Camille's Etsy shop link at the bottom of this interview
Camille Riner has a BFA from the University of South Dakota and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before moving back to South Dakota she taught art and design at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, Michigan. Currently she works in her studio creating artists books, pulling prints and designing photographic books with her husband, photographer Paul Horsted.
How did you get started in printmaking?
I didn't know what printmaking was when I started college. But I heard so much about the professor of the printmaking class and saw a lot of excitement in that part of the art department that I signed up for my first class, lithography. Lithography threw me for a loop; this was a whole new challenging, exciting way to work for me. It seemed there was so much you could do with the medium. I was hooked and decided to major in printmaking. The experience was a great one not only for the things I learned from my professor and TA but also from the diverse mix of visiting printmakers that came to the school that I was able to work with. Through this experience I could see what the life of an artist could be like by watching and getting to know these artists.
Describe where you work.
What's your favorite printmaking process?
Relief printing! It just has that special something that I was attracted to the first time I saw it, the pattern, contrast, and boldness of line. I also like the directness of carving and the magic that happens when you start to layer print runs on the press.
What's your creative process for any given print?
I am a big believer in keeping a sketchbook/journal. I put all kinds of things in these: a phrase that caught my fancy, paragraphs from a current book I am reading or a pattern I saw. I use these idea banks to combine images and ideas. I start with small sketches and then make a final size sketch in pencil, going over it in marker when I am done to note the darks, lights, patterns and textures.
The process; no, the beautiful surfaces; no, camaraderie of printmakers; no, the possibilities in making multiples.......I guess I like pretty much all of it.
What's your least favorite part of the process?
What are your inspirations?
I enjoy looking at prints and illustrations, reading poetry that distills the meaning down to the least amount of words, seeing all the great textures and colors when I take a walk, watching indie films, and reading.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
For me, I think, when you begin your "voice" is made up of technical exercises and is strongly influenced by trying to imitate people that you admire. As you continue to work you get to know your working style and how to best to communicate your ideas. These along with your talents and quirks become your unique voice. I love the beautiful development of form I see some intaglio and litho people accomplish. In college I tried to emulate that style but it is not a good fit to my temperament or ideas. My hands/soul tends to create work that is quirky, stylized and esoteric.
How do you get past creative slumps?
Long ago I had an artist friend tell me a good hint. When she was down or tired, she went to the studio with the idea that she was going to give herself an hour to work. Some days this was the only way to get her into her studio, knowing it would be just for an hour. Most times however after she started working she was able to get involved and her ideas and motivation would return. It is easy to let the call of the things outside your studio detract you from working especially if it is to just be in your studio to think.
For me there are two parts to creating work, collecting and developing.
Some times are ripe for collecting, you are reading many things that are challenging your ideas, going through a new experience, traveling, or just aware of things in a different way that you experience them more acutely. In these periods I try to write down, copy or collect things that inspire or provoke me.
At other times you develop ideas, maybe for a deadline or just because. During this time I return to my sketchbooks and revisit these thoughts and ideas until I pick the ones that I want to develop. I do sketches of how they could be put together, what perspective I want to use and maybe look up some additional references for things I want to include. For me this is a drawing time with lots of erasing.
So if I am not in one mode of working I am in another, or try to be. I guess having choices is good for me.
How do you promote your work?
I am in transition from doing exhibitions and galleries to more things on-line. The development of more internet networks has been good, I live in a rural location and this has enabled me to connect with other artists and see more contemporary work. I'm not sure how all this will work out but there seems to be some great possibilities.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Take a community education class or visit a print show opening to learn about the different print media and meet other printers. Printmakers are usually a pretty welcoming group and like to share knowledge. I find that taking a workshop where you go and stay for the week a great way to submerge yourself in a new medium and meet others in the field. My particular favorite is the Frogman's Print and Paper Symposium.
Camille’s Etsy Site