At 11pm on a Monday, I had the opportunity to talk to Erica L, a 5th year senior in the art department. She specializes in print making, and we happened to be in the print shop. I knew Erica casually, but I had noted that she had a bright sense of humor atop a tender human quality that removed any indications of “pretentious artist.”
It was fitting that she started the interview with asking me how I liked the environment of the print shop which is located in the basement of the Bishop center. A few mutual friends of Erica and I and a group of students from Long River Review were working on their zines, music was playing, people were talking over each other, creating.
Erica, where are you from? What’s your art story?
I’m from Middletown, CT. I didn’t do art in high school but I was always into it, I just never actually did it.
So it’s never too late to do art? Even if it’s almost midnight on a Monday?
No, haha. It is never too late.
Let’s get into it- what’s your senior project?
I made 10 screen prints that were mounted on 10 panels, it was a composition split into 10 panels. 10, 10 by 10 inch prints.
Any significance to the number 10?
Not really, it was inspired by other artists. And I liked the square shape.
How did you come to do print making?
I came to this department, I wanted to be a photographer. I changed my major 3 times before I decided on art. I took basic print making and fell in love with in it. After that, I took more advanced classes and fell even more in love with it.
Describe your aesthetic.
I have a really graphic aesthetic like bold shapes, colors.
How did you come to your aesthetic?
Oh—uh- sorry, I don’t know how I feel about talking about myself haha. I would say that my work conveys an interest in relationships, contrast, balance and organizing space. My imagery that I’ve been compiling for the past few years — casually makes reference to nature, mundane objects and geometric forms. It also alludes to structures that are both natural and artificial.
Why screen printing for your aesthetic?
Screen printing gives you the freedom to layer a lot of images easily, colors and a wide range of colors to choose from. You work with transparency which helps with the layering process.
Who on campus has influenced you?
Lori Sloane. Lori Sloane is lead print making professor. She literally taught me everything that you need to know about print making- she’s a print making god and she gave me access to everything in this shop and alumni still come back here and use the print shop. I find comfort in the fact that I’ll still have access to the shop.
What other artists are you influenced by?
I’m influenced by Mel Bochner, Sonnenzimmer, -they’re my screen printing idols.
What artists should I check out?
Ellsworth Kelly. I’m super into Instagram and Tumblr, I look at a lot of other people’s work through social media.
How has art helped you cope with life?
So I find that I totally have OCD-tendencies, maybe control-issues and I feel like this is perfect for me to handle those issues. Because it’s my own work, nobody else has to touch it. I’ve made a lot of amazing friends and connections with professors and I’ve had a completely positive experience with the department.
Are you influenced by other mediums? Like music? You picked the music that is playing right now.
My dream job- I guess I could say that- I would love to work with bands. But I don’t make music, I don’t want to make music but I want to work with people who do and make art for them.
What are some galleries that we should check out?
Chelsea Gallery in New York because they’re always changing. Museum of fine arts in Boston, because it is overwhelming but in the best way possible. And MOMA.
Can you comment about the hands on aspect of print making?
In print making, this is going to sound so cliché, but it’s really important to embrace your mistakes- because they are always- well, not always but mostly always better than what you planned for.
What are you doing after graduation?
Move to Boston in September, find a print shop there, hopefully.
You have a great sense of humor, you make people laugh. Is it fair to say that this is your element?
I made a lot of friends here. I transferred here. I didn’t have any friends in my old school. I opened up and I am a really honest person now.