Thursday, 15 August 2013

Meet the Printmaker - Gail Mason

The work of talented and prolific printmaker Gail Mason has been very well received here in The Print Shop... read on to find out more about Gail's work and her printmaking practice...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work…What sort of prints do you make?
My name is Gail Mason, I live in semi rural North Somerset with my husband and daughter. surrounded by cows, sheep and cats. I tend to work mainly in screenprint producing work which ranges from large expressive painterly abstract monoprints, to smaller flat colour edition work and most recently monochrome portraits.

Hesta / silkscreen monotype

Are you solely a printmaker or do you work in any other creative fields?
For the last 13 years I have worked part time as a lecturer and tutor on the Degree Courses at a local HE college teaching all kinds of printmaking to Graphics and Fine Art students. I run Silkscreen Monotype workshops at Spike Studio and in the studio space where I live. It’s been an interesting journey. I dropped out of my A level art and consequently didn’t go straight to Art College from school, instead did a Psychology and Education degree. During the 80’s I had my own business designing, producing, printing and painting clothes for my stall at Camden Market. From there I decided to return to education to study Fine Art and then later completed an MA in Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking. I took the long way round….   

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want
to do more?  
I became fascinated by silkscreen at around 15 yrs of age where I remember spending many solitary hours in a cold shed that made up part of the art rooms. There I played around with dyes and screen print, painting the mesh with emulsion paint to make the stencils. I loved the idea of being process led, that each step created a different effect.

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?
The positive impact of colour has been my main inspiration together with the idea of journeys both literal and metaphorical. The taste of colour is really important to me, I often begin work by mixing a whole load of colours and then selecting my palette from that.

New Pink / Silkscreen monoprint

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you
enjoy the most?
I have spent a long time working in silkscreen producing painterly monotypes because I love the chance surprise element and then figuring out the next step rather than having everything mapped out from the start. It’s rather like a dance where you have to be intuitive and allow yourself to move instinctively. I have also been working with oil-based monotypes, for pretty much the same reason, but the colours I seem to mix in oil are more subdued and atmospheric.

Moments of Clarity / silkscreen monotype

The work of which other printmaker/s do you admire?
My all time favourite has to be Barbara Rae I love the way she builds her work with many transparent layers and opaque colour, together with the freedom of her mark-making. I have also been inspired by Helen Frankenthaler and Hughie O ‘Donoghue.

Standing By / silkscreen monprint

Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspace
and where you print?
I am based at Spike Print Studios in Bristol where I produce work for Galleries, Exhibition and the Corporate World. I love working there with other printmakers where we can bounce ideas around, have a laugh and be sociable as well as working.

Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing?
I think I would be lost without the small plastic spatulas that I use to apply the inks to the screen when mono printing.

Can you share a little printing trick or secret with us?
I like to think about not what I put down, but what I take away.

How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?
I would really like to explore off-set oil based monotype much further. The Curwen Studio prize from Originals enabled me to begin to explore this process spending time up at their studio, which I was really excited by.

Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through?
Printmaking Today

Monochrome or multi-coloured?
Definitely both

Between You and Me / silkscreen mono print

Thanks Gail, what an inspiring read! We love the colours you use in your prints, and it's interesting to hear about the journey you have taken to be the printmaker you are today. 

If you haven't already, do pop into The Print Shop to see a number of Gail's print pieces, as well as work from a host of other talented printmakers.

The Print Shop
Unit 6
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

Open Daily
Mon - Sat 10am - 6pm
Sun 11am - 5pm

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