This month on Meet the Printmaker, we chat to Leo from Lewamakes who talks about their home studio and their love of medieval art.
Please introduce yourself and what kind of prints you create...
Hi I´m Leo from Lewamakes. I´m a self-taught lino printmaker from Germany. My work is inspired by my love for history and art. There are lots of great stories, people and artworks to discover and some are still more relatable then we might think! Nature/travel is also a subject of my prints, as well as my love for food, fantasy and a little bit of sarcasm. So basically a little bit of everything that makes me happy.
What was the spark that first got you hooked on printmaking? What is it about your medium that draws you in each day?
I really liked the idea of being able to reproduce an original artwork multiple times. The steps to get from an idea to the final piece are very versatile and I like each of them (except from transferring an image to the block).
What inspires you? What or who would you say your biggest influences are?
I´m inspired by all the other talented printmakers I connected with via Instagram or see their works daily, older art (at the moment I´m very interested in medieval art) and also the daily things in life, books and tv shows.
If you could give some advice to new printmakers, what would be your most useful tips for beginners?
I started out with a beginners ABIG tool and while you will want to upgrade your tools if you stick with printmaking, I think they are just fine at the start. Colour wise I first used Schmincke water based ink. Some like it but it didn´t really work for me, I would say just buy the Cranfield caligo safe wash ink from the beginning. Or maybe more importantly, don´t get frustrated if something doesn´t work out right for you. There are dozen different kind of inks, blocks, tools, papers and techniques you can try out and something will feel good for you. Most printmakers share lots of tips.
What do your prints say about you? How do you want people to feel when they look at your prints?
I don´t know what my prints say about me but I do hope they make people smile. I do have some ironic prints while others are more on the nostalgic site.
Do you have a favourite part of the printmaking process? What brings you the most joy?
I really enjoy the carving part. You get to focus on the one task at hand and forget about the rest. The first time pulling a print from a new block is also very magical!
How do you print? Do you have access to a studio or are you a home printmaker?
I print at home at my desk, it can get quite chaotic. My dad built me a hand press but most of the time I use my barren and spoon because the press takes up so much room on the table. But that’s the great thing about printmaking. It´s really accessible, everybody can give it a go!
Every day feels like a school day when you're a printmaker and failure is not talked about too much online.. what would you say is the most challenging part of printmaking?
Progress takes time! You will see lots of great work online but not everybody shares their failed blocks. Failure is a necessary step to get better though. There is nothing more annoying than carving away a line that was supposed to stay.
What is your next big printmaking challenge? Do you have a plan for the next 12 months or do you take each day as it comes?
I don´t really have a plan. I recently opened a web shop so, ultimately, I would like to make some sales but that´s not really up to me so for now I´ll focus on making prints I enjoy.
Where can people find out more about you and your prints?