Sangeeta Bhagawati: “A break is sometimes refreshing…”

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 09.42.48

Sangeeta Bhagawati’s linocuts are heady mixtures of a number of techniques – but all grounded in linocut.

Be it chiné-colles or collage or colouring that takes the prints into new places, the effects are always charming and with a cool, measured life of their own.

As someone who only works in one medium at any one time, I approached Sangeeta to see how the process goes for her.


Hello there Sangeeta – what are the main influences on your prints?

My practice is dictated by an urge to make motif prints by combining linoprint and chiné-colle techniques to create a palimpsest like effect. I’m very much influenced by the techniques of collage and pattern making on which I relied before turning to printmaking. I regularly incorporate chiné-colles from vintage magazine pages and Japanese origami papers into my linocuts to create the motifs and patterns I desire.

How did you come to be a linocutter? 

I started with a beginner’s printmaking course in 2014. The course introduced me to all types of printmaking processes and I soon became hooked. After a year and a half I became confident to work independently and started concentrating on linocuts more.

I think it’s the best medium to work on as it gives me the freedom to play with colours. I also find it easy to combine linocuts with other printmaking techniques, especially chiné-colle.

My work’s evolved to the point where I’m concentrating solely on the potential of linocut and chiné-colle and experimenting with various types of paper to create my signature motifs.

Nature plays a key role in your work, but also the man made world?

My prints constantly highlight the interaction of human world/nature with urban life/man-made life. My series Métropole explores this plurality of modern life, parodying a patchwork style to give a feel of fragmentation.

Your colours are so restrained and well thought out – is there a lot of trial and error?

A lot – especially when I’m working on reduction prints. Sometimes the layered colours I thought would work together turn out to be otherwise. I’ve scraped and thrown innumerable prints into the bin just because I couldn’t get the colours right. I’m still learning how to make colours work.

I also like how you can do something as vivid as a human face, but also a starker piece like Métropole – do you like to alternate to keep things fresh?

Yes – a break from what I usually do is sometimes refreshing. For example, currently I’m taking a break from my linocut and chiné-colle to do a bit of monoprinting. This happens when I hit a creative block with a certain project – like when I print a linoblock and then can’t decide how to best proceed with the chiné-colle on it. This will last for a week or two and I think it’s essential as small breaks often give me some space to come up with new ideas for my main project.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 09.42.32

What’s been your experience of selling your work – what methods do you use?

I mainly rely on exhibitions to sell my prints. I put them up on social media as well but since I mostly produce series of limited editions I prefer not to sell them via social media. I’ve been in a couple of exhibitions since 2014 and have seen good response from the crowd and sold well.

What sometimes hampers sales through exhibitions is if I’m exhibiting somewhere which is not exclusively for printmakers. In those cases, sometimes the audience doesn’t know what printmaking is and don’t appreciate the toil behind each print.

My good friends have suggested I have a small video installation in my exhibition space to show the process behind each print. Some exhibitors also exhibit their lino blocks along with their prints and I’ve learned this gets a good response.

What sort of printing set up to you use?

I basically work on an Albion press for my linoblocks and an etching printing press for my chiné-colle work. I’m a huge fan of the print room at Morley College in London. I’ve been going there since 2014 and it’s become my comfort zone as it contains everything necessary for any printmaking technique.

Plus, I get to work under my mentor David Holah who taught me the A-Z of printmaking. Sometimes I also use the print rooms of East London Printmakers as they’re very welcoming and they have quite a peaceful set-up.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 09.44.34

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished working on a series of monoprints titled Passage. I’m still deciding about the direction of my next project which will obviously include linocut and chiné-colle, and will probably include some botanically inspired prints.

Where can we see your work?

You can visit my Instagram (@_amoort_) and Twitter where I always put up my latest work. YBut yu can also visit my Tumblr where I often discuss the process behind my prints and even put up videos.


Haggy Tea: “In an increasingly insane world, observing nature keeps me sane”


Sometimes a print just speaks to you. You see it, it grabs you and then you want it. Before you know it, all your walls are full up and there are prints on top of cupboards and behind the sofa and under the bed.

What I mean is, when you see a print you want, it sort of haunts you for a few days. I had that with a piece by the elusively named artist Haggy Tea, and her two-colour print of a bird on a spade’s handle really stuck out as I browsed online. I’m wasn’t even sure what the bird was – I’m not Bill Oddie.

Then, on further inspection, I discovered birds were her ‘thing’ – and I really admire people who specialise like this. So you can guess what happened next…


Watcha Haggy. When did you start linocutting?

In 2014, after being bought a one-day black and white linocut workshop taught by Nick Morley, aka Linocutboy, as a birthday gift from my boyfriend. Unlike many people I’d never done it at school, so had no previous experience, but I instantly fell in love.

I then received the two-day colour linocut workshop for Christmas 2015. Together, the workshops taught me all the fundamentals. I’ve been pretty obsessed ever since. I have a lot to learn still, but I can see real progress in my work and I just love printing.


What influences your prints?

Most of the ideas start out with the desire to create an image as a gift or greeting card to give to a family member or a friend, or just for personal interest. From the beginning I have particularly enjoyed printing images of nature and book-related images – nature and books are great loves of mine.

Recently I’ve experimented with a print of a local manor house, which was my most challenging and largest linocut to date, but I was very pleased with the outcome and it’s encouraged me to keep trying new things!

Why are birds so important in your prints?

Over the last few years – lefty that I am – I’ve been increasingly feeling like the world is on the edge of a political, environmental and societal crisis, and in direct correlation to this feeling my love of nature has grown.

In an increasingly insane world, observing nature keeps me sane. Nature carries on, I take heart in it buzzing and tweeting around me. In this time, I’ve become more and more interested in birdlife. I’ve been trying to get better at identifying birds and birdsong, and essentially I just think birds are incredible in their behaviours and intelligence.

My favourites are Corvids (Crows, Ravens, Magpies), Owls, and Swallows/Swifts. If you read about the intelligence of a Raven or the flight/sleeping behaviours of a Swift, you can’t fail to be amazed! It’s become a bit of a running joke with some of my friends that I have some kind of condition where I can only linocut birds. I have linocut other things!


You have a very nice minimalist approach to using ink, why do you think this is? There’s never too much on the page…

That’s an interesting observation. Partly I think it’s because creating clear prints is very important to me, but partly I think it’s because I seem to have a bit of a hang-up believing that starting with a black background and essentially drawing with the tools to create white lines on the background is kind of cheating – I think this might be linocutboy’s fault!

