September

At the start of every new project I have to remind myself that I probably won’t like anything I do for the first few hours or days of it, and that this is all just a part of the process. My sketchbooks are filled with lots of ugly, not-good work, but often the important thing is to get the ick out of my system so I can move on.

In those moments, I want so badly for the next thing to come, to relieve me of the discomfort of creating bad work. But there’s also poetry in the discomfort, a strangely heightened sensitivity to everything. There can be feeling and music and color and stillness – all at the same time.

September has been a month of lots of bad work – and also of a couple of pieces of very good work. It has also been a month of long walks and good conversations. September has been infuriating, but it has also been joyous.

That is to say, it has been a month like most others, full of beauty and ugliness, despair and joy. Work has been made, deadlines have been met, wine has been consumed, friends have been hugged. Life continues, and a new season begins.

52 Weeks of Printmakers: Sarah Alves

Because a lot of printmaking equipment (exposure units, large presses, wash out stations) is large and expensive, a lot of us have to work in shared printmaking studios at least part of the time. And one of the best things about working at the shared printmaking studio is getting to meet other printmakers and check out their work.

Sarah Alves (of Little by Little Things) is one of the printmakers I’ve met recently, and I was drawn to her bright, textured work (plus she’s just a lovely person). Originally from Brazil, Sarah has lived all over the world, and is currently settled in San Francisco. If you’re in the Bay Area, she’ll be exhibiting at this weekend’s Renegade Craft Fair, so stop by to see her work in person!

When kids say that they want to be artists, most grownups assume that they want to become painters or illustrators (or, occasionally, sculptors) – but never printmakers. How did you find your way into this medium? What other media do you work in?

I went to university in London and I studied something called Design for Moving Image, which was a cross between Graphic Design and Animation. I got to try my hand at all sorts of things but had the most fun with illustration, model making and stop motion.

It has been quite a long journey through circus, music, fashion, stop motion, photography, calligraphy… the list could go on. I think print making found me in the end. I love colour and texture and patterns and it gives me another outlet to explore new ideas and keep learning.

How would you describe your work?

That’s a difficult one, but I think “playful” would do it. I’d probably describe myself the same way actually. I like to try and have fun with my work and I’m often suspicious of people that take themselves too seriously.

What’s the first thing you ever remember making?

I don’t remember ever not making things but I think this has a lot to do with where and when I grew up. In the mid 80’s Brazil was a young democracy coming out of just over 2 decades of dictatorship – you just had to make do and be resourceful. I remember making clothes for my toys, board games, origami animals and even making our Christmas tree out of bits I found in the house. We didn’t have too many Pine trees in the tropics then.

Is there a ritual or activity that is crucial to your practice? (For example, I have to go on a long walk every day – it’s where I solve most of my problems!)

Definitely, I’m an animal of routine after all. Although the rituals have changed over the years.

In London my 30min bike ride to work really helped me clear my head feel connected to the city. For the dark Finnish winters in Helsinki I had a wonderfully cheesy Motown playlist to wake up in the mornings and start the day. Nowadays here in San Francisco a nice cup of coffee with our cat on my lap and the BBC world service playing will do me just fine.

What are you currently working on, and why?

Right now I’m busy getting ready for the Renegade Craft Fair here in San Francisco. But I’m always thinking of new illustrations and patterns and I’m filling up my sketchbooks like never before.

Do you have a dream project (or two)?

I probably have too many really. I’d love to collaborate with brands like Marimekko and Hay, on any project really :) I also dream of running my own creative space one day. Where people from different creative disciplines can work and teach, and show and sell their work. And anything that give me the excuse to have a nice, big, ever-changing window display… one day…

What’s next?

London is next. I was enormously flattered to be invited to show my work at this years London Design Fair in September. It is an event I have visited many times and it will be wonderful to be a part of it.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously and work hard.

What do you want readers to know about you or your work?

That if it wasn’t clear – I absolutely love what I do and that surrounding myself with wonderful, encouraging and supportive people makes me a better person and makes my work better too.

How can people find you? (website, shop, Instagram, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.)

Website: https://www.littlebylittlethings.com

Instagram: @littlebylittle_things

 

 

52 Weeks of Printmakers: Veronica Corzo-Duchardt

Photograph by Anjali Pinto

Veronica Corzo-Duchardt is a Cuban-American artist, designer, and printmaker based in Philadelphia. Fascinated by traces of history embedded in the objects we use, collect and leave behind, her practice is rooted in memory, heritage, and material culture. She creates screenprints that are both textured and minimal, and has collaborated with companies such as CB2 and Addidas. You can see more of her work on Instagram and her website.

When kids say that they want to be artists, most grownups assume that they want to become painters or illustrators (or, occasionally, sculptors) – but never printmakers. How did you find your way into this medium? What other media do you work in?

I found my way to printmaking while in grad school. It seemed like a very tactile way to get my ideas across in a language I already understood from working as a graphic designer. I loved both the sense of play and precision in printmaking. That and I loved getting off the computer and getting my hands dirty.

How would you describe your work?

My work is abstract, textural and minimal. It engages with cultural identity, memory, and history contained within the everyday objects and materials that surround us.

What’s the first thing you ever remember making?

I screenprinted the back of two photographs of my great grandparents. I loved seeing the marks of time and their handwriting translated to ink on paper. 

You are both a fine artist and a designer. How do both practices influence each other?

My fine art practice and is always informing my design practice and vs. versa. My design work is very expressive and I think my printmaking has a graphic sensibility.

What are you currently working on, and why?

I’m working on a new body of work right. Which I’m super excited about. These pieces are original works on paper created with coffee grounds, spray paint and screenprint. I’ve been using sugar and coffee as materials in my work for a few years as a way to engage with my Cuban identity and my relationship with Cuba. This new work brings together a lot of the ideas I’ve been investigating for a while.

Do you have a dream project (or two)?

I’d love to work with a hotel to create the artwork for their interiors.  I’m really excited by the idea of creating a sense of place that’s both familiar yet a bit strange. I think a hotel is a perfect playground for that. Everything from in-room original works, wallpaper, and textiles.

What’s next?

I’m planning on pushing this body of work further not just through prints, but I’m interested in incorporating sounds as part of the sensory experience as well. I’m taking a Sounds Ethnographies workshop at Union Docs in Brooklyn at the end of the month and I’m really excited to see where that takes the work.

So my next goal is to exhibit this work in a way that incorporates prints, objects, photography, and sound. 

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

Keep practicing, the more you print the better you will get. It sounds like simple advice but I do think that you can only get good at something by continuing to push through it. 

What do you want readers to know about you or your work?

It really does look better in person. I know every artist says that but I’m a sucker for the subtlety in colors and how I overlay textures, unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate on screen in the best way.  

How can people find you? (website, shop, Instagram, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.)

Instagram: @winterbureau   (Where you will find my most updated work!)

Twitter @winterbureau

Websites: winterbureau.com and veronicacorzoduchardt.com

Weedwatching

My show, Weedwatching, opens at Mule Gallery on July 7th, with a reception from 6-9 pm that day. Please stop by!

Mule Gallery80 Fresno StreetSan Francisco

The show will run until August 25th.

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