Saskatchewan NAC

Artist of the Month

Articulate Ink
Karli Jessup and Michelle Brownridge at the Articulate Ink studio

Articulate Ink

Saskatchewan NAC was pleased to feature not one, but four outstanding printmakers — Michelle Brownridge, Amber Dalton, Karli Jessup and Caitlin Mullan, collectively known as Articulate Ink — as our Artist of the Month for February 2012!

As founders of Regina print collective Articulate Ink, these four emerging artists are launching their careers with the support of a community of their own creation. While studying together in the Fine Arts program at the University of Regina, they recognized the need for a local print studio if they were to continue pursuing their passion for printmaking after graduation. After only one year of very hard work and arduous fundraising, Articulate Ink was born in early 2011. Housed within the downtown Creative City Centre, Articulate Ink also provides workshops and equipment access for other emerging printmakers.

 

The project has been a resounding success, with Michelle, Amber, Karli and Caitlin all producing strong, fully-realized artworks which have received immediate public acclaim. 2011 included collective and solo shows the Hague Gallery in Regina and at the Esteem for the Home Gallery in Saskatoon, and 2012 started with their first major show at a public art gallery, with "Press: The Work of Articulate Ink" running from January 14th to March 15th at the Dunlop Art Gallery's Sherwood Village Branch, in Regina.

 

You can read the full biographies for Michelle, Amber, Karli and Caitlin by clicking on their names above, and you can see some of their work below, available for purchase through Saskatchewan NAC. If you're in Regina, take the opportunity to see these prints in person at NAC’s ongoing Artist of the Month space at the Cathedral Village Free House (February 9th to March 2nd for Articulate Ink) and at the Dunlop Art Gallery's Sherwood Village Branch until March 15.

 

And for even more insight into these rising art stars, below you'll find a candid conversation we had with Michelle, Amber, Karli and Caitlin in late January at the Sherwood show, where the artists shared their thoughts on their own and each other's work, the challenges and rewards of printmaking, and what it means to be an emerging artist today in Regina.



NACmarket: Articulate Ink

Again Again
limited edition print by Michelle Brownridge
$300.00
Ate Ate
limited edition print by Amber Dalton
$150.00
Beneath the Skyline Beneath the Skyline
monoprint by Amber Dalton
$495.00
Control Control
limited edition print by Michelle Brownridge
$300.00
Do You Remember Do You Remember
limited edition print by Karli Jessup
$200.00
From Mother From Mother
limited edition print by Amber Dalton
$350.00
Inhibit Inhibit
limited edition print by Michelle Brownridge
$285.00
Manifest Manifest
limited edition print by Michelle Brownridge
$295.00
Oh the Humanity Oh the Humanity
limited edition print by Karli Jessup
$125.00
Prairie Sunset Prairie Sunset
limited edition print by Amber Dalton
$245.00
Routine Routine
limited edition print by Karli Jessup
$75.00
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
limited edition print by Caitlin Mullan
$280.00
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
limited edition print by Caitlin Mullan
$245.00
Understanding Yourself and Your Society Understanding Yourself and Your Society
monoprint by Caitlin Mullan
$175.00
What Will Come Has Already Come What Will Come Has Already Come
limited edition print by Caitlin Mullan
$245.00


Interview

How did you come to be an artist?

MICHELLE: I always just had an affinity for drawing and painting, ever since I was a kid. And then when I was in junior high, I had a really amazing art teacher, who really just opened up all these new worlds of different artists for me, and so from that moment on, it was like, ‘Give me a sketchbook. This is what I'm doing’. I think that I would be an artist no matter what. I think that that's really essential to my being as a person.

 

CAITLIN: It's like having artist goggles on. It's the way that you look at everything.

 

KARLI: When I was in high school, in art class, everything was really sort of representational. And I knew I always really liked art, but I came across a book at the RPL downtown. And it was a book with Jean-Michel Basquiat's work in it. And it was like nothing I'd ever considered to be fine art. Just really abstract, and sort of scratchy, really rough. And I was like, "I can be an artist, too! This is awesome!"

 

AMBER: In high school, I started taking drawing and painting, but we also had a design course, so we actually got to do printmaking and graphic design. And so from there, I decided to go to college and take a visual communications kind of design degree. And then taking drawing as a major really brought me into more the fine art space of design. And so, a couple years ago I decided I would finish a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and decided that printmaking was the best and right route for me.

 

CAITLIN: I think just recently with producing shows and finding studio space and all the things that happen after your degree, that's really when I've recently felt like fully an artist. I feel like it's just been recently that I really aspire to that title and actually feel like I've kind of grown into that role. Because it's just taken so much more of a central place in my life, and it's no longer attached to school.

 

What artists and others have influenced you? 

