Monday, July 5, 2010
An Interview With Brigitte Schobert
Brigitte Schobert encourages discovery with her subtly intriguing, often amusing, etchings and linocuts.
Where did you grow up? Do you consider where you are from an
influence on your artistic development?
I grew up in Germany, and yes, I think that there is an influence,
because German Expressionist art and woodcuts in particular made a
great impression on me and I always wanted to do something like that.
When did you first realize you were an artist or have the courage to think of yourself as an artist?
I still have a problem thinking of myself as an artist. I was always
interested in art, but spent my professional life as a scientist and
waited to do art until after my retirement.
I have a friend who is a printmaker and she told me to come by to
print something together. I went off to the art store and bought some
linoleum and used the lino cutter, which I still have from my high
school days, and I carved my first two linocuts. I liked it and found
I wanted to do more and that is how I grew into it.
What process or medium do you use for your work, and why?
I use etchings, linocuts, and also photography. When people ask me
why I prefer these media to painting, I usually give them this
answer: "Paper burns better than canvas."
But seriously, I don't know! I just feel attracted to it and I like
the process of carving and working with the knife.
Will you share with us the process?
In etchings are many fine details and it takes a long time to compose
and draw the picture on paper and then I have to draw it again on the
etching plate. The next step is to etch it and add aquatint to it.
This whole process takes weeks and weeks. After that I pull a proof and
sometimes I have to make corrections and finally I can print the
edition. Even with experience it is always a surprise to pull the
first print and I am happy when it comes out how I expected it to be.
With linocut there are different rules. It is not possible to work
with very fine detail and you have to concentrate on the most
important lines to create the image. It is similar to a photography
with high contrast.
Where do you find inspiration for your works? Does your own life
experience play a role in your imagery?
It comes from different sources like books, movies, events in the
news and photos. I basically came from photography to printmaking.
With digital photography it is a whole new world to be able to work
on the photos and print them yourself. Printmaking was a next step
for me after printing my own photographs.
Do your images come then from your photography?
Well, not always or not entirely. I may use the photograph as a
starting point, but in photography there are different rules. A good
photograph may be perfect with very little and just a small detail,
but for etchings or woodcuts you need more to make a good image.
Sometimes I use part of a photograph as a model and modify it or add
to it whatever comes to my mind.
How often do you start a new work?
Now with a show coming up I made a list of what I wanted to do and
just went down the list. On average I start a new work every month,
but the projects always overlap. If I weren't having the show I might
have experimented with new and unfamiliar methods, but they don't
always work out.
How do you know when a work is finished?
I have in mind what I want to put into my design and I develop and
draw it at first on paper. When this is done it is done. Only very
few corrections can be made at the stage of printing.
Who do you make art for?
Like many artists, I make it mainly for myself. However, I am happy
when other people enjoy it too.
Brigitte Schobert at work in the studio.
Brigitte Schobert's exhibition; Dream and Reality, opens July 20, 2010.