Sunday, February 28, 2010

Printsy Interview - Jeff Phegley


Brief Bio:
I grew up in central Indiana and attended college at Ball State University where I received a BFA in Graphic Design and a Masters in Painting.

How did you get started in printmaking?
I took printmaking courses throughout college and was hooked at the start. I was introduced to German Expressionist prints early in my academic career and I still cannot get enough of the work...absolutely powerful.

Describe where you work.
I work in my home studio. I like to be surrounded by my tools and be able to work on my artwork at any convenient moment. I print on a Dick Blick press which I love! It is very empowering to own your own press and have the opportunity to print whenever you want!

What's your favorite printmaking process?
I really enjoy intaglio. There are so many techniques that can be utilized to create the final print. I enjoy charting a course on how I want my prints to look in the final stage and then implementing the steps to make it happen. It can be a very time consuming medium but is very much worth the effort in the end.

What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
I usually begin by writing down ideas that are inspired by a number of stimuli (books, nature, people watching, tv, radio). I then develop my ideas in sketches to work out compositions and subject matter. I also sketch in pen and ink to practice my mark making which I then transfer to the copper plate. An attractive quality to printmaking is in the creation of multiples, so I like to create series of works to further explore the multiple and cover my ideas from different angles.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
Pulling the first print off the press is very exciting. Even though a plate has been worked over for several hours and you have a pretty good idea of what you may get, there are always surprises revealed once the plate is inked and printed. It is really a magical moment.

What's your least favorite part of the process?
The process of printing an edition of several impressions can be monotonous and time consuming. I am usually at my wits end after cleaning, inking, wiping and printing five impressions of the same image. At this point I walk away, rest and approach the edition with fresh eyes because focus is needed to create a consistent edition.

What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
Observation of urban and rural nature, people, video, radio and reading books always provide inspiration. Visiting museums and reading about other artist's work and methods of production is also great for fueling the creative fire.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
The quality of idea forming through observation and more playful execution of techniques has increased over the years which has really elevated my work to a more challenging place for me and hopefully the viewer.

How do you get past creative slumps?
I recognize them and enjoy them. I try to avoid being frustrated and understand that the well will once again fill up. I find these to be great times to look at other artists work, or just take a break and not think about art-making at all.

How do you promote your work?
I just recently started selling my work on Etsy! I have a website which features my finished works and a blog that I update with sketches and works in progress. I enter competitions once or twice a year and have gallery shows about once every couple of years.

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Printmaking can be accomplished with limited means. There are several books out there that illustrate great printmaking techniques that can be accomplished with a few household tools. There is no excuse for not printing! The best thing about prints are the multiples that you can trade for other artist's works!

If you could curate a museum show of a printmaker who would you exhibit?
I would love to curate a comprehensive exhibition of Goya's prints. The show would include various states of specific prints (if they exist) and original plates, tools and a reproduction of a press that he may have used. Oh yes, and there would be printmaking demonstrations throughout the duration of the exhibition.

What printastic museum would you recommend other printmakers to visit?
They have the MOST comprehensive collection of Rembrandt prints. The house, which Rembrandt owned for many years, has been restored to reflect how Rembrandt lived in it in the 17th century. It is a remarkable experience.
The Rembrandt House Museum
Jodenbreestraat 4
1011 NK Amsterdam
The Netherlands

1 comment:

minouette said...

I loved Rembrant's house and seeing his plates!