Artist Statement: Muse of Creation

Muse of Creation

Printmaking / Mixed Media 

Opening: August 3rd at the Bend Art Center, Bend, Oregon

My art is driven by my curiosity about the world around me. It lets me explore some of the unanswered questions I have... and I have a lot of unanswered questions. Recently, I have been curious about where the drive to create art comes from. Is there a universal desire to create? Do the ideas I have even belong to me? Or is there an external source of creativity that we draw from? And why printmaking?

In order to answer some of these questions about creativity and my art journey I decided to look at why I started printmaking. I wanted to recapture that initial spark that drew me to printmaking.

Muse of Creation uses a combination of printmaking techniques inspired by two of my influences; stencil street art and Francisco Goya.

Goya was one of the first printmakers I studied and I was immediately struck by his series Los caprichos. Subject matter, composition, use of lines in his etchings... the only way to truly describe it is to say it spoke directly to my soul. Los caprichos remains a major reason that I choose to use etching as my main medium. The main images of the person in this series are created using a form of intaglio called drypoint, which involves using an awl to etch the image into a plastic plate. When ink is placed on the plate, it burrows into the lines etched out (which are called burrs). The excess ink is then removed around the burrs, and the plate is pulled through the press. The ink is "lifted" out of burrs onto the paper.

I used foam stencils for the images of the crows. I wanted them to look like a traditional relief print while using the techniques I learnt making stencils. I used a brayer to ink the foam stencils, then placed these on top of the impression of the drypoint images. I then ran them through the press to get a bold, contrast rich image (something I love about stencil street art). When I first started printmaking I was struck with how similar the process of making a plate then printing it was to creating a stencil. In both there is an element of the unknown... and then the excitement of the reveal when you see the finished impression!

I have also used mixed media in Muse of Creation - pencils, pen, watercolour paints, chine-collé - to complement and complete the overall concept.

Using these techniques that inspired me to print helped me to understand what inspires me to create. One of things I seem to draw endless inspiration from is the natural world. I'm interested in how humans seem instinctively connected to the natural world and at the same time seem completely separated from it by modern life. Why are we at once drawn to and repelled by nature? And where does art fit in? Art is a cornerstone of civilization, but I can't think of anything else that is more inspired by nature than art. I used crows to represent the natural world because they're a creature that like us that has adapted to city living. They have an air of mystery about them that I feel compliments the questions I'm curious about.