Nikki Barber Printmaker

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. After a session of being the Print Shop Coordinator at Pilchuck School of Glass, I have been experimenting in vitreography.

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. This part of the process takes the longest for me -- so many possibilities with their own set of pros and cons to work out.

My work is based off of places or spaces I have been to and the exploration of how communities construct environment and interact with natural resources. 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 constructed landscapes are what make areas distinct.

In my prints, ranging from two inches in length to six feet, I often choose to blend woodcut and monotype printing techniques. 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.

Traveling and translating little moments of journeying into a 2-D print help me to make sense of how I and others around me fit into the world. I would love to expand my exploration and bring it into a public sphere to expand the conversation of places and spaces. I am spearheading a print exchange, sponsored by the Seattle Print Arts, with colleague, Miranda Metcalf, between established artists of Thailand and the Pacific Northwest. Check out my Instagram Account (@NikkiBarberArt) or the Seattle Print Arts Facebook Page for progress images and updates.

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, earned simultaneously with her degree in Biological Sciences in 2014. 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.

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