We are very pleased to present to our blog readers a NEW series- printmaker Q&A. This series will feature a question and answer session with contemporary artists, where we will ask questions about their life, printing process, and artistic inspirations and aspirations. Our first printmaker Q&A is with monotype and woodcut artist Susan Goldman. A professor at GMU, Master Printer at Navigation Press, and Artistic director and Owner of Lily Press, in Rockville, MD, Susan’s creative energy seems to have no limit. She was gracious enough to lead our first printmaking demo, with the help of some GMU printmaking students, last week and is about to open a new one-person show at OPG, entitled Vernal Matrix: Prima Materia on April 15. Enjoy and feel free to post questions or comments of your own at the bottom of the post.
OPG: When did you start printmaking and what was your first print of?
SG: I made my first woodcut in high school. The image was of a crane. But I seriously began the study of printmaking as a junior at Indiana University, Bloomington. I took an Intro to Printmaking class in 1978, and as they say the rest is history! My first intaglio was of a bowl of radishes, my first litho was of a reclining nude, and my first screenprint was a picture of cattle collar bones. I studied with Rudy Pozzatti, Marvin Lowe and Wendy Calman at Indiana University’s renowned print department.
OPG: Where do you get your day-to-day inspiration?
SG: I get my inspiration from quiet moments, meditations and dreams. I get my day to day inspiration from traveling, hearing music, reading books, seeing colors in the world that appear in nature, or that I might peripherally absorb, when I am walking, exercising, teaching, feeling moods, interacting with family and friends. Just being aware, daily of being in the moment, and trying to pay attention to my intuition and how I feel, that is what really informs my work. I love beauty, mystery, patterns, colors, symbols ancient and new, how they appear and reappear in different contexts, and in the conversations I may be having. Being aware that what I am saying and doing, has many levels of meaning.
OPG: What are the 3 tools in your studio you couldn’t live without?
SG: In my studio the three tools I could not live without are my extraordinary French Tool American Press, my favorite Takach litho roller and my giant mirrored inking glass palette!
OPG: Time management is important for any creative professional. How do you keep yourself organized and productive?
SG: I think over time I have created a successful pattern of organization and time management. I have always been motivated to work, and to make time protected for me and my studio. I have a busy life, what with being a parent, professional artist and teacher. But I have followed my passion to do what I love, and I know that all this requires a natural discipline, which is just a part of being a productive human being.
I also find that marching to the heart and beat of your own drummer is essential. I don’t compare myself to how others work at this point in my development. We are all unique and we all need to honor our process. Like a swimmer in a competitive race, you need to concentrate on your own rhythm, if you are too worried about what the people right next to you are doing, you will impede your pace. I believe that one just has to keep going, no matter the obstacles, and that is the important key for me regarding organization and scheduling time to work. As a parent, there is always something that will interrupt my intentions to stick to the proverbial schedule… so being flexible and just always making an effort to find the time, that is how I manage it. I also believe in resting and listening to my body and my heart, and that informs my management of time and my productivity.
OPG: A professional artist, a teacher at GMU, owner of Lily Press- your creative talent has obviously been well applied. What do you hope to tackle next?
SG: Well, I hope to keep making new and wonderful beautiful prints! I have several upcoming exhibition commitments. I am very excited about my new flower and amphora series, which will be on exhibit at the Old Print Gallery beginning April 15. I plan also to be working with some new and wonderful artists this summer at my studio Lily Press, and to embark on developing new and exciting print publications. Another significant goal is to complete my documentary project, Midwest Matrix (www.midwestmatrix.info,) about the history of printmaking in the Midwest after WWII. I have been working on this project since 2005 and I have collected interviews of illustrious printmakers, 90 years, 80, 70 and up to younger artists and students, and I need to compete the editing of this video. It will be a significant contribution to the history of printmaking and it needs to be completed! I suppose the words new and exciting keeps appearing in this questionnaire, so it is obvious, I am excited about all the new projects that I have before me!
OPG: Finish this sentence: When I’m printing, I feel __________________.
SG: When I’m printing, I feel the world may be going to hell, and I am printing yellow! When I am printing I feel good.