I sometimes wish I could work larger block areas into my designs, but they always come out minimalist and line-y. I guess it’s my unconscious style. Often my prints seem to be one item in the middle of the page, so one of the reasons I was so happy with my latest Country House and Barn Owl print was because it was my first linocut of a large and complex scene which filled the page.

What sort of printing set up do you have?

I’m lucky enough to have a room I can use pretty much solely as a studio – it’s a cellar room but it has a window. I have a table and two desks down there and a cupboard of materials.

I started out printing using a wooden spoon, and then progressed to a Jackson’s Art Supplies 10×8″ lever press, but last birthday my boyfriend (he really has been instrumental in my progress as a printmaker) bought me a Victorian Book Press from eBay. It’s a beautiful cast iron press in perfect condition with its original paint job. It would have been used to bind books the old fashioned way. I’m restricted to A4 prints with it, but that suits me fine. I use Pfeil tools and battleship grey lino and I print using Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink, which is a lovely pigmented ink made of vegetable oil that can be cleaned up without the use of harmful solvents.

What methods do you use to sell your work?

I started selling at the very end of last year as a way to pay for my materials and make my hobby self-sustainable, and because it’s fun and so lovely when somebody wants your artwork enough to part with cash for it.

I started out by selling a few Christmas cards through a local gallery. Since then I have sold work through my Etsy shop and I’ve had a stall at three craft fairs. People often discover my work through my Twitter and Instagram profiles.


What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve had a few weeks off recently to enjoy the summer, but I’ve just started working on my Christmas card designs. So far, I’ve sketched four designs onto pieces of lino. Surprisingly two designs feature birds!

Once I’ve got my Christmas Cards printed, I have many, many other ideas to be getting on with. I have too many ideas and not enough time!

Where can we see your work?

The best place is online on Etsy, Instagram and Twitter. I’d love to have some of my work in a gallery or have my own exhibition some day, but I haven’t been brave enough to go down that path yet. One day…


Steve Shaw: “I wish more people would have a go at creating…”

I really just do printing. After years trying other things – writing, drawing, weaving, running – anything to keep my mind active and all with a pretty low level of success, I’ve settled on the relief printing medium to keep me sane.

Not so for potter, painter, draughtsman and all-round amazing beard wearer Steve Shaw, whose recent ventures into linocut he says, are merely the next step in an ever-evolving artistic journey. Probably by the time you read this he’ll have become a glassblower and a fine jeweller – but I caught him in ‘linocut mode’ – and struck with my questions while the iron was hot…


Hi Steve, can you remember your first impressions of doing linocut?

I’ve only been doing it for about 18 months, so yes! I loved the process straightaway. I’m a potter and the person who taught me pottery was a copper engraver for the ceramic industry. I used to watch him engrave and thought I’d like to do something like that, plus people told me I should have a go. Then I was at the art shop and it seemed everyone was buying lino, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was looking for another medium to try and this was ideal – so different to just painting. I like that it’s such an old technique but I also think you can feel the history in the process.

As a potter I draw on clay vases then graffito it into the clay (scratch in the line drawing). Lino printing has been the nearest medium I’ve found that gives me the same excitement when I’m decorating pottery. I don’t think there’s any part of the process I don’t like, but my favourite is the engraving as it’s so therapeutic. I like the fact you’re not strictly in control of what the finished image will look like – again like pottery when something goes in the kiln. I don’t like to push the medium so I tend to use one colour printing. I want it to look like a print. I want my printing to have a different look than any other medium I use. The effect I’m getting from lino is completely different and unique. I couldn’t get that same feeling or effect using any other medium.


Are you trained at all in the arts?

No. I’ve always loved the arts, be it music or painting or drawing. I had a wonderful teacher at school who introduced me to all manner of arts. I can remember doing scraperboards. I use the same disciplines for my lino printing.

My philosophy for lino and all the mediums I use is to just have a go. I’ve found all I really need is a basic ability to draw, and that can see you through. I wish more people would have a go at creating art. I don’t like the elitist way the arts are sometimes treated. I think everyone should get involved in some way – they just need to find a medium that suits them and believe me, there should be a medium out there for them.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I know it’s a cliché, but everywhere. Music is my main inspiration. I used to paint portraits all the time, especially musicians. The only problem was I could never convey the excitement I felt for the music in the finished portrait.

The answer was to depict the lyrics or the excitement of the song in a single image. I started to paint whatever ideas I had. I found this very rewarding and liberating. I use the same to do my printing. I was really influenced by the punk movement and especially the DIY attitude. When Buzzcocks bought out their Spiral Scratch EP I couldn’t believe the fact they’d done everything themselves down to the sleeve.

DIY fanzines came out at the same time. Using basic printing they created some stunning graphics. They were a great influence for me. Again, it’s that ‘go out and get involved’ attitude – you will be rewarded in so many ways.


Do you get those days when everything goes wrong?

I think every artist has those days. I’ve found especially at work where I’m being paid to create artwork, I have to carry on even when things aren’t going well or not coming together as well as I may want.

Usually you’re told to walk away and come back to it later, but this doesn’t work for me. I find I can often get over it by persevering. You have to find your own methods to get over days like that.

What I would say though is art should be fun – it’s not the end of the world when things go wrong. In fact, I’ve had some happy accidents. Things haven’t gone the way I was thinking but have turned out better. I tend to go with the flow.

How have sales been going?

Really well. In fact, the lino printing has allowed me to get into more art shops, as well as showing and then selling my prints on social media. I also have exhibitions at the gallery where I show my artwork. I’ve got to admit, competitions and exhibitions are not my thing. I really like the process of creating artwork – that’s the thing that keeps me excited about art. I like turning my ideas into images. If someone else likes the result enough to buy it, well that’s just a bonus.


What sort of printing set up do you have?

I really like the results I’m getting with the simplest of tools. I use Essdee handles and blades, Sea white water based block printing ink and mostly easycut lino, although i’ve just acquired some of the canvas backed artist quality lino to try more detailed work. I’ve also just invested in an Xcut Xpress die cutter which I use as a press. This was after being asked to do some lino printed greetings cards – 30 in all. Using the spoon method was really, really tiring (and as i mentioned earlier art should be fun).

I’d thoroughly recommend the Xcut as an economical press. I still use the spoon for the bigger prints. I tend to use Bristol board or card, as I do like the way the ink sits up on top of the card – very tactile.


What are you working on at the moment?

