Links to Cole's website, blog, and Etsy site can be found at the end of this interveiw.
I was born and raised in the East Side neighborhood of Madison, Wisconsin. I spent some time living in Brazil as an exchange student and went to college at the University of Minneaota, Twin Cities. There I began studying printmaking. Since I began drawing and printing, I have been integrating influences from visual artists and musicians from the United States and Brazil.
How did you get started in printmaking?
In my sophomore year of college I began studying printmaking. I became enamored with the manual aspect of printing, and how much it pushed me to refine my drawing skills. I haven't been able to stop since.
Describe where you work.
I currently am working on a new series of prints, which will form a graphic novel, based in the South of Brazil. I have been fortunate enough to gain access to a beautiful, historic print studio in Curitiba, in the state of Paraná. (Cole's project was completed in June of this year).
What's your favorite printmaking process?
What's your creative process for any given print?
I draw a lot; day by day, at work, on the bus, at home. I amass drawings over a period of time, eventually developing sequences and themes from the multitude of images. I then re-draw these images from memory, which reduces them to their most basic and important elements. I consolidate all the extra visual information and am left with much clearer sketches.
I prepare my blocks by applying a mixture of shellac and alcohol, which seals the surface and tightens the grains. I draw the images onto my blocks in reverse, so they will come out in the right directions when I print. I cut my paper, brew some stiff coffee, get some good music together, and begin a few weeks of work at the printing press.
I enjoy how much printmaking instills a visual and mental discipline in me. My drawings grow by leaps and bounds with each new series, both because of the process involved and the sheer number of new images I'm composing. I love the smell of ink and the little jump that the etching press gives when my blocks pass through. It gives off a very satisfying 'thump'.
I also enjoy the fact that I can make multiples. That way my artwork is available to more people and at a more reasonable price than if I was painting or drawing single pieces.
What's your least favorite part of the process?
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
I have a lot of influences. Music, authors, and artists inspire me:
Japanese fiction author Haruki Murakami , the rock band Modest Mouse, American graphic novelist Chris Ware, and brazillian printmaker Gilvan Samico
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
My work has evolved a lot since I began in 2006/2007. My marks have grown in range, and my subject matter has slowly expanded from the purely introspective work I was making in the beginning. I'd say the area in which my work has changed the most has been in the format of my compositions.
How do you get past creative slumps?
By drawing things I don't usually draw, things I'm not comfortable with and don't understand. Also, by listening to new music.
Through word of mouth, and through the internet. Since I have been moving around recently, I haven't been able to establish a solid, physical base location to promote my work.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Here are two phrases which motivate me:
"When you move you move, when you stay you stay." -Haruki Murakami
"I never surrendered myself to just any style --- I've taken a hard path, but a unique one, --which is worth all the sacrifices." -Oswaldo Goeldi
Cole’s flickr site
Cole’s Etsy Site