Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interview with Ulla Schirmbeck of UllaArtworks


Born in 1975 in Munich, I briefly studied Cultural Anthropology in Berlin. However, as my passion for art grew, I decided to move to The Netherlands where I had the opportunity to study Visual Communication at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. Since 2002 I have had exhibitions in Europe, Latin- and North America. In addition, I've participated in several Artist-in-Residence programs and conducted workshop and lectures. 

I have a loose, intuitive, and experimental way of working. To capture the essence of the moment as directly and truly as possible, I allow my contact with the material and my surrounding environment to inspire me. I consider my art a documented snapshot of my observations of life in other cities and cultures. Discovering, seeing, understanding, and then producing meld into one natural process for me.

Why Printing?

I work in various disciplines including drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics. In printing (via polymer etchings) I elaborate the quick drawings I do while traveling then can fill forms and background pattern to make a finished piece on nice paper.  I love the handwork: the smell of ink, the moment when the plate is pressing in the paper and when I can lift the paper to see what came out. 

What is your favorite print medium and why?

I use polymer-etching and chine collé because it allows me to use every kind of drawing and serviettes or other kind of thin papers I find on the way. Before I took the zinc plates with me to draw directly on it when there is an interesting motive. While traveling this can be quite heavy. 

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

I started etching after an Erasmus exchange with the University of Barcelona where I could learn the techniques at the printing department in 1999. In 2005 I learned more etching techniques and chine collé in the ACE studios in Buenos Aires with Alicia Candiani. Since 2007 I developed the polymer etching technique which Paula van den Elshout from Rotterdam showed me. In 2010 I stayed in the Taller 72 in Lima/Peru where Cristina Dueñas showed me the solarplate technique. I am very thankful to all this artists for showing me tricks and new ways of printing.

The best in printing for me is that there are so many possibilities for “accidents”, while I create (in a somewhat chaotic manner) there are surprising mistakes happening in the print which inspire me for new works.

What or Who influences your work? 

The first time I was drawing on a zinc plate directly with rapid lines was on the roof terras of our student flat in Barcelona/Barrio Chino where the hookers and thief’s where living down on the “Placa del Robador”. I started to draw they handling and movements. Since then I kept this snapshot drawing of the catching moments which I come along. There are more patterns in it now because I use Photoshop to arrange the image, to fill in forms or to make a composition out of more drawings. Since I use Polymer I also can prepare the plates in my studio before going to the printing place (because I don’t have my own press yet).

I have been influenced from figure drawings of Egon Schiele and the crazy etchings of Horst Janssen. They descriptions of scenes from writers like Kafka, Murakami and García Márquez are inspiring me a lot as well.

How do your promote your work?

Since 2002 I show my work at exhibitions especially in European countries, after my artist-in-residence in the Dominican Republic 2003 and in American countries. I have a website and just started a Facebook page and give away a lot of postcards with photos of my works. Also I often invite interested people to my studio.

Are you working on any particular projects now? 

I am working on a series of collographs for my next show  in the Galeria Terra Cacau in Portugal in May. Also I am busy to find solutions to avoid passepartouts and frames around my etchings, it makes the pictures nice and neat but does not really fit to my works. Also it is so tiring to store them and keep them in good condition. I clue them on linen, I printed on thicker paper with UV-lacquer on it. If you have another solution: All tips are welcome

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