It’s been very busy just lately. I’ve been working on some portraits recently of John Lennon and Ian Curtis. I’ve found lino printing has given the portraits a lot of atmospheric feeling I haven’t been able achieve with painting or drawing. Especially on the Ian Curtis print, I had to resist the urge to tidy the many lines on the face as I would in any other medium. These lines give the portrait an edgy, troubled feel, even though his eyes are closed, also giving a sense of relaxation of someone in the zone. These feelings then compete giving that edge to the whole print. This was one of those happy accidents – the lino printing took over and you can’t ask more from a process than that.

I’ve just started doing screenprinting too, which although a completely different medium demanding differing skills is so enjoyable.

I’ve also recently attended a local festival. I’d already engraved a piece of lino and I got the people who attended to have a go at printing from it. They first had to ink the plate then take a print using the spoon method. It proved very popular, the reaction to lino printing really surprised me. We had to get extra tables to let their prints dry out. I do hope that they go home and have a go at lino printing themselves.

Where can people see your work?

The majority of my artwork is on show at Theartbay Gallery in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, and this includes drawings paintings and lino prints.

My lino prints are available from the Art Department in Hanley. This is an independent art materials shop and gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. I buy all my materials there – it’s such a friendly inspirational shop.

What he said! Steve’s also on twitter as @ShawSteve5 of course. 

The Iron Frog Press: “It’s allowed me to contribute to the advancement of printmaking”

Even now, three or four years into my printing life, I’m still trying to find the right tools for the craft. My baren – the actual thing you press and smooth the paper onto the plate with – leaves a lot to be desired.

I know people use wooden spoons for home printing, but I can’t really get with that, so I use one of those ‘my first baren’ things that’s crude, plastic and will probably break very soon. Plus the angle it requires from my wrist is all wrong.

But other printers I meet have all manner of solutions for the task of actually getting good ink coverage from a handprint, from home presses to rolling pins and more.

A good baren can make all the difference, so I was intrigued by the US company, The Iron Frog Press, and its dedicated quest to bring better ones to the printing community. Formed by husband and wife Sharon and Matt Bagley, the pair make high quality, hand blown glass barens aimed squarely at the printer.

For full disclosure, I don’t own one of these, I just wanted to know more.

Although, my 40th birthday is just round the corner guys…



Hi Matt. before you created the Print Frog, were you both printers?

Sort of. Sharon is a professional photographer but she’s gotten a lot more involved with printmaking as a result of the Print Frog. I jokingly say she’s a printmaker through marriage. Actually, we did meet in the printmaking studio at university. All the photo majors were required to take printmaking and when Sharon took it I was the lab monitor.

I’ve been a printmaker for over 25 years. I studied printmaking at the University of North Texas. After graduation, I worked as a press operator for several years. I ran a Webtron flexographic press. I printed mostly food and chemical labels, but every now and then I got the chance to print my own artwork. In 2008, I started Iron Frog Press to encourage more fine art printing in our Dallas community. The Print Frog was initiated in 2012.

How did the idea come about?

I had a project where I was having difficultly printing an image cut into a twisted cherry block. The only way I could pull a complete impression was using my trusty old wooden drawer pull baren. I was dreading the edition process because I have fairly severe repetitive strain injuries all over my right arm.

In a conversation about my problem, a friend made a crack, “Well, if you knew a glass blower…” I did, and he owed me a favor. I asked him to make one but he made me about 40. They performed way above expectations. We quickly sold out and I never intended to have more made. But printmakers wanted them and I was being asked from people around the globe when they could get a Print Frog.


Was there simply nothing good enough on the market?

Yes. Finding high-performing tools for hand printing was non existent. Most printmakers learned to print with with a wooden spoon. They’re cheap and work well, but are uncomfortable and very inefficient for editioning. Any barens that were available were usually cheap plastic toys. And expensive Japanese ball bearing and traditional Hon barens could be ordered, yet they had limitations too.

So most of my colleagues who seriously hand printed made their own barens or retrofitted household objects like doorknobs, baby food jars, drawer pulls, metal bowls and so on. These all worked, but quickly became tedious and painful for larger or multi-block editions. I used two drawer pulls glued together for over 20 years and now I’m suffering for it. So by the time the Print Frog originated I was well aware that an efficient, comfortable and some what affordable baren was not available.

They’re very beautiful looking things – I assume this was intentional?

No, not at all. I was just being open minded to what the best material for a baren could be. Glass is beautiful, but it posses so many other properties that make it the ideal hand printing tool. It’s smooth, heavy and glides across the paper so easily that a 5-year old can quickly master it. Glass is impervious to all inks, and chemicals and solvents can be easily wiped off.

Our ‘Studio’ models are made of recycled glass and are hand blown. Our ‘Pro’ models are hand-crafted from borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is a much higher quality material and has the added bonus of being heatproof. It’s the perfect tool for encaustic monoprinting. The overall shape harmonised with the wonderful properties of glass, the Print Frog is an outstanding example of Gestalt…


What are the benefits?

I actually get to use the baren of my dreams! I do have a 48”x72” Conrad monoprinting press in the studio. It’s an awesome press for large woodblocks, but I still tend to print most of my color multi block small pieces with the Print Frog. It effortlessly prints on mulberry and kozo type papers, but it can also be used on a variety of substrates such heavy etching paper, vellum, copy paper and transparent silk.

After developing the Print Frog I discovered it was an extremely versatile printmaking tool. As well as printing, I use it in paper-making, for chine-collé, folding heavy paper, tagging paper for registration and anywhere you need an extremely clean weight. Some users have given reports of it working on intaglio and bleed-edge lithography too. Eric E. Coleman, who teaches at Penland School of Crafts, used the Print Frog to help cutout a head-gasket for a VW engine!

It’s been a great way for me to connect with the international printmaking community. Printmaking is an inherently collaborative medium, since there are many steps, completing projects often involve more than one person. Printmakers face many of the same challenges and dilemmas. There’s a fellowship of the medium and printmakers are eager to share ideas, solutions and even artwork.

The Print Frog has allowed me to contribute to the advancement of printmaking. It encourages printmakers to continue their craft, because you can setup a print shop anywhere. Setting up a small low cost home studio or travel print shop is now feasible. Also, due to its versatility, it’s quickly being recognised as an indispensable tool in any print shop.

It’s opened up educational opportunities for me as well. Since the Print Frog is so easy to master and very portable, it makes an ideal tool for teaching printmaking to children. Back in my early career, I never considered being an instructor. But now, in addition to teaching, I’ve developed methods for teaching printmaking to early elementary age kids. I also teach to art instructors these methods. Teaching printmaking to our future printmakers is the most rewarding benefit that I have gotten from the Print Frog.


