Our featured artist for February and March is Amy Douglas. The iconic local imagery she uses for her subjects is what draws you in, but the depth of her detailed approach to process is what really makes her work special. Each of her hand pulled screen prints is painstakingly created in limited editions.
We caught up with Amy to take a peak inside her world:
How would you describe what you make?
All of my prints are created by hand using water-based inks on fine art stock. Each color is printed separately; sometimes layered atop another color to create different shades and tonal qualities within the work. These are limited-edition hand-pulled screenprints. The only time I ever use a computer in the process is when I’m creating the original illustration and layout of each piece. If using the Dick’s Drive-In example, Where Taste is the Difference, it’s a 10-color print in an edition of 14 total prints. This means that I have pulled my squeegee at least 140 successful times to create that edition. This doesn’t count all of the ink and registration proofing that goes into a successful print. I often start with 20 or 25 sheets of fine art stock and end up with around 15 successful prints. People often ask why I don’t use a high-quality laser printer to quickly produce unlimited amounts of ‘perfect’ prints. The reason is because I am in love with the process and physical labor involved. Knowing that my hands have created these pieces of art and brought to live, a vision that was once just in my head - is completely fulfilling to me. There is a unique distinguished look to the inks that are applied on a print when done by hand.
Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?
The Twin TeePees is one of the most difficult prints I’ve done, but it’s my favorite because it challenged me during each step of the process and made me a better printer. I used to want to take shortcuts, but this piece made me realize that taking the extra steps to make the piece right are always worthwhile.
If you could collaborate with anyone (living or not), who would it be and why?
I would love to work with Wayne Thiebaud because of his ability to make his cakes, pie slices, and deli cases beautifully delicious on canvas. They’re simplified objects that somehow come to life with basic shadow and light. That’s something that’s difficult to replicate on paper with a printed image, but I try to enhance these things in my work by using the paper tone as a light source, by breaking the picture plane with my subject matter, and simplifying or exaggerating the cast shadows within the pieces.
When you are in the studio, what are you listening to?
There’s a certain aerobic rhythm that seems to happen when I’m printing - I’m not sure if it’s because of the methodical process or if it’s the result of whatever pops up next on the playlist. A good day in the studio usually includes some mix of MGMT, The All American Rejects, and Prince.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
I took a class at Pratt a few years ago on making depression era stringed instruments, and I built a cigar box ukelele. I don’t actually know how to play the uke (or guitar, for that matter), but learning how to create something that beautiful out of upcycled materials and found objects was very satisfying to me.
Visit Amy during West Seattle Art Walk second Thursdays February 9 and March 9, 6 to 9pm.