I used to work as a research therapist for children with autism...
The kids were great; the work schedule and commutes were soul-draining. I reached a point of breaking and decided to quit and visit the places I always told myself I would go and do the thing I always told myself I would do. You see, I have two degrees- one in the awesome world of biological sciences and the other in the equally awesome world of printmaking. I decided to side-step my linear track bound for a job that actually has benefits and call myself an artist. Thus, here I am showing off my prints to you after quitting a huge chapter of my life.
A little more detail:
I am a Seattle-based printmaker. I am in love with the medium and all of its many techniques. Primarily, I work in relief printing, which includes woodcut and monotype printmaking techniques.
I start the process with a real life experience and then sketch something from it. Next I work out which printmaking technique will best convey what I want from the image. Honestly, this part of the process takes the longest for me -- so many possibilities with where to take the idea. The last series of prints I exhibited focused on my artist residency in Chiang Mai, Thailand. For these I use plexiglass to blend ink and print the resulting colors onto paper. Then I carve a panel of wood, selectively roll ink onto the carving and print the resulting woodcut on top of the monotype. There is something about the process of it I am drawn to - visiting the place, talking to the people, making the sketches, carving the block, finding the color palette, and finally laying down the block on the paper, and pulling a print! My work is based off of places or spaces I have been to. I have been able to explore the way we humans construct our environment and interact with natural resources through this. My artist residency in Thailand, in particular, highlighted to me some of the things my Pacific Northwest heart has always found meaningful and interesting. While abroad, I realized physical structures, neighborhoods, and waterfront landscapes are what make areas distinct. In my prints, ranging from two inches in length to six feet, I blend woodcut and monotype printing techniques.
I find traveling and translating those little moments of journeying into a 2-D print useful in highlighting and making sense of how I and others around me fit into the world. More importantly I would love to expand my exploration and bring it into a public sphere to expand the conversation of places and spaces in Seattle as it grows and changes.
Give me a follow on Instagram or Facebook (any of the social media platforms really) to keep up with my work: @NikkiBarberArt
Nikki prints at Print Zero Studio in Seattle, WA. She graduated from the University of Washington with an Interdisciplinary Visual Arts degree with an emphasis in printmaking. She finds traveling to other countries and exploring printmaking a way to highlight and make sense of how she fits into the world. She is always looking for advice on where to travel next, especially if printmaking is involved! Email Nikki your suggestions. Who knows? Maybe she'll send you a hand-pulled postcard! wink, wink
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