You are well known for your silk screenprinting. Would you tell us more about your unorthodox method of printing please?
KG: I view my approach predominantly as intuitive and informal...to try something and simply see what happens. From this decision an image is released.. then I try something else, layered on top, juxtaposed by colour and texture. If the result is interesting to me, I keep going. If not, I may switch to a fresh piece and come back to it later. Trial and error really, I guess. Then I know I am continually exploring the silkscreen process, this keeps me hooked and has always held my interest. Fifteen plus years down the line and I still learn new tricks! It baffles me. It is never boring to me or has felt like a chore.
In contrast more recently I’ve created a few silkscreen editions. Observing and then practicing a more uniform /orthodox approach has been enlightening. As well as creating more than one print at a time my brain is mentally unravelling this more technical application to see where the elements of chance can be revealed. I don’t like being straight forward in my work...I don’t want to know what happens before I’ve done it.
Below: Electric Mick 1, 2014
Don't you find the possibilities of paper a bit constraining and would you change the medium with something else (paint, clay; maybe textile again, etc)?
KG: I haven’t yet. But that is not to say I don’t visualise my ideas translated in a different fashion. I started my career predominantly painting, daily. I had no place to print after I graduated. I often think now in a collaborative way and have approached (and have been approached) by other artists /craft practitioners to combine our creative interests. See what happens and then what could happen. Its early days but I’m hopeful of new outlooks, especially more sculptural less flat ones.. !
What affects/inspires your work image -wise? Would for example, the seasonal changes have any affect on the patterns, colour palette and the overall aesthetics?
KG: I guess my mood affects my work more than the seasons.. once I’m in the studio, focused by work and absorbed in the technique it doesn’t really matter what’s happening outside. I love the Summer as I can print with the door open. My studio isn’t huge and I like the feeling of ongoing space, it’s less confining. Layering up colours and playing with simple qualities of the ink such as opacity and transparency, constantly inspires me.
Below: studio shots. All images: Kate Gibb
Work in progress images.
A few months back I made a collection of prints using only one screen with four symmetrical triangles exposed on it, each one the same shape and size. It’s all I needed, the rest happened by changing the pressure of the squeegee, how many times I allowed the ink to be pushed through per layer, working in-to the ink between layers, blotting it before it had time to dry.. basically repetitively adapting and varying the application of ink. It’s never the same. Un-regimented printing, that’s what I like!
Below: 'Shapes' Print.
What I wanted to ask, is, what inspired you initially to become the silk screen artist you are today? Tell us about the beginning, that led you to become Kate Gibb the silk screen artist?
KG: Many things I think, some intentional and some more based around feelings and belonging.. finding out where I fitted in, in life. I was moved around a lot as a child and at one point went to five schools in under two years. Being accepted and fitting in became a learnt talent. I realise now I became an overly versatile character in my need to find friendship and some sort of creative output. Throughout these many educational establishments my interest for their Art Rooms was consistent. I can see now how important that was. Years later I took A levels in both Art and Design and Textiles. Here I saw the photographic silkscreen process for the first time. We would print lengths of fabric with small silkscreens where the design was cut out of waxed paper and ironed on. A little Heath Robinson but it worked! We’d register it using lengths of cotton.. so time consuming but I even loved the math behind it.
What I’m getting at is being creative is a way of life for me, a way of communicating and bonding with people, telling my story. The complete awe I felt from the first moment using a screen to push ink through to make a picture has never dissipated. I’m a little obsessed by it. This fuels my work and simply keeps me hungry to know and explore the process more.
Can you tell us more about any future projects you have lined up ahead?
KG: Next year myself and William Edmonds are putting a show together. Will and I’s friendship has quietly grown over the past few years around a mutual respect and intrigue for each others practice.. and for me, the diversity of his. We’ve wanted to make a show together for a while but couldn’t find the right space. Whilst taking my Students out for a ‘gallery’ day of late I came across the perfect room under a bookshop in town. The works created will be made with the space in mind and have a publishing theme. Its early days and this is the first time I’ve talked about it .. but its happening, we’ve a lot to do but I’m also hugely excited. New challenges lie ahead.. I need them!
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