Friday, February 7, 2014

Meet Our New Visting Artistic Staff Member: Emma Ringness

I recently had the opportunity to pose some questions to Pyramid Atlantic's new visiting Artistic Staff member, Emma Ringness for this blog. Here is the interview that took place via email.

Peter: In your past work, you've done photogravure, screenprint, planography, screenprint and thread, embroidery, hand dying, linoleum cuts, charcoal, polymer plate printing, and drypoint etching for starters. I believe I saw all that on your Hambone Press tumblr blog. What media do you anticipate using in the future? Do you have favorites or bests?

Emma: I choose my medium based on what will express my concept the best.  I don’t like to pick favorites, but I have a special place in my heart for etching and letterpress, both of which I plan on working on at Pyramid.  I am also excited to learn and play with toys I have never used before, like the foil stamper! 

Peter: Online, you share that you have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Arizona State University, and in recent years you've been a studio technician and gallery attendant at said university. Do you anticipate returning to art school for an advanced degree? If so, what would you study knowing what you know now?

Emma: I would definitely like to return to academia to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree, either in printmaking or with an emphasis in printmaking…but not until I am good and ready!

Peter: I understand your first solo exhibition was this winter. What is your favorite part and least favorite part about exhibiting? Was it a good experience? What did you learn?

Emma: The place I exhibited—Eye Lounge—is an old house turned gallery in Downtown Phoenix, divided into three exhibition spaces.  The area I was in is really small and has a lot of character, unlike your typical white box gallery.  The space gave my installation a whole new feel.  That is my favorite thing about exhibiting: reinterpreting my work in a new environment. Seeing the same work in different spaces teaches me so much about the work itself.

Peter: It sounds like your first solo exhibit explored what could be a form of invisibility: everyday occurrences or events that go unnoticed, but which mark a kind of progression or growth. Do you think you'll expand on this theme in your future work? Or how might your direction change?

Emma: Invisibility, yes, but also the preservation and celebration of these markers or events.  That theme will be recurring in my work for a while, whether or not it will be the main focus. 

Peter: What ideas or themes do you most want to do art about?

Emma: There are a lot of themes I would like to make art about and they are constantly evolving.  I have begun to work on some text-based pieces about my inner monologue and how that differs from what I actually express or present.  I heard the printmaker Jenny Schmid on a panel lecture a few years ago, and she said something along the lines of “the more specific your story is, the more universal it becomes.”  Her words really struck me.  I believe that the more personal and honest your artwork is, the more it resonates with other people.  That is something I constantly strive for.

Peter: As a visiting artist at Pyramid Atlantic, what do you want to be your main focus?

Emma: There are a few pieces and series that I never explored to my satisfaction while I was an undergrad.  I would like to take those off the back burner and give them the attention they deserve.

Peter: How did you find out about Pyramid Atlantic?

Emma: I am honestly not sure when I first heard about Pyramid—it was definitely a while ago!  Before I came I knew a few of the printmaking associates and heard great things about Pyramid from a grad student at Arizona State University who had been an intern here.

Peter: Does teaching interest you? If so, what would you teach?

Emma: Well right now I am teaching little kids—kindergarten through second grade—as part of the partnership between Pyramid Atlantic and the Montgomery Housing Project.  I also look forward to teaching some classes at Pyramid in the future—perhaps a collagraph class.

Peter: Have you found a particular way that you like to work? Describe.

Emma: I am not sure that there is a method to my madness!  I like to work when the studio is quiet—so early morning or late evening—and with some good music or a good podcast going.

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