Sunday, July 25, 2010

Printsy Interview - Mark Long


Brief Bio
I live/work in London where I was born. I graduated with a BA illustration 2005, then I did a PGCE and worked as a secondary school Art teacher for 3 years. I left full time teaching to do a part time MA at Camberwell College of Art while pursuing a career as a freelance illustrator. I still do occasional workshop teaching.

How did you get started in printmaking?
I started an MA a couple of years ago, I wanted to learn some skills as I felt I hadn't learned any tangible skills at all in my 3 years at university first time around. I'm really just a beginner at printmaking.

Describe where you work.
At home in my bedroom; it has its pros and cons. Sometimes it's lovely to work at home, it's a nice room, gets lots of light you have all your comforts with you.

I'd like to move out to a studio though, as occasionally I realise that I haven't left the house for two days and I've gone a bit mental.

What's your favourite printmaking process?
I guess screen printing, but it depends. I think lino/woodcuts are more impressive when done well.

What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
Always sketch first, I have it planned, but not 100% as I like to be surprised by the outcome. A lot of my lino prints are made to get a certain effect, and I scan the layers in separately, then I can tweak the colours and clean up any mistakes.

I've only just come around to the idea of selling my prints. Before I just did them for fun.

I wish I could go back in time and take more care, and do them on nice paper etc.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
Being surprised by the outcome, the colours are bolder and brighter than digital printing.

What's your least favorite part of the process?
Obviously they can be very time consuming and sometimes, at the end of it, they look crap. And you think "I've spent all day doing that".

That's why I tend not to make images that take longer than a day, I've got very little patience.

What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
In terms of printmakers: Edward Bawden, David Gentleman, Keith Haring, Christopher Brown, the German Expressionists, Yann Brien.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
I've only been seriously printmaking for a couple of years, so perhaps just a bit neater and tidier, and a little bit better all round.

How do you get past creative slumps?
Getting briefs/projects from other people. I'm an illustrator so I rely often on other people for inspiration. I also look at illustrators/artists that I admire.

How do you promote your work?
Website, mail outs. I hate promoting myself, I feel uncomfortable blowing my own trumpet, but you have to get over that if you want to get work/sell anything.

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
I make my lino and screenprints at home in my bedroom. You can still get very professional results on a super low budget, it's just much harder. Have lots of clean rags to wipe your hands on!