Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview An Artist: Judith of Printmistress888.

Hello blog readers!  Today I'm introducing you to one of my favorite printmakers on Etsy:  the artist behind Printmistress888.  She's agreed to answer a few questions in order for all of you to get to know her better.  So, here we go.
Racehorse Lithograph.

1.  Where are you from originally, and what was your childhood like?

I’m from Brookfield, Illinois-home of the zoo! Quiet and suburban, for the most part. A lot of time to myself-to let my mind wander-play imaginary games-read. I often wonder if children are left to their own devices enough these days. Then, again, they are entirely different organisms!

Nervous Housewives Etching Monoprint.

2.  Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

OH! I was always gluing glitter to objects, salvaging things from the trash.  At school I enjoyed all the art projects--My mother saved many of my early creations--I had a little bit of humor in my work even then.  Fun for me to see now!

3.  What style of printmaking is your favorite and why?

That's a tricky question for me.  Many of my prints incorporate various techniques.  An easy answer would be whatever suits the work in question.  I do have a fondness for linocut, lately.  I'm using this in some large pieces on fabric (panels measure 5' by 6').  I love the distinct lines-and the strategies I have to create while carving to create shades of 'grey.'  It becomes and intellectual exercise.

4.  Your subject matter is so varied.  What do you use for inspiration or how do you generate ideas?

I am a blessed artist.  Inspiration has never been a problem for me.  I often wake early in the morning with a mass of ideas--I call them "downloads!"  My issues are editing and order of precedence.  I have kept notebooks of ideas for many years.  Sometimes the ideas coalesce into a project years later.  Often I ask the big question:  WHY?  I know I can make certain pieces but is there any good reason for doing them?

5.  Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

This process really varies.  When I get ideas, they usually fall into existing projects of mine.  So, if I get an idea for one of my Natural History monoprints, I enter the idea into a notebook.  Then I look to see if I have any printed color etching backgrounds that seem to match the color emotionally.  Then I look through my "vocabulary" of printing plates, and papers to choose and build the visual aspects of the piece.  Next, I write and edit the language of the print.  The phrases must be pithy, humorous, and SHORT!  Then I create hand drawn fonts.  The last step is to hand print the language to the print.  I use a technique called trace transfer monotyping.  It is a direct drawing process that deposits the ink to the paper of the print.  I always design and monoprint the language in my home studio.

6.  What is a typical day in your life?

I am a creature of habit. I get up early. Feed the cats, parrots. Check the computer for the day’s surprises. Now. I spend the mornings on etsy work. Taking pictures, photoshop, writing listing descriptions, listing items, connecting. I made a resolution this year to put in the time to learn as much as I could about etsy and social selling. Also work on art submissions and other business in the a.m. Afternoons are for creative work—sometimes into the evening. I find that when I follow a routine I have more directed energy for artwork. I cycle down the day by watching TV and reading. The creative portions of the day are so wonderful they flavor the rest of the day. 
Natural History-Carrots.

7.  What do you think draws you to other people's work?

Easy! When I have an immediate response to something I’ve never seen. Materials used in a new way-or a better way. Things that make me laugh with the perfection of the work. AND IDEAS! So much artwork is so safe. I appreciate skill-but then ask myself: “WHY?” Is this work different in some meaningful way? I tend to lose interest if it isn’t.

8.  What are your interests/hobbies?

I love to read-especially books set in England. Opera. Ballet and modern dance. Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Beatles. Dr.WHO. Many of my hobbies have turned into artwork, for example: needlework. The Cubs! 

8.  Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

This is it!

Natural History-Emerson.

10.  What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?

Usually the one I’m working on at the moment. Once I finish some project, I am emotionally removed from it. Time for it to fly the nest. So, my favorite artwork right now is a 4-panel fabric and linocut construction called: “The Man Who Couldn’t Hear Orange”. The panels measure 5 feet by 7 feet. The premise comes from one of my father’s stories about a man in his childhood neighborhood. In brief: what is “normal?” and how much does it depend on time and place and other social considerations. I’m telling the story in a then and now framework. I’m using linocuts on fabric to carry the story line. (Is this a graphic, graphic novella?).

11.  What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Don’t follow trends. Never ask yourself: “Will this sell?” Keep a journal. Meet other artists. Join Groups. Leave Groups. Stay away from all people who don’t believe in you. Keep making art. THINK BIG! Listen to your inner voice.

Summer Vintage Fashion Linocut.

12.  Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

Yes. I have had health issues since childhood. At times, this has prevented me from working. On the other hand, it has also prevented me from making some really bad art. And, to paraphrase Monty Python, on the other, other hand, it has been blessing! It has prevented me from living an “average” life. What could be a greater gift for an artist?

13.  What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?  (I'm sure being featured on my blog was a big one, ha)

Exposure. Sales. International representation. Critical Acknowledgement. Undying Fame. The usual….

14.  Lastly if you weren't an artist what do you think your dream job would be?

This is my dream career! 

Thanks so much Judith!!

If you'd like to see more of Judith's work, then please check out her website and shop.

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