Sunday, August 1, 2010

Printsy Interview - Charolotte Cooke


Brief Bio
I got married at 21, decided I wanted to go back to university 2 years after that and that I should do it then or it'd be too late and I'd have kids running everywhere. Currently living in Bristol, UK with my wonderful husband of 5 years in August.

I love making things, cards, pictures, prints, drawing, chocolate brownies...and I sing. Preferably while involving all of those things.

How did you get started in printmaking?
I fell in love with printing at university - I went as a slightly mature student (at 23!) and almost immediately was attracted to silkscreen, although I enjoyed learning a bit of litho. However, being ever so logical in my thinking, litho confused me, so I fell into a cozy home in screenprinting.

Describe where you work:
I finished my degree at the university of the west of England in Bristol in June, so I was lucky to be able to use the facilities there. However I am about to make the leap into owning my own screenprinting equipment, which makes me very very excited!
So once I have it all, I'll be in my garage with the spiders!

What's your favourite printmaking process?
Well I do really love lithography, but as I said, I just didn't have the head for it, and all those chemicals too. I love love love silkscreen printing. It soothes me and it is so therapeutic. Others may disagree, but I think it helps my brain to function properly...

What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
I always make my prints from sketches, I can't really just draw onto the mark resist (transparency), I need to know what marks I'm going to make first. Then, depending on what I am printing, it will either become block shapes on my stencils or hand drawn lines - depending on the outcome. I always end up with at least 5 layers! The cupcake limited edition print I finished recently contained 24 hand pulled colours... that was a lot of layers! I often use adobe illustrator in planning out work too.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
I just love the process of it. It's logical and instant and there is so much potential. I quite like cleaning too so it's a great satisfaction in that respect!

What's your least favorite part of the process?
it can be a lengthy process if the piece has many layers to it. If a job is a longer term project it can be frustrating to wait for it all to come together. You never really know until the end how it will look and that can frustrate me (maybe I'm far too uptight!). Also I mainly use layers of stencils and using block colours as opposed to colour separations. I just like a slightly mis-registered look, but this can be tricky too!

Also, backache from pulling the screen around... I suppose it works out the arms though!

What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
My artistic inspirations aren't necessary reflected in my work. I love Quentin Blake's work, Sara Fanelli and Oliver Jeffers is my illustrative hero... as far as printmakers, I have a book of french illustrator Blex Bolex, which is absolutely gorgeous - he overlaps colours in exactly the right way to create another, without muddy horrid tones coming through. Love it.

My imagination is pretty good, and I love colour. Colour makes me happy.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
I think as you keep doing something, you get better at it consistently. I feel the same way about my work. Often in my sketchbook work I will do something and like it, but then a few hours later, will hate it. I actually think it's a good thing because it means I am constantly questioning my work. I have a high level of criticism for it, almost to the point I am too protective over it - until a friend comes over and comments on it, and I think, 'yeah, it's okay that!'... I like end results too. A nicely tied up outcome is all I need. Preferably in pastel shades.

How do you get past creative slumps?
Argh! The dreaded question. I guess like anyone else. You just have to accept it, keep on pushing through and hope you'll come out the other side with better ideas! I've just come out of a slump actually, about a year's worth of it! I still worked through, and it's paid off now. It's always good to have more than one thing on the go - that way your brain is always working on something. Then if you get stuck on one thing, you can try the other for a while, and see if that helps.

How do you promote your work?
I rely heavily on my blog and word of mouth at the moment. I have set up my etsy shop, and only just recently put on items to sell. I also have a website which I refer people to. I have business cards and give them out where I can, put them in cafes (where you're allowed to) and that sort of thing. I hope to be represented by an agent at some point, so that will help... My main aim is to graduate and then strike!! I also have a great network of creative friends who aren't afraid to recommend me to people - which is handy!

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
It's so rewarding, but there is definitely a knack to it. You'll never know if you don't try... a lot of universities or art centers run courses for introduction in screen printing or the like, if you like logic, processes and the quality of a proper hand made artwork, then printing is for you.

1 comment:

lisa stubbs said...

lovely interview and fab work!:)