Rebecca's Etsy and Websites can be found at the bottom of this interview.
I've been making art since 1992, focusing on intaglio printing since 1999 and collage art since 2003. I've also played around with bookbinding, letterpress printing, linocuts, and I sometimes write funny little poems and silly stories.
I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1998 and earned my BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000.
I have worked as a printmaker for several professional artists since 2000, editioning their intaglio art and I now have a letterpress printing business called Reb Peters Press. It is through this relatively new endeavor in the world of letterpress printing where I've re-discovered my interest in relief printing and I've printed some linocuts and woodcuts on my big old platen press.
How did you get started in printmaking?
Describe where you work
I have a 350 sq/ft studio in a big old industrial building in Oakland, CA. It's called the American Steel Building and it sectioned off into 2 large buildings that take up a whole block and is filled with an eclectic bunch of artists, including some very large scale metal sculptures. Many of the art cars that tool around the Bay Area and trek out to Burning Man are created and worked on here. In my space, I have a 10" x 15" platen press, a table-top etching press, paper cutter, lots of paper and some work tables. I tend to carve the lino/woodblocks at home as well as adding any watercolor.
I love printing Intaglio prints. It's slow, but very satisfying. I love the excitement of lifting the paper after running the plate through the press.
What's your creative process for any given print?
For relief, I have to sketch it out in detail first. I need to think out where the darkest and lightest parts are going to be. Contrast is so important and easy to mess up when working in relief. So, the creative part is before the carving begins, but playing around with line quality, adding shapes, dots and the like can happen spontaneously while carving and is pretty fun. I also often add watercolor to the prints afterwards and I like to play around with different ways of the coloring each one.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
I like that even though you're printing from a plate/block, they don't all have to look the same. I'm not against editioning at all. I just like the possibility of seeing the image printed in a variety of ways and giving it several lives to live.
Cleaning up. :(
And paper cuts from thick paper.
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
Artists: Kay Bradner, Kathe Kollwitz, Bruce Conner, Marc Chagall, and Dr. Seuss
I am inspired by creativity, whimsy and narrative quality of really good children's books.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
The work I created in my early 20's was kind of tormented paintings and drawings where I was expressing a lot of helplessness, uncertainty, and a lack of balance. In my mid-twenties, it transformed to being sweeter (although, still with a slightly dark and weird edge to it). Today, at 33-years-old, I still find myself drawn to making art that has a child-like quality to it, where I can create little worlds that tell a simple story. These worlds are stripped free of politics, buildings, gadgets, etc., and get more to the heart of the matter.
How do you get past creative slumps?
I take that time to work on promoting/selling my art and try not to get hysterical about having "lost" my creative spark. It always comes back. It's also a good time to take an art class to learn a new technique or just be inspired by an assignment. There have been times where I've even given myself and "assignment" and that was enough to help me out.
How do you promote your work?
I have my work in a few galleries. I have a Flickr page and am part of some different art-related groups on that, where I'll post some of my images.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
I definitely would recommend taking a print survey class or at least a few classes in each type of printmaking to see which one works best for you. You may like relief, silkscreen, intaglio, or letterpress more and you may learn techniques that inspire you creatively too. Although, a lot of schools have lost parts of their art programs to budget cuts in the last few years, check out your local community college. In the San Francisco bay area (and I'm sure in many other places too) there are also tons of workshops taught by local artists, where they'll do a 3-6 hour class with just a few people in it.
Rebecca's Etsy Shop
Rebecca's Letterpress Shop Website