What sort of range do you offer?

The ‘Pro’ model is made of borosilicate glass which is the same glass that cookware and scientific equipment is made of. It can be crafted precisely to fit ideal design specs. They’re handmade and vary a little bit in size and shape, but artists vary too. It has an extremely comfortable handle that’s stout and allows for a neutral hand position. I can easily print a hundred impressions in one day with almost no RSI aggravation. The ‘Pro’ model is our highest quality baren, at $130.

Then there’s the ‘Studio’ model in clear/turquoise which is hand blown out of recycled glass and varies more in size, shape and coloor. It performs almost as good as the ‘Pro’ but costs $85. Finally, there’s the ‘Studio’ model in Cobalt which is the same as the other “Studio” model, but is a deep blue and have the Print Frog logo stamped on the handle, which is $80.


Where can people buy them?

You can get them from our store section on our website and we also have an Etsy store.

We ship most places in the world and if your country is not on our list we will gladly add it. But the most enjoyable way we like to sell is at printmaking events. People can come by our booth or demos and actually try it for themselves. We’re looking into attending some printmaking events in the UK soon.

Also, be sure to check out our social media pages for more updates, videos and other fun stuff. We’re on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

Jonathan Costall: “For my sins, I did spend a long time at art school…”

Claudio Ranieri by Jonathan Costall

I can’t do faces. I’ve never been able to get a likeness of anyone that looks anything like them, or anybody. They go all Picasso.

Plus, being only mildly accomplished at printing – any attempt at trying to render someone’s likeness in this most tricky of artforms leaves me punching tables and throwing cats out the window.

So, when I stumble across someone who can actually do portraits in print, I flip out. As happened with the work of Leicester’s Jonathan Costall, who most definitely can. I asked him the usual questions with a vague hope that some of his skills might rub off on me.

As yet, they have not…


Hi Jonathan – can you remember your first impressions of doing linocut?

I can’t exactly remember the first linocut I printed. I’m pretty sure it was on a Foundation Art and Design course at De Montfort University – Kevin Holdaway must’ve been involved!

Are you trained at all in the arts?

For my sins, I did spend a long time at art school. I completed my Foundation and degree in Fine Art and then went onto do an MA in Printmaking at Wimbledon School of Art part time over two years, graduating in 2005.

Whilst studying my Ba I was more interested in screenprinting and for my MA I did more computer-based work. At the time it felt like a natural progression, I was interested in how new technology could be used in printmaking. So my traditional skills were left by the wayside for a while.

The most time spent focused on linocut in my degree was during an exchange to Holland in my second year. I was lucky enough to work with an excellent printer called Gustaf who taught me so much about printmaking. The way they teach art in Holland is different to England. They’re a lot more student-focused so it’s up to you to arrange your own tutorials in the skills you want to learn. This allowed me to receive lots of one-to-one tuition on printmaking whilst I was there. I think it was really the making of me as a printmaker.

I currently work as an Art Technician in a secondary school. I’m lucky to work in with some great people that have made good use of my skill set. In Year 7 all students do some printmaking (monoprint and screen printing), and they seem to enjoy it. Generally I find passing on some of the things I have learnt over the years about printing to be quite rewarding.

Gray by Jonathan Costall2

What currently influences your work?

Portraiture is the current focus of my work, which is something I’ve not really delved into before. For this body of work, I draw my influences from a wide variety of artists and mediums. I especially love the exuberant nature of German Expressionism printmaking, there are excellent examples in the permanent collect of their work at the Leicester New Walk Museum which has been a great resource for me.

I’m also a big fan of David Bull’s Youtube channel – he really knows his stuff when it comes to Japanese woodblock printmaking. He moved to Japan 30 years ago and has dedicated his life to the craft. I recommend watching his channel to any printmaker.

I also like the black and white photography of Daido Moriyama and Ed van der Elsken, there’s something so raw about the photographs they take, they have so much moody energy. That’s something which I try to capture in my work. 


Your portraits are so striking – how do you get them so accurate?

I’ve got some fine carving tools which help me to get the detailed line work looking sharp. For me the line work is what holds the image together, because my mark making is quite expressive. It’s important to make sure it’s accurate.

I transfer the image to the block using tracing paper because I think it’s the best way to capture all the fine details. I then go over the tracing on the block in ball point pen and make any corrections. So, by the time I start cutting I’ve drawn and redrawn the image a couple of times already, so I think that is what makes the drawing accurate. Basically, practice and repetition.­

  Do you get those days when everything goes wrong?

Yes – the inking up goes wrong, or there’s uneven pressure because I’m burnishing using a spoon. But I try to embrace the finished print. It doesn’t always have to perfect. Like every other printmaker, I’m still trying to find the best ink, best paper, best roller – it’s an ongoing process.

How have sales been going?

Very, very slow so far. I feel a bit like a band which has critical acclaim but doesn’t sell many albums. I think I need to be a bit more proactive in approaching galleries/craft shops about stocking my work. I’ve only really started making work again just over a year ago now after a long break (I have two sons under the age of five who keep me busy!), so maybe it takes a while to get your name out there?

What’s your experience been of entering competitions?

So far I’ve been pretty lucky with open exhibitions that I’ve entered. My work was selected for the Midlands Printmaking Open in Nottingham last year and won two prizes. One of the prizes was to design a front cover for the LeftLion Magazine which is distributed all over Nottingham.  I recently entered the Leicester Open and won a prize there as well from the Leicester Print Workshop for best print.

I do also enter competitions – mostly newsletters from arts organisations, I subscribe to as many as possible. Creative Leicestershire is a good one for me which is run by the local arts council. Curator Space is a good nation newsletter and website. Apart from that Twitter is also another resource for finding exhibition opportunities.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 09.00.46

Do you always work in single colour?

When I did the front cover of the LeftLion Magazine I added colour to my black and white print in Photoshop. I felt it just needed some colour to give it a bit more depth.

I think there’s something classic about black and white. I don’t feel like I need to add any extra colour at the moment. I like to think my work is always evolving so I wouldn’t rule it out in the future.

What sort of printing set up do you have?

It’s pretty low tech, mostly I work at home on the kitchen table and burnish the prints by hand (which is a big reason I mostly work in a single colour). I’ve recently got a large gel roller, that’s really made life a lot easier when inking up.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve started work on a print of Esteban Cambiasso. But I think long term I would like to start taking my own photos of people to make prints of.

