Valerie grew up in South Dakota, and Paul grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. We met at the University of South Dakota, and have been together since 2002. After graduating with printmaking degrees in 2004, we eventually settled in Pittsburgh in 2006, and have been working collaboratively in woodblock for the majority of the time since about 2007.
Why do you like to print?
We like to craft intricate images by hand, working for several days or weeks on a single piece. We like to think of the prints we make as being 'conceived in multiple'--that is, thought of as being in front of a large audience from their conception. Printmaking allows us to spend many hours making complex, multi-block drawings and have an end product that is affordable, original, and completely handmade artwork. We want to be able to take what we do directly to the public at affordable rates. Working in print allows us to do what we love and be able to make a living on it as well.
What is your favorite print medium and why?
We are currently very fond of working in woodcut. We like the raw, natural state of the medium and the act of drawing and carving on the wooden block feels real. The blocks seem precious but are very strong and durable. Carving into linoleum or MDF just doesn't feel the same or yield the same end result--wood also provides for much greater detail, especially over a large edition. We are fans of the crisp, bold lines of woodblock printing and appreciate the subtlety of each block's differences. We feel a strong connection to printmaking's roots in woodcut (and as a medium by which to give images and text to the people) and are excited to be contributors to its lengthy tradition.
How long have you been printing and how has your work evolved?
We have been printing together as Tugboat Printshop since 2007, but each have more than 13 years of experience as printmakers & artists. Valerie worked primarily in etching before our collaboration in woodblock printing began. Paul has been working almost exclusively in woodcut. We have both explored and are proficient in many print mediums but have been working in woodcut since 2007.
What inspires you?
The natural world, history, science, thinking about the future are the broad umbrellas that we generally work under. We are facinated by the history of mankind, especially as relates to the history of the natural world.
How do your promote your work?
We have done a lot of travelling over the past 3 years to indie craft fairs, city fairs, gallery shows, etc. and promoting our work in person is by far our favorite. Nothing beats a customer being able to see the prints in person and have their questions answered by the artist(s) that made the work. We have a website, etsy store, facebook, blog, flickr, etc. and upload new prints and progress shots frequently to keep folks interested in looking & checking back. We also send out a monthly e-newsletter that features new prints and any upcoming events or press we feel might be of interest to our audience. (You can join by visiting our website!) We're constantly evolving and trying new ways to bring what we do to the public. We are very ambitious about almost any project we tackle or are asked to contribute to.
Are you working on any particular projects now?
Sure! We have a number of blocks in progress…many more will be a part of our LIFE OF LEISURE Series. Others are in a different vein…
We are very eager to tackle some larger and more colorful artwork
Tell us one random fact about yourself
We have pretty developed sweet-tooths and love to read our horoscopes.
Check out Tugboat's Etsy Site and Website