Sunday, April 3, 2011

Interview with Maresi of Das Linoleum

Maresi's Etsy shop and Blog


After having lived in upstate NY for the past five years, I recently moved to Athens, GA. This town is a wonderful place, not only with a great music scene but an incredible art world too. I am surrounded by lots of art studios, workshops, exhibitions, and other inspiring places and activities. While I still need to connect more with local artists, the advantage of living in a small, artsy community is certainly that my art can contribute to the local life style.

Why printing? 
Print art has, of course, some technical advantages (it can be produced relatively cheap and it is easily reproduced), but I am also inspired by the history of printing and print art. The printing press has become such an important medium in our growing world, providing access to books and art for many people who would otherwise not be able to afford it. In this sense, print art is also a political art form that can connect people on the grassroots level.

What is your favorite print medium and why?

Linoleum block printing and screen printing (silk screening) are my absolutely favorite print media. (I am currently only doing linoleum prints, but once I have more space available I would like to set up a silk screening workspace as well.) I like holding on to these more traditional printing forms (in contrast to computer-aided / industrialized printing techniques such as gocco prints), because they express for me a certain resistance to the machine-operated and electronic aspects of life, which at times actually seem to take over our lives. In addition, both screen printing and linoleum printing have a specific aesthetic that is not always totally neat and orderly, but allows for little mistakes, thus emphasizing that each print is – although a reproduction – not a plain copy or a mass product.

How long have you been printing and how has your work evolved?

My first exposure to linoleum printing was during high school, when I created prints that were much praised by my teacher. Only after so many years of academic alienation did I decide to take up linoleum printing again, so I am really very new to this activity, as I have only been printing for the last half year. I am teaching myself as I go along and am an ardent reader of art blogs. Before I decided to take up linoleum printing, I occasionally made silk-screened t-shirts for friends or posters for grassroots organizations I have been working with.

What or Who influences your work?

Anna Heyward Taylor
Bread & Puppet Theater
I cannot actually provide a list of artists who influence my work, but there are many great print artists who exhibit their work online and I like to study their techniques. I am certainly impressed by the style of the political art that the Bread & Puppet Theater in Vermont produces (this is an artists’ collective which does theater and sells posters of their wood / lino prints). Most recently, while on a short visit to Columbia, South Carolina, I discovered the work of artist Anna Heyward Taylor (1879-1956); I find not only her style intriguing, but her life story as well since she is said to have been both an explorer and a feminist.

How do your promote your work?

Since I do not have a Facebook page, I mainly promote my work on Etsy and via my Blog; or friends of mine tell other friends who tell others and so on. When I am in the mood, I also print posters and put them up around town, hoping that someone discovers my art; or I contact artists’ collectives and tell them what I am up to. My interest is mainly in getting to know other artists and sharing my ideas with them; and, of course, I also hope to occasionally sell my art, so that I can invest into more art supplies.

Any good printing tips or funny printing stories (or both??)

Since I am an autodidact when it comes to printing, I cannot really offer any kind of professional or technical advice, but I can share what I have learned from my own experience. Printing is the kind of activity that requires a coordination of your mind and body, which is both challenging and amazing. When carving linoleum or printing the finished blocks I have learned to never do this in a hasty manner, so that I can fully immerse myself into and enjoy what I am doing. And mistakes will always happen when carving or printing linoleum blocks, but not every mistake has to be erased or covered up; it’s those little irregularities that make print art so special.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

beautiful work :)