thoughts of a printmaker // Jade Blood
Jade Blood uses drawing, print-making and painting in her practice. She creates and breaks self-imposed 'rules' when painting, which often results in layered, gestural work. Blood is heavily influenced by the Fluxus movement, Abstract Expressionism and paradox, which can become apparent to viewers within the themes of her work: light/dark, conscious/sub-conscious, peace/chaos.
[C] How did you first become involved in arts and more specifically printmaking?
[J] I studied art because I was rather directionless, I never knew what I wanted to ‘be’ - I still don’t but I’m trying every day. I liked reading, art and music as a teenager - all I knew for sure was that I wanted to leave my hometown, read and make stuff. From then on I’ve just always got involved with projects that I like the ethos of and have been open to lots of different art processes. I went to gigs, found friendships with other artists/ musicians and just made stuff! I’ve found that sometimes you magically gravitate to the right people - and visa versa. The real start of printmaking for me was being in a situation in which I could use a print room as part of an internship at an artists studios - so I taught myself and had fun with it, without someone telling me I was doing it all wrong. I set up a community print club which was a way of skill sharing with others, it was a great way of sharing information and supporting each other.
[C] You talk about this broad interest base and this notion of exploration into a wide variety of materials and medium. With this in mind, what kind of artist would you call yourself?
[J] I would say that I am a multidisciplinary artist, printmaking/mark making is my ‘thing’ right now but If I had more space and time in the world I would be like to be called an installation artist, which is the direction I would like to head when I start my MFA [Masters in Fine Arts] this year. Installation was a way of bringing
together all of my work on my BA [Bachelor in Arts] and I have missed having the space to be able to do this. I am very interested in the marriage of traditional skill-based artwork and concept, maybe because lots of digital-based work leaves me feeling cold and I’m a bit of a Luddite and like to see traces of the artist making with their hands. Tactility is important to me, I am a sensitive human being and being a working class Scunthorpe girl, there's an inherent importance, a desirability in being a PROPA GRAFTER- this can be much to my detriment and subject to change in the near future.
[C] What do you feel to be the purpose of your work?
[J] The purpose of my work is to keep me out of the pub and bring me pure joy. It allows me to meditate and to process/translate information and to live. I'm trying to communicate what I can’t explain in words but only with feeling. The purpose of my work is also to bring others joy and send out a signal to other people like me… I want people to like it but not be able to tell me why- which is literally the opposite of what we teach people at art school. LOL.
[C] You've previously spoken about creating and breaking 'self-imposed rules' when painting- could you explain this further? Does this approach have a wider meaning?
[J] Rules are a way of allowing me to trust my mark making, my ability and whatever material I am using. The rules will be a word or a mantra that I am particularly into that period of time. ‘Warm, slow, soft, kind’ is a favourite of mine and have used when making work last year. There was a situation in my life at that point in which I felt vulnerable and intimidated- I wanted to make comforting artwork which was the opposite to undesirable (in my opinion) qualities in shapes and colour -cold, rushed, hard and inconsiderate. Using rules as a starting point was also nicked off Fluxus artists, perhaps my favourite art group EVER. The rules can mean everything and nothing.
[C] The theme of 'rules' in your Sister Corita prints. Firstly, what drew you to the work and the ethos of Sister Corita?
[J] I love the generosity of her work and how she gave up her faith to campaign for human rights, she also taught John Cage, Brian Wilson- that's pretty fucking cool! What is so great about her work visually is the simplicity of the message and the blocky bright colours. The mark making in her work is so confident, free and honest. Her work advocates change, It is politically charged and it stands the test of time. For me her work is wholesome- its full of heart and most importantly it is genuine. Sister Corita’s work fills me full of joy and hope that people are actually all right.
[C] Despite obvious tensions between rules and creativity are there any rules you advocate?
[ you give yourself a ‘rule’ it doesn’t have to be restrictive, maybe we could call them instructions instead of rules?! For a 10m double-sided drawing, I used the instructions; Fast, Slow, which actually allowed me to be quite free in my movement. Everyone knows rules are made to be broken, but we should always have some- here are mine:
Don’t make work just because is ‘fashionable’ try to find your own voice
Listen to your tutor's advice and respect them… but don’t make something just to please them.
Keep at it- don’t give up but also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself… it’s art, maaaan
Talk to people, get excited about stuff, read, play and laugh all the time
Be serious and deep when you need to be, find someone you can do this with
Don’t listen to me, I’m a mess- you should've seen me ‘being myself’ at a prestigious interview last week…
Work hard on your craft and love it
[C] Artistic process over product?
Process is my favourite thing in the world. It is a privilege to spend my time making shit.
[C] What attracted you to Fluxus and how is it implicated is your work at all cathartic?
[J] Some of my work is cathartic, some isn’t, but I can't recommend trying it enough. My tutor at university introduced me to Fluxus and it changed my life, I gained so much confidence in my own work and started to trust my instinct so much more. They held a mirror to the world- which was like a protest against war, which they thought was ridiculous, so they in turn made work that was ‘ridiculous’. The rebellious nature of the Fluxus artists pleases me greatly, the rebellion was so varied too, some of the artists were violent and destructive, others were tender and loving, but all anti-establishment. My way of working, underlying themes of my work and general way of living IS FLUXUS, but sometimes I just want to paint my chameleon (he died last year RIP Bojan) or make something I think is just joyful and beautiful. Maybe that is the new anti-establishment now? I don't know.