Sunday, October 3, 2010

Karin Bruckner

 Karin's Etsy site and Facebook Page are at the bottom of this interview.

Brief Bio

I am an architect by training. I studied in Zurich, Switzerland and Munich, Germany - the places I was born and raised in - before coming to New York, where I completed my studies and worked as an architect in the offices of Richard Meier and Philip Johnson. Once I opted for family life though, my focus shifted and I began to gradually embrace my inner artist.

How did you get started in printmaking?

A few years back I took up printmaking classes. I always felt a special affinity for prints and with the added appeal of working on a 19th century cast-iron printing press it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. I realized that I had found my medium, a perfect fusion of art and architecture. Printmaking has been my focus since 2006.

Describe where you work.

I split my printing time between two places. At home my dining room doubles as my work space. Equipped with a hand-me-down 12”x24” Takach printing press and a sizable table I work on small size prints and long narrow formats there. Over the past year I have been fortunate to occasionally share a friend’s studio space with a larger printing press, which allows me to work on pieces up to 22”x36” inches in size.

What's your favorite printmaking process?

I began with Monoprints/Monotypes - every piece is a unique, one-of-a-kind original, no two are alike and one leads to another and another…Given my work circumstance I like the idea of working with non-toxic materials, that clean up easily. I use Akua water-based inks and various material on acrylic plates, which lend themselves to a wide range of experimentation. The prints are hand-pulled onto beautiful archival printmaking paper such as Hahnemuehle or BFK Rives.

What's your creative process for any given print?

It almost always begins with making a mark in print. There is nothing like making a mark and seeing where it takes you, finding the hidden inside and bringing it forth. A big part of my work derives from imprints of natural, found and man-made matter - hence the name ‘kbmatter’ for my etsy shop. I frequently customize the ready-made, which involves ‘upcycling’ some found object, exploring shapes, textures and effects. I add elements by making my own paper or mylar templates of images I either drew or photographed. A piece can evolve into an assemblage of printing, drawing, painting, ink transfer and collage. In layering these elements, usually a narrative emerges. The final result is often not so much a classic monoprint but rather a combination of techniques, a kind of printmaking.

The possibilities seem endless and can take you almost anywhere. I like to think that in a way it is not me who is making the art, it is the art making itself through me.

What do you enjoy most about printmaking?

The spontaneity and surprise element of printmaking - a piece ‘becomes’. Despite the increasing experience and awareness of effects, there is always a chance of the unforeseen happening, which can propel you to a different place. Sometimes it is the happy accident that makes the piece.

What's your least favorite part of the process?

Clean-up, mostly. Both set-up and clean-up are rather involved and take time away from limited work time available.

What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?

First and foremost contemplating other artists’ work is always hugely inspirational.
I also benefit from sharing a work space and watching a creative process that is different from my own.
Ultimately I find inspiration in lots of places. Material is all around, you take one thing and turn it into something else, things have a second life. The older I get, the more I see.

How has your work changed and evolved since you started?

The opportunity to work in a studio has provided me with the time and space to pin things up and contemplate them at a distance, which helped me to develop the readability of my work enormously. It has enabled me to move from smaller, more intimitate images with more muted colors to larger,bolder ones. It’s also helpful in keeping the complexity of my pieces in check.

How do you get past creative slumps?
Sometimes life interferes and working creatively is next to impossible. Just going to the studio helps me to push myself to get started on something, making another mark, opening up another dialogue with a piece of paper or simply finding another interesting thing.

How do you promote your work?

For now I have my kbmatter shop on etsy and a facebook page just for my art.
Getting online exposure is great and provides easy access . It doesn’t fully bring the work across – the look and feel of the paper is a dimension that’s missing. I have participated in art fairs and auctions and have my portfolios within reach. I do get the best responses and the most sales so far with directly showing my work and talking about it. Having business cards handy is also a good thing.

Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?

You don’t need a press to get started, the back of a spoon will do.
There are many ways to leave a mark or an imprint.  Be creative, go where it takes you.

Karin’s Etsy Site
Karin’s Facebook page

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