Hey guys – Jonathan is here on Etsy, is on instagram as @ateliercostall and his website is here.

Mute Neighbor: “My process is a collection of bad habits, short-cuts and improper practices”

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 09.36.29

America’s John Sant, working under his excellent moniker Mute Neighbor, is, he admits – just starting out in linocut. But the work he’s produced so far has been quite frankly amazing, with a dark, partially death-obsessed worldview that flies in the face of the occasionally pressed flowers/waves and sea crafty image of the medium.

Which I naturally love.

So I asked him about his art, and also learnt about his use of a printing device which he says has been a godsend – the Xcut Xpress – the very same one I’ve just purchased. Great minds and all that….

Hi there John, can you remember your first impressions of linocut?

My immediate impression when I first began carving was a combination of excitement that I could literally print anything I wanted mixed with surprise at how difficult it was. I’d accidentally picked a tough type of lino to start with and only had an old Speedball gouge set, plus I hadn’t really figured out the proper angles to carve at so my hands were exhausted an hour in.

Are you trained at all in the arts/do work in them?

Not at all. I’ve been a product designer for the last ten years, but my degree is in English. Everything I’ve done creatively has gone down the self-taught route, which I’m pretty sure means my process is a collection of bad habits, short-cuts and improper practices!”

What’s currently influencing your work?

The complete shitshow in the US right now absolutely is, although I never do anything specifically political. I tend to let news and articles I run across influence what I’m going to work on. The Genie Wiley print came about after I saw a small documentary on her and read her story – a year later I still couldn’t shake it so I decided to make a print as a way of processing.


Do you get those days when everything goes wrong with a print?

Absolutely. I’ve got my studio all prepared to do a print run and under ink on the first pass. No matter what I do, the next one is oversaturated so detail is lost… wash off the block, start from scratch, go to print another one and promptly move the paper as I’m laying it on the block. I definitely have those days.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 09.41.05

How have sales been going for you? I know some people struggle with it, myself included, but it looks like you have a good grasp of it…

Pretty sparse, but that’s to be expected – I’ve been at this for such a relatively short period of time. When I first started carving, I didn’t have any real expectations or goals beyond learning as much as possible and pushing myself to try images and compositions that challenge me technically and visually.

Etsy sales come in every so often, but right now I’m pretty thrilled when an artist whose work I’ve followed for years likes an image I post on Instagram. I very much feel obligated to pay my dues and put in my time before sales become important.

Do you do fairs/stalls, etc?

Nah, not yet. I don’t want to be the guy at a fair with 12 prints to my name and not much else.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 09.40.51

Do you always work in single colour?

I’ve been restricting myself to one, simply because I’m a little over a year into block printing. I feel like mastering that alone is such a challenge and there’s so much that can be done with basic black and white in terms of mood and effect that I’m pretty content to stay there for the moment.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 09.37.55

What sort of printing set up do you have?

I use Flexcut carving tools and basic battleship grey lino. I run the blocks through an Xcut Xpress which works like a dream. Nick Morley ran a post on Instagram about trying one out and documented his successes. Obviously getting a bigger press to be able to do large-scale prints would be nice, but there’s always hand burnishing for that.


The Xcut Xpress

What are you working on at the moment?

When I was researching the last print I did I ran across the story of the Münster Rebellion and got a few ideas that I’ve been putting together for a new print. I’m also putting together sketches for a piece based on Philip K Dick’s novel, Ubik.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 09.40.16

You know the drill – Instagram and Etsy – go go go…

Melanie Wickham: “Everything influences my work…”


I usually just print on boring old paper, and often in a way I find unsatisfactory. I’m also not 100% brilliant at marketing myself (stop laughing at the back there!), so when I stumbled across the playful, life-affirming work of Melanie Wickham, and more importantly saw how she could flutter between working on textiles to homewares and also use things like pop-up shops to get her work out there, I was fascinated.

So you know what happened next. I dropped her a line to ask her all about her business and her art. I think you’ll see she’s proof the two can co-exist happily…


Watcha Melanie. Can you remember your first impressions of doing linocut? 

I remember using paper stencils to screenprint lobsters at school, and surely did some lino printing too, but the first  lino prints I actually remember making weren’t until college when I made images for Mrs Beetleton’s Cookbook – all made-up by me insect recipes… grasshopper curry, mixed insect salad – it was great fun cutting out the images…

Are you trained at all in the arts or do work in them?

I did a degree in illustration and had just about discovered printmaking properly when it was time to leave. The most affordable method of printmaking for an impoverished ex-student with no studio was lino printing, so I started carving.


What’s currently influencing your work? 

Everything. I draw in sketchbooks all the time. Sometimes it’s to work out specific images – for instance for a commission, but the rest of the time it is just a stream of doodling which incorporates words from the radio, passers by, the back of my mind – who knows where.

Plus bits of images from whatever is around me, or repetitive drawing of something, a cat or a crow… sometimes the drawing is stylised and sometimes realistic and sometimes I really don’t like it because it’s my doodle shorthand, which is like having really bad handwriting and I don’t want anyone else to see it.

There’s a real sense of animal fun to your work – where did this come from?

I love drawing animals and grew up on a smallholding so have always lived amongst them. I think all my images amuse me in some way as I make them, so I’m just entertaining myself through the medium of crows and otters.


Do you get those days when everything goes wrong with a print?  

Of course, chopping through something important on a block at the last moment of carving, ink that has gone all funny and won’t make a proper print happen that day, it’s too hot, too cold, or wearing a really hairy jumper and finding little red bits of wool stuck to all the prints on closer inspection…

How did you come to print on textile as well as prints?  

That’s the good thing about lino, you can print on loads of things. Want fancy bedroom curtains? Print some. It’s great and totally different from printing an edition of lino prints on lovely paper as perfectly as you can. The fabric does its own thing and what works isn’t the same as with paper, so it’s a good challenge to mix it up bit. I’ve been printing on glass too which is fun but it looks terrible at the moment – haven’t mastered it yet!


How have sales been going for you? It looks like you have a good grasp of it…   

I’ve been really lucky with some lovely galleries and have had work in some of them since last century, as well as lots of more recent ones. The work I was sending out to begin with was terrible, but they have put up with it and worked really hard selling my prints over the years giving me great advice, so hopefully I’ve taken it onboard and upped my printing game. I think all you can do is keep making the work you want to make as well as you can and hope you find your spot. I’ve also had lots of returning customers which is amazing. And I haven’t done all of the animals yet.