 

CAITLIN: I think Rob Truszkowski, our prof at the University of Regina. He's not like any other person that I met at the university.

 

MICHELLE: He's so passionate about print and about igniting that passion in other people, and he's so successful at that, I think that we all can attest to that.

 

CAITLIN: Yeah. His teaching style, and his respect for his students, and just being able to sort of help everyone in his path cultivate curiosity and creativity. He's an incredible inspiration. And John Noestheden too, was a big one. He was another prof at the University of Regina. But he was very similar — an incredibly encouraging, successful, focused person who had a lot of respect for his students.

 

How do you describe your work and your sources of inspiration?

 

KARLI: I usually make work as kind of a response to things going on around me, or attitudes that I'm surrounded by. Right now I'm working in the UR Pride Centre, so I'm learning a lot about different kinds of gender identities, sexual identities. So really, thinking outside of binaries is what I've been thinking a lot about lately. Especially for this series.

 

AMBER: Well, a lot of my inspiration right now just comes through recent life experiences, a means of exploring or even working through personal experiences.

 

CAITLIN: Print therapy. That's what we call it.

 

AMBER: A lot of my inspiration comes from looking at biological and organic imagery. Even doing research into things like roots and plant systems, in relation to how I feel they relate to the idea of home. The idea of where I, as a person, am placed. Not just necessarily in the prairies, but as a person in life right now, feeling uprooted. Knowing that 75% of prairie grasses is their root systems. And so looking at the imagery that can relate to my own feeling of loss or home or where am I grounded. Where am I going to put my roots. And representing that through those types of imageries.

 

MICHELLE: A lot of my work and the inspiration for my work is based in photography. So pretty much every day, I'm taking pictures of different things that I see around me and I find intriguing. And I think Caitlin hit it right on the nose when she said "artist goggles," because it really is. For me personally, anyway, I'm going through my day-to-day life looking for things that I can draw from. And then I end up with this collection of images that then I can curate and pick out from my own pieces that I'm going to bring in to print.

 

This body of work was a little bit different from the stuff I had been doing, because I made it with a specific subject matter in mind and it's addressing mental illness. So I'm looking at using images of dials and buttons and elevators and switches and gauges and things like that as metaphors for mood and emotion and thoughts, and how those things can be kind of either turned on or off at what might seem like the flip of a switch.

 

CAITLIN: I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books and magazines, the older the better. There's just something really magical to me about second-hand objects and things that are very old that really gets my imagination going, just thinking about all the different lifetimes or lives that things have passed through.

 

I really struggle with creating a narrative in my work, but not giving away too much. I always want there to be an element of mystery to it. With this series specifically, I was drawing from five different books that I read. And trying to remix some of the most memorable moments in them. It's important to me to have a sense of reality, and I think that's why I use a lot of photographs that I know were taken a long time ago, because they have a sense of exactness and knowing that this actually existed, and it looked like this. But I like being able to remake that into a more imaginary, unreal world, too.

 

What made you decide to pursue your art here in Regina, rather than in another city?

 

CAITLIN: I think one conversation that Michelle and I had pretty early on, when Articulate Ink was still sort of in its baby steps, was that we'd had ingrained in us in high school that if you want to be an artist, it can't happen here. And of course, at that point, we hadn't necessarily heard about the history of all the great artists that were around us. We hadn't really been introduced to them or seen the rich cultural identity that the city does have.

 

MICHELLE: I remember the conversation. I think that as we were exposed to artists in Regina and the history of the Regina Five, which we were specifically talking about because there was an exhibit at the MacKenzie at that point. We had seen how those artists had kind of been recognized for their work and they had gone on to lead very successful careers, and as we familiarized ourselves with Regina, we had that idea, that you don't have to leave here to do that.

 

CAITLIN: It can happen here.

 

MICHELLE: It can happen here.

 

CAITLIN: And that's why we're doing it.

 

MICHELLE: We could have moved away to where there was a print studio, but I think that we recognized the need for it here. The fact that it wasn’t here meant that we wanted to see a print studio in Regina. It kind of gave us the fuel and excitement to get it going, because we saw the potential.

 

AMBER: And it's an opportunity — there's not a huge exposure to printmaking where we can go and learn outside of an educational setting. And that's huge for us as recent graduates, where you're stepping out that door and you're like, ‘Well now what?’ Well now, this is what.

 

MICHELLE: It's a really great time to be an artist in Regina. I think that there's this growing sense of artistic community. Maybe that's just because I'm becoming more involved in it myself, but I do think there is something new that's happening in Regina.

Articulate Ink

  • Born: 2011. Regina, SK
  • Resides: Regina, SK
  • Mediums: Drawing, Photography, Printmaking
  • Website: www.articulateink.ca

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