Treat your eyes to this truly visual experience.
Have you checked out local print artist Astrid Lempriere yet? If not, then get ready to discover work that will transport you into a world of black and white lines.
Taking her love for black and white portraits handed down by her father, Astrid is a Geelong based lino print artist exploring the beauty of simplicity in her works. As a mom, finding time and a quiet workplace to pursue her abilities can be difficult, but her creative outlooks always shine within her portraits.
This June, Astrid is bringing her solo art exhibition, Isolation, to The Space: Gallery and Workshops in Geelong. It features twelve of her artworks, and it is a collection based on the covid-19 pandemic. However, she doesn’t want to focus too much on the negative times of the pandemic. She prefers to connect with people through a significant event that affected us all and will continue too as we move to the future.
“Whether the isolations was physical, or metaphorical I think most people can relate to this theme and the moments that each of the prints show. It’s natural to reflect on a challenging time before we move forwards. To represent this I have created nine smaller partial prints with a touch of colour,” says Astrid.
After applying for a small group exhibition in Geelong, she was thrilled to find herself chosen amongst three other artists for the chance to fill the gallery full of artworks in October 2021. Being one of the artist’s first chances to display her works professionally has also allowed her to connect with her dad significantly.
“Once regional travel was opened up I was able to share the experience with my dad, which was very special. He is a crafty soul too,” she says.
When the pandemic hit, Astrid found she had more time on her hands and wanted to pursue something that made her feel happy and complete. So, deciding to take some time for herself, she attended Oxygen College, a school renowned for its creative programs, for three hours a week to help build up her art skills.
Printmaking was the last subject the artist undertook, and she admits that it was not a subject she looked forward to doing.
“I already knew this wasn’t going to be my thing, I’d carved a triangle Christmas tree in lino years ago and it was uninspiring,” she explains.
However, after experimenting with different pictures, Astrid discovered a love for the fine details that the lino art form can provide.
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“I may have fallen into lino printing, but the art form works for me, it’s completely captivating, I can forget to eat as I sit for hours carving. I feel like my lifelong love of black and white photos and portraits have somehow guided me to lino printing,” she says.
Lino Printing is the art form in which the artist uses a piece of linoleum (originally developed as a floor covering) where an image is cut into the lino and then transferred to a piece of paper with ink.
“Every piece I carved, I problem solved my way through, adding more and more details, tackling more challenging subjects… I just sat down and created marks that suited me. I didn’t reinvent the wheel, but I also didn’t copy anyone else’s work and taught myself as I went along. This has changed though [as] I now enjoy finding and connecting with other printmakers. It’s fascinating; everyone I’ve come across seems to be so different.”
Before pursuing lino art, Astrid has an extensive career background that has helped shape her into the person she is today. Starting as a rafting and climbing instructor, the artist has always loved travelling as she chose to pursue her adventurous interests abroad.
After an unplanned proposal landed her married and with kids in Canada, Astrid’s first passion was being a stay-at-home mom of nine years. After that, she attempted careers in the Mental Health industry but found that this was not how she wanted her work life to look.
“I have always lived a relatively transient life both physically and work-wise. I have been lucky enough to call Geelong home for the last 8 years, after a 7-year stint in Canada,” the artist explains.
Like many new and emerging artists, Astrid has come across two significant challenges that have affected her ability to get her work out to the public. These challenges include committing to a project that requires throwing everything she has at it and all the business requirements of being a featured artist.
She describes herself as a very hands-on person. So the realm of the English word has always been a big hurdle for her. She grew up with learning disabilities (ADHD, Autism and undiagnosed Dyslexia) that have made her want to avoid tasks that require a substantial written focus. Astrid chooses to own these difficulties and stop running away from doing something she wants to do.
“At the Age of 40 to choose to do these tasks anyway and just be confident in the art and muddle my way through the written areas and apologise for my English skills as I go. It’s no longer going to hold me back from something that I really want,” she says.
On top of being a fantastic artist, Astrid also runs her own workshops where she shares her passion for lino printing with anyone who wants to learn or try something new.
“My work history of instructing, disability support work plus parenting kids with additional needs gives me a well rounded understanding of how to facilitate workshops and share my skills with participants. I have previously run screen printing and macrame workshops in Geelong and Canada, so a Lino Printing Workshop was a natural step for me, and I just love it,” she explains.
Astrid takes inspiration for her artworks from various places, often incorporating images that she or her friends have taken or using pictures from online sources to create her art pieces. She describes her process as a somewhat unstructured procedure that helps make her astounding artworks.
“I’m not a planner, so I just dive in. I somewhat stumble through creating the different textures and patterns to create my take on the image.”
“I trace the main features onto lino, grab my tools and get to work…Once I’ve finished carving there a two magic process that happen, I say that as they really bring me satisfaction. “
“I roll out black ink on a piece of glass, [and] then roll it across my dull grey lino. Slowly the image appears, like the old instant polaroid photos… Finally I lay the carving on my little enjay press, followed by a lovely sheet of Japanese kitikata paper. Crank it through the press, and then revel the print. Peeling back the paper, the print is the mirror image of the carving,” the artist explains.
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Check out Astrid’s stunning Isolation exhibit at The Space: Gallery and Workshops this June from 10 am – 4 pm Wednesdays to Saturdays.