It is import to experiment in art, to push oneself out of the box we so easly put ourselves into. Today we are sharing some work from Bob Cornelis that is taking him on a new path.
I chose printmaking because I wanted to do something I had never tried before. About 12 years ago I spent several years painting with acrylics and pastels, so didn’t want to revisit that. And I had bought a small etching press to do some letterpress so I had the basic equipment for printmaking already. Of course, I’ve already outgrown that press and plan on buying a larger one later this year! I love the behavior of ink on paper, which is different than paint and paper. And there is a wide range of papers one can use, and I’m a paper junkie.
Why do you feel it is important for you to explore different types of media as an artist?
I ’m a restless person by nature and periodically need to reinvent myself to stay motivated and I really enjoy learning new things. I felt I had gotten as far with photography as I could see going, at least for now, so it was time for a change.
I think there are several reasons it is important to explore different art mediums – it’s a little like cross training if you are an athlete. Different sports (art mediums) exercise different muscles, so I think you become more fit overall by doing different things. There is significant crossover of skillsets that occurs between art mediums, so it’s not like you are starting from scratch. Art is about expressing personal vision, the way you do that is less important than the doing of it. Different mediums provide you different ways to express your unique vision. I hope that one can look at my printmaking efforts and see the relationship to my photography and vice versa. And there is no reason NOT to explore different mediums – for me, the biggest obstacle was thinking I couldn’t do it, that I had no talent for anything else. I think most photographers will be surprised, as I was, how quickly they progress and how much the process is fun and energizes their artistic spirit.
Do you feel your photography and bookmaking inspire your printmaking?
I hope they do! I feel a natural progression exists from my photography to the printmaking. I’m still mainly working in B&W, exploring some of the same themes but in different and exciting ways. I have found that I can also explore certain topics more easily as I am starting with a blank piece of paper as a printmaker and am not constrained in any way by the need for a physical referent in the world to photograph. I am still committed to bookmaking and am actively exploring ways to have my new prints turned into handmade artist books.
Do you see the possibility that printmaking will influence your photography in the future?
If and when I return to photography, I’m sure it will be affected by my experience as a printmaker. Whether that is through learning new techniques, such as chiné-colle, that can also be used in photography printing, or exposure to new papers or subject matter, there will be a connection, at least in my own mind. I found that to be the case when I went back to photography after focusing on painting for several years.
Any advice for other artist thinking of pushing themselves out of their box?
My main advice is to just do it! Photography is a wonderful medium to learn invaluable skills in light, composition, depth of field, etc. that are extremely useful in other mediums. It’s OK to not be as good at a new medium right away as you are at photography – I guarantee you won’t be! Take a look at some of your first photographs to reinforce that notion.
I tend to immerse myself in one medium at a time, though others don’t have to take this approach, so it’s not as if it is necessary to stop taking photographs while exploring new directions. Pay attention to how you learn best whether that’s through books, videos, teachers, workshops, etc. – I really value one-on-one instruction with a good teacher and I have been fortunate enough to find someone locally who is wonderful. You may have to try a few mediums to find one that feels like a good fit, you may not get that right immediately. There is a freedom that can come from being a beginner again and it isn’t necessary to share the new work with anyone else until you are comfortable doing so. Be fearless!
Thank you Bob.
To learn more about the work of Bob Cornelis please visit his page atBob Cornelis.