curlywurlysarah asked: How are you so good at Lino printing? I'm trying to self teach myself!!!!
Short answer: Thank you so much! I really like making all of my art and I’ve had a lot of practice.
Long answer: I went to school and spent roughly 6 years doing nothing but learning how to skillfully make art, how to know the world how it really is, and how to have big cohesive thoughts and opinions about anything given enough time to write it all out. College! I recommend it.
I spent a lot of 2010 to 2012 working on the pieces you see here on my tumblr and if they were organized chronologically, you’d see how much I improve from one project to the next due to the feedback I received from my friends and teachers both in critique and informally when I asked for help.
Printmaking is very process oriented, if you want to get better at the process: you should try taking a class or at least watching a demo at an art supply store, that way you can see somebody do it live and ask them questions as they go along. Ideally you’d get to use a press too, I may be stuck using a spoon to print with now, but nothing beats a press for making it easy to print big.
But, if you think you’ve got a handle on the process (hint, warm up your linoleum a bit and it will become easier to carve) the rest of it is just practice, and figuring out what you want to make and how you want it to look, before you try and do it, without getting bored because you over-thought the idea, or paralyzed by fear that the finished product won’t be as good as it already is in your head.
The trick to that is also practice.
The other thing that allows me to create interesting art is that I had to find my center to know what I wanted to talk about in my art. I think everybody goes through this, you’ve got the tools, you know the procedure, now what? what do you want to draw?
Finding your center, your genius-sprit, your idea-particle detector, your muse, your omnivorous all devouring cultural trash compactor, or whatever you call the place where the ideas come from, is important, but everybody already has it, you just have to practice using it.
If you don’t have it yet, or don’t think you do, write out a list of things you’d like to draw normally, things you’re interested in learning more about, your areas of expertise (be they archeology or pop-culture hair styles) things you wish you’d made, things you know you could make better than the original, the things (or people) you obsess over. What is the best of your life? The worst of it? What can you not stop thinking about?
The things that itch at me, the stuff I absolutely have to shout from the mountaintops, are the things I make art about. Sometimes if I don’t think I have anything I go chase ideas. I drink scotch with friends and talk, or stay up late until my feet feel too comfy and the birds are chirping at the sunrise, or I stare at the computer screen at my job and have a pang of angst and I keep a sketch book and I draw any and every little thought that comes into my head.
And then I do my best to take the little fluttering light of an idea and manifest it right. Sometimes I manage it, other times I don’t do as well as I’d hoped. But there is always next time.
Oh, and also.
If you don’t manage to print square on the paper, either make a jig to hold everything in the right place, mount it right when you frame it. or use enough paper so that you can cut it square after the fact.
Somebody somewhere will love everything you do. If you have something genuine to say it’ll speak to somebody. No matter if you don’t think it’s good enough or not. There’s no such thing as perfection, there is only hard work and being true to yourself and your idea.
Thanks again for the compliment, it means a lot to me.
Happy New Years and good luck to you.