Sunday, September 11, 2011

Interview with Joanna English of Summer Triangle Studios


I’ve always been artsy, I think because I’ve always been surrounded by artistic people.  My dad is an architect and I grew up playing with all the interesting things I found in his drafting table – a mechanical pencil and electric eraser are pretty fascinating stuff to a five year old!  My mom started me out appreciating the Art Nouveau movement at a very early age, and those aesthetics have stuck with me all my life.  Eventually I discovered the Arts and Crafts movement, and it was this that led me to printmaking.  I live now in south Denver, which I am glad of because the mountains are an enormous inspiration to my art.  Scenes with pine trees against the sky are my absolute favorite.
My shop, Summer Triangle Studios, is named for the Summer Triangle constellation, which is visible in (of course!) summertime in the northern hemisphere.  I have always loved its brightest star, Vega, which is a beautiful blue through a telescope.  My business has been around under this name since 2005.

Why do you like to print?

The art of printmaking combines so many disparate skills that I love.  I often use elements from my own photographs in my prints – so there’s photography (not that I’m any good at it, but I do love it!).  I also enjoy playing around with digital images, which I use in my print design stages.  Then there’s the physical process of drawing out the image on the block, carving the block, and finally the ink to paper.  I love the hands-on creativity of this.

What is your favorite print medium and why? 

I’ve really only done linocuts at this point, as I’m pretty new to printmaking and haven’t yet had the opportunity to try out very many different media.  I’m hoping to do a few woodcuts soon, but I really do like the permanence of lino blocks.  Even if I finish a print run, I like knowing that all my hard work on the block is still around and hasn’t been destroyed through the printing process!

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

I’ve been printing since about the middle of 2010, is all.  I’m quite new and still learning a great deal, but my cuts have generally grown more complex and detailed over time.  I think my style has also evolved to be evocative of the Arts and Crafts movement.

What inspires you?

Nature, absolutely.  I love mountain scenes, trees, night scenes.  I love to do detailed work and you can’t get any more inspiring than nature for that.  I try to capture a mood with each print also, whether it’s the feel of a peaceful sunny day or the mystery of the moon in the sky.   I also love the work of Gustave Baumann – the colors, the detail, the composition – it’s all so full of life.

How do your promote your work?

I tweet, I Facebook, I hand out business cards.  I’ve done blog ads and have some of my work in a shop in Wichita, Kansas.  My promotion machine is at kind of a slow roll right now because I have a one-and-a-half year old who takes a lot of energy!

Are you working on any particular projects now?   

I’m starting work on a new series of “object” prints that will feature things I run across with interesting details that inspire me.

Tell us one random fact about yourself 

A random fact… Well, I have hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, spent the night under the stars, and hiked back up!  That was years ago and I would love to go back for some fresh inspiration for my prints.  This time, though, I think the baby and I would skip the 15 hour hike and admire the view from the rim!

Check out Joanna's Etsy shop and Facebook Page

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