Sunday, 15 September 2013

Meet The Printmaker- Chitra Merchant

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work…What sort of prints do you make?
I grew up in India and I currently work as a printmaker in Bristol, U.K. After completing a B.A Degree in Psychology, I left India to work for a year in an artist's studio in West Africa. I came to England in the early nineties and completed a B.A (Hons) Degree in Illustration from U.W.E Bristol ('98). In 2001, I based myself at Spike Print Studio where I print, exhibit and work to commission on a regular basis.
Are you solely a printmaker or do you work in any other creative fields?
I occasionally make Artist's Books and dabble in animation.

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?
I was first introduced to print during a module on my Illustration degree and I haven't stopped investigating it since!
What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?
Much of my work is strongly informed by my Indian upbringing. I use ancient Indian historical sites as a starting point from which to develop imaginal structures that take on a life and logic of their own. In other bodies of work,  I am interested in examining the roles and expectations that are ascribed to women. A love of drawing always forms the starting point of any work. These drawings may be made on site (whether at an ancient eastern ruin or an urban western city site) or painted directly onto a screen to form a stencil. I'm inspired by the writings of Blake, the poetry of 12th and 13th century poet seers ( Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai and Hafiz) to name a few.
Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspace and where you print?
I enjoy the sociable and unpretentious nature of working in a large shared print studio (Spike Print) with its numerous tea and biscuit breaks (vital aids to the creative process!). Printmakers are by and large a very generous group who are willing to share techniques and discuss ideas.

The work of which other printmaker/s do you admire?
Paula Rego, WIlliam Blake, Marilene Oliver, Graeme Todd, Hughie O Donoghue, Anne Desmet,  Katherine Jones, Peter Doig (painter).

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you enjoy the most?
I absolutely enjoy all parts of it; from the initial drawings, through to experimenting and proofing and finally the labour of editioning.

Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing?
Lascaux screen filler. Its a favourite, but not very forgiving to work with!
Its a great way creating a stencil by painting directly onto the screen mesh. I enjoy the immediacy of this process, though it can go horribly wrong too!

Can you share a little printing trick or secret with us ?
Mr Muscle! Its the only thing that removes the above screen filler off the mesh. (Coupled with a really good jet washer.)
How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?
Part of my process involves turning all techniques on its head to see what treasure or disaster might be revealed. I'd like to carry on this way.

Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through
Printmaking Today & A-N magazine. And written works by Marion Woodman, Edward Edinger, Robert Bly, Robert Johnson, Rilke, Basho and Thomas Transtromer.

Monochrome or multi-coloured?
Colour of course!

Thanks for those great answers Chitra! your work is truly amazing. We can't get enough of your colour work!

Chitra will be at the print shop for the rest of volume 2 and her prints are a must see, the scale and composition of these prints are an inspiration for all and a highly desirable addition for any collector. 

 The Print Shop
Unit 6
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

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

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