This question for me might as well be “why humanity?” Printmaking is the most human media in a certain sense; from Lascaux cave to the Gutenberg press, print media tells us everything about impressions, perceptions, and power. There will never be a media that has meant more to the proletariat- and continues to democratize art and language in new and interesting ways. I personally loved learning from a master to become somewhat mastered. I loved pulling my first print, I loved exchanging prints with others. It was a love affair with the medium since the age of 19- with many late sweaty nights. Because you have to share a press (unless you are rich- or finally got to the point of owning a press), the process is democratic too. Much creative problem solving takes place in a shop and you get to know people in an intimate way. Who is messy, how people do under stress, what music people listen to- is all revealed in a print shop.
What music/books/artists are inspiring you lately?
I read like a mad woman. It inspires me far more than visual art work which I rarely go and see– I am truly a homebody. I think poetry is the highest art and I am coming to unfurl its mystery late in life. I have no formal education in poetry or literature and this enchants me. It is such a novelty-- even after all these years as a reader. I love Rita Dove, Theresa HK Cha, Mary Oliver, N.Scott Momaday, Linda Hogan whose work is so poetic, Dorothy Alison, and Janet Frame. I just started the Neopolitian Novels by Elena Ferrante- the first book was additive and I cannot wait for the next. I read a lot about the female experience, and I felt this book was honest to such an intense degree about our inner experiences as women.
What is some of the best advice you were given as an artist?
My friend Humberto Ramierez, who is a brilliant mind and artist, once told me “Do not lose your innocence to love.” Although he was speaking to matters of the heart, I think it applies to artwork nonetheless. Being an artist is hard, and you want to lose your innocence. At times it feels easy to be jaded or get downtrodden about dysfunctional situations you encounter along the way, in which you have no control. You must not lose your innocence to your love of art and making art, or else you have lost the point.
If you could travel either back or forward in time for a day, what time would you visit and what would you do?
I would travel back to the day I met my husband Todd Ryan White and start from the beginning again. That is how good it has been- and how good he is. I could travel the world over time and never enjoy someone this much. Sorry Joan, Woolf, Hildegard.