"I started experimenting with printmaking in 2011, immediately falling in love with the process." says Georgina Ross, who has since then created prints that have featured in Supergraph, Melbourne 2014 and for Curvy in Semi Permanent, Sydney 2014.
This talented and emerging Melbourne-based artist, creates character-based works that have been described as ‘articulating the emotional interior’ where each solitary figure is captured in a moment of truth; a moment of vulnerability.
Georgina Ross recently took time to chat with Art Pharmacy about her practice and the inspiration behind her works.
Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
I'm based in Melbourne and studied Creative Arts at university, combining visual art, theatre and music. I primarily focussed on drawing and painting but started experimenting with printmaking in 2011. Since then I have studied various printmaking techniques at the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne. I work half the week doing the marketing/website etc. for giant puppet performance company Snuff Puppets and the rest of the week (and any chance I get) on my art. I also sing in a blues/soul band most weekends.
You have such a diverse range of creative interests from printmaking, drawing and music, what would it be like in your studio space?
I have a workspace at home - a desk full of jars of pencils and printmaking tools, surrounded by walls of antique portraits, photos of strangers, newspaper cuttings, bottle tops, feathers…anything I come across that is visually interesting. In this workspace I spend hours drawing and etching new works onto copper or perspex plates. I then use the beautiful big presses at Melbourne’s Australian Print Workshop to print my works. I etch a new character onto a copper or perspex plate with a fine-point steel etching needle. I then take the plate and all my supplies into the printmaking studio and spend the day listening to music and printing away.
You've chosen a very process-driven, DIY aesthetic, within the art of printmaking. What do you enjoy about printmaking?
I enjoy using the printmaking materials and the unpredictable nature of ink. When you etch the face of a person or animal, the image that is printed is the reverse of what you etched. This can create surprising results, sometimes magic…sometimes disastrous. I never completely know if a new work is successful until I lift the blanket of the printing press and either the character has come to life and is looking back at me – or if it hasn’t worked, the face is blank and lifeless.
What printmaking inks and tools do you use?
I use Gamblin printing ink because I create mono prints and their ‘Carbon Black’ ink is the deep darkest, richest black you could possibly find. I print onto Velin Arches cotton paper as I love its texture, look and feel. My favourite tool is a fine-point steel etching needle from Germany.
As we've come to love from your work, your animals depict strong characteristics or human traits. Where do you start when you're thinking about building character traits for a particular work?
We only need to look around us to find the most interesting characters. I find most objects/people/animals/art that are off-centre and slightly abnormal most interesting visually. Strangers in the crowd and people and animals from around my neighbourhood are usually the direct inspiration for my work. For example, I might draw away for hours before I start to recognise that the character is someone I recently saw on the train on the way to work. I often fantasise about the worlds they might inhabit and attributing these imaginings to the characters I create.
You have achieved many leaps forward in the development of your art practice since 2011, what do you hope to achieve in the future?
In the future I hope to be working 100% of the time on my art in my own studio that is big enough to house a printing press. Then all my work can be done in-house and I can work late into the night – when I am definitely most productive. It would also be great to try some much larger-scale pieces one day, perhaps collaborating with a graffiti/street artist to create a work in a public space.
Words: Jessa Melicor