Do you do fairs or have stalls?

Sometimes – I loved doing the print fair at the Hepworth, Wakefield and Print Stuff in York and a few other Bristol ones, but I find selling through art and craft galleries works best for me. I have had a couple of really good pop-up shops too though.

What sort of printing set up do you have?  

Just a table, a roller, a big sheet of glass and a very muscly right arm. I burnish my prints by hand, with a boxwood burnishing tool which I got from a print suppliers years ago, but now terrifyingly no one stocks them anymore. When mine is worn out I shall have to give up printmaking – no, really…

Where do you get your cool wooden frames from?

A lot of my frames were made by a friend who has given up framing, also a great framers on Bristol Docks who put up with my disorganised, last minute framing requests.


What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve got a really big piece of lino and want to do a massive flock of birds. I imagine it will take me a month or so between other things to carve it out. Otherwise my sketchbooks are filled with ridiculous ideas, which need constant filtering because they rarely seem like good ideas the next day. Luckily a few make it through.


Huzzah! Melanie has a Folksy page, and you can also follow her blog HERE


Mexile: “Patience is the hardest thing to learn in printmaking…”


I’ve always admired people who can chuck it all in and move from place to place, to travel, see what happens – and I’ve also always been a fan of A Tribe Called Quest.

Bear with me.

So imagine my joy when I discovered the prints of ex-pat Warren Crawford, trading as Mexile and now based in Mexico City, who has made some of the most arresting portrait linocuts of hip-hop stars (and more) that I’ve seen.

An accomplished designer and writer, he explains in this interview how he has an open minded view of travel – but a steadfast determination when it comes to the arts. Lino is his obsession at the moment, and thankfully it shows no signs of abating, so his answers are some of the most involved I’ve ever received. See what you think…


Hi Warren – can you remember your first impressions of linocut?

At secondary school in Hutton, Lancashire, I was in the art block in every free moment. I’ve always been attracted to the arts and was never without a paperback and a pencil in my pocket… a habit I carry with me in my 40s.

I was lucky enough to have great teachers who influenced me greatly in those formative years. I still owe one of them a novel. I was an atheist even as a child, so was given special dispensation to escape RE classes and spend that time drawing. My best friend was my biggest competitor, and we’ve recently got back in touch – he’s still drawing and writing, too.

I can recall doing linocut in the first or second year but, unfortunately, we didn’t go into any depth with it. We touched on it all very briefly. All I remember are the bleeding fingers of a few friends who didn’t listen to the teacher.

Are you trained at all in the arts?

I’m a web designer and have worked freelance for a large number of agencies. I studied Interior and Graphic Design at University in the late 80s and early 90s, but was kicked out as I happily went off the rails during the Acid House years in the North West.

I did a part time Graphic Design degree in Manchester after moving to Leeds with my girlfriend. She was a fashion designer and, seeing her working at home when I came home after a dusty day as a van driver made me think about the opportunity I’d squandered. When I popped in to see the head of Interior Design, Joan Campion, on my way to the interview she said “Oh, you’re back, then?” I’ll be forever grateful to my boss at Parceline in Leeds too, who gave me a day off a week to go back to Uni. I count myself lucky.

My first two friends in Mexico work in animation. One of their colleagues went and did a linocut course. I saw his work online and asked where he’d done it? I went and did the same weekend course at Zoveck studios, was hooked, and started looking for somewhere to continue my education. After a lapse of a few months, I went to meet Humberto Valdez at his studio in Tlalpan, an hour and 22 Metrobús stations away from where I live.  It’s a trek. But he said I was welcome to come and print, and I’ve been there ever since.

What’s influencing your work these days?

I’m influenced by anything and everything. As a designer, you never switch off, you notice the details in all you see. You listen to everything, too – sound and music influence me. I DJ and make electronic music (though I gave that up years ago) and am walking around with tracks playing in my head constantly. Music is a constant companion when I’m drawing or carving lino.

Lino and woodcut artists who inspire me are the great Leopoldo Mendez, and contemporary artists Humberto Valdez and Irving Herrera. I work with Valdez, and have several of Herrera’s pieces on my walls. It’s their portraits that got me hooked on this. Neil Shigley’s portraits of the homeless are stunning. I love his process.

As far as other artist influences – Klimt for his portraits and themes, Egon Schiele for his drawings, Jenny Saville for her interpretation of the human form, Degas for the light. I love Terrick Williams, too.


How did you end up in Mexico?

I visited Barcelona a lot in the early part of the last decade, and felt at home. In 2008 I set off on a world trip, disillusioned with life in London. I intended to learn Spanish and move to Spain. But, after a few further trips in South and Central America, where I also became a diving instructor, I met two Mexicans in El Salvador who showed me their capital on my second stay in Mexico. Mexico City grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go. Six years later, I’m still here. I owe the country, and those two friends, a lot. But Spain is on the cards in the next few years. Maybe Valencia. But you never know… a lot can happen in a year, and I hear that Salma Hayek is single again…

There’s a good print heritage there…

There’s a huge tradition of print in Mexico. Posada, Leopoldo Méndez, Pablo O’Higgins etc. The centres seem to be Oaxaca, Zacatecas and México DF. There is a huge rivalry between the two former states; sometimes bitter, depending on which artist you talk to and how many drinks they’ve had.

Do you get days when everything goes wrong with a print?

Not so much in the printing part, but sometimes in the carving phase. I’m learning to make subtler marks and improve my midtones. My earlier prints could look a bit flat when I’d put too much light across the design. I’ve learned to change things and make decisions based on the best contrast for the design: not necessarily being faithful to a photograph.

The worst thing that has happened so far was during a month I stayed at La Ceiba, a print studio in a beautiful old Hacienda near Coatepec, Veracruz. I was working on an A3 two-colour reduction print of a local woman. Using two needles on bolsa wood sticks and registration holes, I was working on the second colour when I realised that I’d cut away the top registration point after printing the first colour. It was 4am and I’d foolishly continued working despite being exhausted after starting at 8am. I guessed to within millimetres of where it had been, but only one print of twelve came out perfect. I almost wept with frustration. I’d also made an error in using damp paper for the first colour, so it was harder to align it again for the second. It was a painful lesson, but that print taught me a lot about preparation and patience. I think patience is the hardest thing to learn in printmaking.


I think your prints of faces are some of your most arresting – how do you get them so lifelike, yet fun?

