Sculptural shadows, incomplete shapes and the evidence of the artist's hand are all prominent features of Abi Neate Wilson's work. A painter and print-maker from the Glasgow School of Art, Abi is also a staff artist at our Glasgow shop, and one with a bright future at that.
With our START campaign underway, we wanted to explore Abi's print-making practice and ask her top tips on the medium and materials she prefers for screen-printing. And remember, all our staff are artists, so if you have a specific question or creative query - they're there to help!
Hi Abi! Can you tell me a bit about your print-making practice?
My recent work has explored the conflict between utopian and dystopian visions of the environment, focusing on aspects of decay or ruin. I reference a lot from science fiction: SF narratives are often based in speculative futures, and I am interested in how these fictional worlds can influence our actual experience. I work a lot with photography, digital and analogue, and manipulate my photographs through various printmaking processes. I primarily work in screen-printing, but I also use intaglio and have recently used laser engraving technology. I also make the odd book.
What did you learn from art school?
I graduated from the Painting and Printmaking BA course at the Glasgow School of Art in 2013. I also studied abroad at the Pratt Institute in New York for six months during my third year.
The structure of modern art schools means that you are pretty much left to your own devices. You alone have to work out what you're interested in, and decide how to communicate your ideas through visual (or other) media. Tutors are there to help, and workshops provide the means, but most of the teaching is self-generated or at least aided by peers. Some may argue that this does not equate to an 'education' at all – and there is definitely weight to this argument – however, for me, this experience taught me how to think for myself which, as an artist, is perhaps the most valuable lesson you can learn.
What is it about print-making that you prefer over other mediums?
As I work a lot with photography, print-making allows me to directly manipulate the image I have taken. I also enjoy the technicality of print-making. Unlike painting, where the painter is completely in control of the way an image looks, the specific technical aspects of the each print-making process will always inform the end result. I like being able to work with these technicalities, to recognise their specific qualities and often attempt to distort them. There's something satisfying about testing limits.
What are your favourite art materials and why?
The Golden acrylics range have a great variety of iridescent colours that look really cool and sparkly when pulled through the screen. I also have a lot of love for the system 3 screen printing medium, it's what I learnt with in school and is very reliable (and affordable!). I love using the Pentel brush pen to draw with, and no other pens work as well as Poscas for drawing up designs on separations for screen print. Blue Sharpies are also the best tool to block out hand-drawn designs on aqua-tinted plates (intaglio).
If you could give a piece of advice to someone starting out with print-making, what would it be?
Patience. Most print-making methods involve lengthy and technical processes. For this reason I personally love them, it slows down your creative process, so that each step in the construction of an image is given ample time for consideration. Mistakes pretty much always happen, but the beauty of print-making is that they are often what makes the image work. Be prepared to be surprised!
I know you had some work on show at the Pop Up shop at Virginia Gallery – anything else planned for the near future?
I have just been accepted on to a year long research residency supported by the Telfer Gallery, in which I am due to present my work through a series of events, publications and eventually and exhibition over its course. I am also finishing my first publication White Windows made in collaboration with Joanne Lee for the end of March.
Abi works at Cass Art Glasgow - drop by to ask her any questions about her practice or browse the art materials in the shop.
Follow Abi Neate Wilson on Twitter @abigalenw
Browse our START art supplies and our Golden Acrylic range to start producing your own prints.