft ideas.
How do you get past creative slumps?
There is always something to do, something to learn about, something to meditate on.
How do you promote your work?
I promote my work on the internet through my website and sites like Etsy, Flickr and Facebook, and in gallery exhibits.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Make a mess. Suspend your judgment. Don’t be afraid to make a “mistake.” Be observant. Enjoy the process.