I usually take a photograph and adjust it in Photoshop – high contrast, posterise etc. Then I’ll print that and transfer it to the lino using thinner and the printing press. You get a rough image on there as a guide. It’s not perfect, but helps me with proportion. I’m trying to I prove my portrait skills with life drawing classes and exercises such as 50 drawings in four hours. And the Andrew Loomis books are fantastic. It feels like cheating to use a transfer but, while I’m improving my skills as a draughtsman, I want to focus on the marks I make as far as linocut goes. Even Humberto Valdez uses a projector when marking out his designs, so I don’t feel too bad.

How have sales been going for you? I know some people struggle with it, myself included, but do you have a good grasp of it?

I wish! It’s been very slow. I found Etsy to be a waste of time. Artfinder and Saatchiare are supposed to be better. I was told I was selling my work too cheaply in the beginning. It’s that bizarre conundrum of if something is too cheap then people won’t think it’s art. Maybe I should stick a couple of zeros on the end of each price. A lot of it is just as much luck and exposure as it is talent – I’ve seen plenty of exhibitions of selling artists here and thought, really?

I’ve sold to friends and their acquaintances in the main. And one restaurant I go to a lot gave me credit at their place for a print, so I was paid in fish tacos and ceviche. But you can live on that, no?

Money doesn’t motivate me at all. If I could have a tiny house near the sea, and a garden studio, surviving on print sales, that would do for me. What does motivate me is people hanging something I’ve done on their wall, and appreciating it. And wondering where one of my prints might hang in a hundred years, when someone buys it in a flea market in Amsterdam, or takes it home after clearing the house of an old Mexican who has no living relatives. That fascinates me.

What sort of printing set up do you have?

I draw and carve at home, where the light is good on my small terrace. It’s sunny until 4pm at this time of year, and then the heavens open. So mid afternoon I head off to the workshop in Tlalpan, south of the city. There are two presses there, one of them huge.

Do you always work in single colours?

At the moment, yes. I like the stark look of a single colour. But with multicolour prints, you can get away with less detail. It’s something I’ll move on to. There are lots of things that can go wrong, as happened in Veracruz. And it scares me, especially on a reduction print.

But the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given in my design career is that “It’s good to be scared.” So I’ll jump in at some point. Just dipping my toe in the water right now. The second best bit of advice was “You’re only as good as your last piece of work.” I’m improving with each print and, as long as you learn from each piece of work, it’s a success.

I’m very self-critical, and immediately see things I would do differently if I could Ctrl Z on a linocut. But you can’t, so I learn and move on. And we mainly see these faults as we created the work. Others just appreciate the whole. Learn, improve and move on.


What are you working on at the moment?

The human face fascinates me, so I think I’ll always do portraiture. Sometimes I can drift out of a conversation with friends in a dimly lit bar because I’m looking at how light creates the form of the face, how shadows change with movement, and I’m studying details of their faces without listening to what they’re saying. But they’re used to being examined by now.

I’ve been doing a few portraits of hip hop artists. I grew up with that music, Electro and Kraftwerk. But they don’t seem to be selling. I want to find a commercial niche to supplement the stuff I want to do for myself.

I have a few female friends who want me to work on nudes with them, and one of them has a yoga studio where we can set up lights to get some strong contrast. I think images of these may sell better than Flavor Flav and Big Daddy Kane….

I enjoy making portraits of older people too. The lines and stories in their faces transfix me. I’m working on a whole series of them, looking around for subjects at the moment. It’s part of a bigger project I have in mind as a parting gift to Mexico, should I decide to move on next year. I feel that I owe this country a lot. She’s changed my life – taken me away from digital and back into art, made me some solid friends and helped me become bilingual. It would be nice to leave a legacy, however small. The project is under wraps right now, I don’t want to give too much away. But it will take the best part of a year, so I’d better get cracking…


Warren sells his wares at Artfinder and he’s of course on twitter here – Go buy!

Paul Cleden: “I’m constantly looking at other work to get inspiration.”

lympic swimmers

Olympic Swimmers

Paul Cleden’s linocuts fizz with life. They virtually whizz past you off the page.

The colours are bold, and the shapes bolder still, while their subjects of travel, sport and general good fun suit his approach to the artform perfectly I reckon.

Clearly influenced by the vorticist movement, but also some subtler, perhaps more traditional print artists, I approached him for an insight into how he makes his work so dazzlingly eye-grabbing.

Migraine tablets not required….


Watcha Paul. Can you remember your first impressions of doing linocut?

Very much. In fact, I still have my very first linocut, produced when was 17. I was lucky enough to have a teacher for a couple of terms who was a printmaker, and got to explore a whole range of techniques.

I think his excitement stayed with me and when I got to printmaking again at college I was excited to explore it. I found the spontaneity of printing really thrilling, the fact some of the results are a surprise is always good. I think it keeps things fresh, slightly out of control.



Are you trained at all in the arts – I know you’re an illustrator?

Doing a degree in illustration meant I tried many ways of working. I did do an awful lot of collage after college while I was a freelance illustrator but I’ve always returned to printing. I suppose I enjoy any form of art really – there are just not enough hours in the day to do all I’d like to.

You mention Edward Bawden as an influence, and I can see that in your prints, but what else influences your work?

Bawden’s work is always inspiring. If I feel a bit lost with a print, a cup of tea with a book of Bawden’s prints will always help. I’m constantly looking at other work to get inspiration. I think it’s good practice to learn and develop, the awe of seeing a beautiful print, trying to see how they made a particular tone or shape keeps me on my toes.

I recently saw the work of Pine Feroda, which blew me away with the scale and compositions. I must also mention the work of the Grosvenor School – Lill Tschudi, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews. I still remember the first time that saw their work, it was as if someone else was working in the same way as me.

I think as an artist you’re by nature a visual person, so I take inspiration for so many things, living in Dorset I get to enjoy the spectacular landscape and all that offers, even though my work tends to be focused on crowds, and often in city locations.

the wiz

The Wiz

What first drew me to your prints was the movement in them. Do you have a lot of trial and error/sketchbook work?

Lots. The process takes me through many different stages. I’ll start with ether drawing, or a glimmer of an idea in my sketchbook. I like to get good references for the ideas and if at all possible draw from life, and then I’ll draw and redraw things.

The tension is between refining things so they work as a composition and overworking so the image becomes stale. I have a pile of ideas I work on for a while then leave for years sometimes, so I probably have 40 or 50 ideas for prints that might get realised at some point.

