Sunday, May 23, 2010

Printsy Interview - Diane Podolsky - Anniepod Pressworks

Website & Blog:

Brief Bio
I have worn many hats; artist, teaching artist, arts administrator, gallery director to name a few. To this day, I have no real idea how I ended up in this crazy business.

How did you get started in printmaking?
I was working in handmade paper and collage and found myself embellishing the papers with a mixture of media. My work always had a graphic quality and I felt that I wanted to make something “all on one sheet of paper” rather than piecing things together. All of these factors came together resulting in my experimenting with reduction block printing. Not long after, I enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where I studied intaglio methods. I have taken sabbaticals from printing to paint and do installations but my real love is the print studio.

Describe where you work.
I work small so I set up a print studio in a spare bedroom. However, should I want to print large, I am fortunate to live in proximity to a number of professionally equipped printmaking studios.

What's your favourite printmaking process?
Intaglio methods because I find that, for me, they leave the most potential for improvisation as well as the ability to turn a mishap into something wonderful (if you are open to that). I think the best example of this is when I spilled soy solvent on a plate covered with hard ground. I let the plate lay exposed to the acid where the soy solve hit and it turned into something I never could have dreamed of on my own. Another time, a copper plate printed so bad, but was so beautiful in itself, so I saved it. A year later, I took a pronto plate lithography class, photocopied the copper plate, transferred it to a pronto plate, and my etching is now a lithograph! (See blog post “The Prodigal Plate”).

What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
Printmaking is an art form where it is difficult to avoid at least some preliminary planning because mistakes can be costly. I do try to be open about how the plate or block can progress. Usually I have some imagery in mind; it could be an abstract form or a “scene” of sorts. For intaglio plates, I do not do editions (except for the occasional print exchange). I will use the plate for monoprints combining the matrix with other processes such as chine colle, viscosity printing, watercolor, etc.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
The total immersion of the process. If I go in my studio before I get ready for the day, it could easily be 5 pm and I may still find myself in my pajamas.

What's your least favorite part of the process?
The clean up!

What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
My favorite printmaker is William Stanley Hayter. I enjoy the outdoors and believe the natural world influences my work; ironically, so does the urban environment in which I live.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
I would like to think I have become a better technician though I still find I make lots of mistakes. I probably take more chances with my imagery, but I believe that comes from having a better knowledge of the methods and a wee bit more confidence.

How do you get past creative slumps?
My creative slumps have to do with time devoted to unnecessary things. Printing takes time and dedication and silly distractions can be costly in the amount of effort needed to get back to work. I recently heard that a 5 minute interruption (in anything) actually costs 45 minutes when you factor in the mental strength needed to get back to where you were before the interruption.

How do you promote your work?
Just recently, I went back to doing outdoor shows and I finally opened my own Etsy shop in spring, 2009. I also have work in some local galleries and shops on consignment. Here is some good news – when I stopped doing outdoor shows in the late 1990’s, one of the reasons was because of all the reproductions. People did not know the difference. Guess what? People now DO know the difference and appreciate the handmade.

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Be yourself! Your imagery must be sincere or it will show. Try to set goals according to how you see your career and work progressing; not by what your fellow artist friends are doing. My blog posts include both printmaking and art/business topics. Please feel free to check it out!

1 comment:

virginia said...

Hayter - I first saw his work in a London museum - it was tucked way back in a corner.

I loved his work, jotted down his name, and finally found a book at a used bookstore (5 years later) that featured some of his work. The book was "Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914-1960.