Monday, 9 September 2013

Meet the Printmaker - Elena Ortiz

Introducing Elena Ortiz, a member of the Drawn in Bristol screen printing studio and an individual who takes inspiration from so much of the world around us. 

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work… What sort of prints do you make?
Hello, I’m Elena Ortiz and I like to observe and capture my everyday life. I come from sunny Spain but I’m currently living in the cloudy but lovely Bristol. I was very lucky to study Fine Arts and Printmaking in Porto and Valencia where I nurtured my love for Graphic Art. As soon as I finished, I moved to London where I had the opportunity of working in and learning more about printmaking. I like to jump from one printing technique to another depending on the nature of the image.

Elena Ortiz printmaking
Are you solely a printmaker or do you work in any other creative fields?
I feel comfortable with both photography and printmaking, although I don’t think that fields are separated by fences. My prints drink from my photographs and the other way around. I’m constantly trying to learn new things –my next target is ceramics!

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?
I started printmaking in Porto, Portugal. I studied a year of University there and the workshops were amazing. I remember printing my first engraving, I will never forget when I pulled up the paper and saw the drawing of the feather printed in the paper –it was magic! Since that moment I knew I wanted THAT in my life, I wanted to learn as much as I could of the different techniques of printmaking.

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?
Looking through the window in the morning, having breakfast, passing by houses down the street, windows, doors, taking off and landing in airplanes, a song, coach journeys, the sea, rivers, plants, cities, maps … I don’t really have a theme, I’m just trying to portray my living.

Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspace and where you print?
Since I live abroad I haven’t had a proper studio. I work in my kitchen, the living room and when it’s not too cold, in my room. While living in London, I used to print at London Print Studio and here in Bristol the comfy Drawn in Bristol’s print studio.

The work of which other printmaker/s do you admire? 
I won’t say the ones I admire most because there are tons and I’m pretty bad with names but I will say the first one that I admired: Blexbolex.

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you enjoy the most?
The process, getting my hands dirty, mixing inks, inking, discovering new techniques and touching the paper.

Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing? 
An apron –I’ve been using the same since I started University and it’s kind of my good luck charm.

Can you share a little printing trick or secret with us? 
Always use the chamois with the non fluffy side.

How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?
I haven’t got a plan, I just want to experiment and see how it goes. What I definitely want to try is screen printing in ceramics.

Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through?
I would love to see the original screen printed Praia-mar by Bernardo Carvalho.

Monochrome or multi-coloured?
Depending on the day but probably I would say monochrome if I had to choose.

Thanks Elena, what an interesting read! We love the range of printing processes you use, and it's great to hear about what inspires you. 

If you haven't already, do pop into The Print Shop to see a number of Elena'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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