Although then an idea will arrive almost fully formed, such as the image for Peloton. My first drawing is almost the same as the final image. Once I decide to finish a print I then draw it to scale and decide on the colours. Again, I’ll often have a dozen or so colour variations I could use.

esc talk

Escalator Talk

Do you get those days when everything goes wrong with a print?

Totally. I have a graveyard of designs that never got much further than sketchbooks, although there is still perhaps potential. Being a printmaker is very varied, with all these new thoughts and ideas rushing round. So if I have a day like that I tend to pick up a different idea and have a play with that instead, and if all else fails, go for a walk.

olm velo cycling

Olympic Velodrome Cycling

What sort of printing set up do you have?

I have a studio with two presses, a small nipping press and a giant nipping press. We moved house recently and these were perfect for my previous smaller room, but actually they’re very good for what I need. I’m planning to introduce a bit of photo silkscreen into my work soon so that’s an area which will emerge at some point in my set up.

skiiers II

Skiiers II

What inspires your colour choice, it’s very distinctive…

That’s an interesting question. During the planning I explore many different options, but I have to consider the overlapping and the extra colour they can produce. You might notice I love blue, so normally I start there and move away into other options. At the moment I’m exploring some interesting use of extender to create far more subtle washes of colour, so keep an eye out for this in my next few prints.

Lots of your prints are sold out – did this success rate come easy?

Success is very subjective – if I knew why one print sold well and another didn’t they would all be sold out! I exhibit in galleries across the UK and online, and take part in as many exhibitions as I can. Having a number of other uses for my work also broadens the places it turns up. I’ve done book covers, silk scarves, cards an dmore, this means that I exhibit quite widely.

bumper cars

Bumper Cars

What are you working on at the moment?

Many things! I always have about ten things on the boil at any one time. I’m exploring ways to use ink and how to add more texture to designs. I have an exciting idea with some 3D prints, work commissioned for galleries, along with my own ideas. I actually find the hardest thing in choosing which image to start next.


For more on Paul and to buy prints, visit his site here. He’s also on twitter of course, right here.


hard at it…

Kevin Holdaway: “My work resonates beyond the barrier of the frame”

flat iron in shadow

Flat Iron in Shade

Make no mistake, Kevin Holdaway, a linocutter/printmaker who’s been senior technical instructor at DeMontfort University in Leicester since 1990, knows his way around a reduction print.

He’s also had some unusual brushes with other aspects of the print world, and the wider art world, including dalliances with the Fluxus movement and Concrete Poetry. But it’s his reduction linocuts that I adore.


And how could you not? These almost photo-real depictions of beautiful buildings and features are the kind of prints that – after you’ve got back up off the floor from fainting over the accuracy of Kevin’s technique – make you double and treble take. How has he done that??

Some of these prints have 26 layers for goodness sake. The man is TALENT.

albert bridge

Albert Bridge

So yes, I pestered him for some responses…


Hi Kevin. When did you start linocutting?

I suppose the first time I thought about it was when I was a student at Leicester Polytechnic in the late 1980s. I participated on a short week-long course with an artist called Elaine Kowolski. I was late for her first lesson having been delayed in the café from an overrun art history lecture, and she lambasted me and said I’d have to catch up in my own time. Which I did, just to prove her wrong…

Did you have any formal training?

That was a Fine Art degree, and it was actually taught by two great printmakers, Roy Bizley and Mike Hale.

Who are your printing influences?

My influences are from my environment. I think Picasso’s linocuts from the 1950s are great – but the lazy git didn’t bother to reverse his dates so they’re all back to front! I always tell my students what an amateur he was. Personally though, my influences are my experiences of the world and reactions to it.



What does your role at De Montfort entail exactly?

I’m the chief technician and traditional printmaking instructor. I cover all the aspects of traditional fine art print apart from lithography. I can do stone lithography and have taught it but the powers that be have devised a facility that tends not to lend itself to long-term techniques.

I dismantled the litho press many years ago and instead of throwing it away it sits in my studio at home, along with the 200 litho stones I saved. You don’t know anyone who might want the odd stone do you?

What kind of people do you teach – is it varied?

At work it ranges from foundation students, fine art, design crafts, graphics and illustration and all the other courses we deal with. Fashion textiles, contour, knitwear architecture and so on. Basically, any student that wants to know anything about print can arrange for it to happen.

When I teach privately around the country it can be anyone from beginners to masters. I’ve had all types of people – some want to learn from me and my work process.

How did you come to work with Alison Knowles?

We had a lecturer called Nicholas Zurbrugg who worked in humanities and he had contacts all over the world. He’d bring in artists for symposiums and brief week-long schedules, and he organised a series of works to be made with me, the master printer, over a couple of the days while they were here.


Kevin with Alison

I met Alison and we made the October Suite in 1998 as part of her celebration of being at the university.

I also worked with concrete poet Edwin Morgan and sound artist Henri Chopin.


Edwin Morgan poem screenprint

What’s been your experience of working to commission?

It is a challenge, to be honest, as the work I make is really my experience of the environment and I prefer to have the decision made by me as to what I print. If I get a chance I’d actually go to a place and correlate and compose photos and drawings to get my own feeling for it before I start.

How do you go about preparing for an exhibition?

My last show was the Lino King in 2015 at Stockport Art gallery. It was a retrospective journey of my work from 1987 to the present day, up to that point. You could say it took me 28 years to get that show ready.

But on a more serious note it’s important that the work deals with the space sympathetically, and you need to balance all the hanging opportunities with care or you’ll end up losing exposure to some work. The space around a piece of work is important and I know that my work resonates beyond the barrier of the frame so it needs more space.

st martins

The process page on your site is brilliant, and so informative – why did you go to such lengths to set this up?

People look at my work – and any work to be honest – and have an idea of what they’re looking at, process wise. Often people think my work is produced either by another process or even photographically.

So I’ve spelt it out to make sure they understand the process perfectly and to educate them not to have a stereotypical view of what they look at. If I can make someone stop and relook at something and say, oh my god, I didn’t realise that you could do that, then I’ve done my job. I want people to engage with their environment and take more note of what they see and realise what the potential is.

What are you working on right now?

I’m continuing to enjoy making work based on my environment. I look back at my early work from the 90s and wonder how I’ve progressed, but at the time I thought it was brilliant. It was, I suppose, but I look forward to the next 30 years and wait with anticipation on how my work will evolve and develop further.



Anything else you’d like to mention?

Enthusiasm and love for your medium is important. If you hate doing something then change it. Enthusiasm is infectious….

Kevin’s website is here, and he is on twitter here. All hail!