Sunday, April 24, 2011

Interview with Alyson Provax

Biography: I live in Portland, Oregon. I moved here in 2005 to finish my BFA in printmaking at Pacific Northwest College of Art. I graduated nearly four years ago and now I'm setting up a small print shop with my boyfriend, Anthony Roberto.  It is beyond wonderful to come home to the studio every evening.

Why printing? The aesthetic of printmaking drew me to it initially, and I have since come to appreciate the historic purpose of printmaking: to be able to produce multiples and sell work at an affordable price. I also just love the act of printing, the tools of the print shop and the repetition of the work.

What is your favorite print medium and why? I love letterpress. It is very satisfying to physically interact with letters and language. The setting of type is so different from typing or handwriting or speaking. You build your words, then express them through printing, then take them apart again. It’s all very slow and methodical.

How long have you been printing and how has your work evolved? I was first introduced to printmaking in community college 8 years ago. I spent several years working primarily in silkscreen and intaglio. Letterpress is relatively new to me; I only began it two years ago, but it has become my primary focus. My return to silkscreen has been through text, so even when I am not working in letterpress I feel it’s influence. There is a nice correspondence between setting lead type for letterpress and painting type-forms on the silkscreen as I do. My work has changed a lot since I began printmaking, but there are certain threads that run through all of my work, and it is always personal work in one way or another.

What or Who influences your work? This is a hard question, so many artists and also many other factors influence my work. Beth Campbell’s drawings certainly have, as has Portland artist Kate Bingaman-Burke’s Obsessive Consumption, and Andrea Zittel’s project Free Running Patterns and Rhythms. My day-job at a law office has influenced my work in a lot of ways, as well. I think I am naturally very susceptible to environmental influence, so of course my friends and family influence my work, too.

How do your promote your work? I recently started a blog for one of my current projects so folks can follow the project.

Are you working on any particular projects now? Two projects: the Time Wasting Experiment and Duration. They are inter-related in many ways. For the Time Wasting Experiment, I document my wasted time in letterpress prints. This project has been ongoing for over two years now, and it has changed the way that I view my time, although probably not how I spend it. In some ways Duration came from the Time Wasting Experiment process. I found that I was thinking a lot about the completely subjective nature of the experience of durations of time. I would often want to record more time for a particularly intense waste of time, because of the weight of the event. I began collecting phrases that speak to those sorts of feelings, then creating these watery and often partially illegible silkscreen monotypes with those phrases. They are funny and (hopefully) true in their own way.

Tell us one random fact about yourself: Writing these responses took me 32 minutes and editing took well over an hour.

Check out Alyson's Etsy Shop and Website

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