This week on Meet the printmaker, we meet Dutch printmaker Evelien van de Laar.
Please introduce yourself and what kind of prints you create...
My name is Evelien van de Laar. I'm 24 and from the Netherlands. I make linocuts which are mostly inspired by nature and my experiences in life. I recently graduated from college and am now focused on finding a job while working part-time, using printmaking as a way to express myself and keep being creative.
How long have you been a printmaker? Is it a full-time career for you or a lovely hobby? If you are a full-time printmaker, what does a typical day for you look like?
I really got into printmaking it during my studies (Teacher Visual Art & Design), where I followed a graphic design course. That's when I started making linocuts off and on in my free time.
Since about a year I've been making prints regularly and also made a linocut series as my graduation project in July. Now I have a part-time job and make prints on my days off, while also looking for a job as an art teacher.
What was the spark that first got you hooked on printmaking? What is it about your medium that draws you in each day?
It's difficult to say what exactly got me into printmaking. I have always been a creative person, but never really knew what my passion or medium was.
When I started making linocuts, I don't know what happened but it kinda stuck and I started to enjoy it more and more. Now, printmaking is almost like meditation for me. The carving process is really relaxing. Also, printmaking has so many possibilities and I love experimenting with new materials.
What inspires you? What or who would you say your biggest influences are?
So many things inspire me. From scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest to real artists. In particular Maarit Hänninen and Ellen von Wiegand are artists that really inspired me to make linocuts. I'm also very interested in art history, so many famous artists like Sandro Botticelli and Vincent van Gogh inspire me as well.
If you could give some advice to new printmakers, what would be your most useful tips for beginners?
Don't give up and if somethings doesn't work for you, try something else. There are so many materials, tools and paper you can choose from, so there's always something that works for you. Also, there are a lot of great printmakers who give advice online, I got some great tips this way.
What do your prints say about you? How do you want people to feel when they look at your prints?
It depends. Some prints tell a story and have real idea behind it and some are, for example, just an object/flower that I find really beautiful. In my bigger pieces I use a lot of symbolism and I hope that when people see my work they can find their own meaning in it.
Are your prints influenced by external events (social, political) or do you prefer your work to remain neutral?
I wouldn't say my work gets influenced directly by political or social events. However, I of course have my own views of the world and I'm sure that somehow this finds its way into my work. I do have some prints with a real concept, these are mostly about me and my relationship with mental health issues. So I guess I do get influenced by social issues, but I keep it personal and use it to express myself and my own feelings.
Do you have a favourite part of the printmaking process? What brings you the most joy?
The carving process. Like I said, it's like meditation. A good second is pulling the first print. That's when you know all the work has been worth it.
How do you print? Do you have access to a studio or are you a home printmaker?
I make my prints at home. I didn't even have a designated desk until recently and I used to carve my prints on the coffee table. Now I have my own linocut corner in the living room and have recently gotten a table top press (prints up to A3), which makes printing a lot easier (although I still often use my wooden spoon to print).
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?
I think the most challenging part of printmaking is not giving up when you make a mistake. Especially with making linocuts, once you make a cut that isn't supposed to be there or your cutting tool slips, there's no going back. You can't easily adjust your design once you've carved it.
There are many other fears I have about making linocuts. The design not being good enough, not challenging myself enough and sometimes you have those days where you can make 20 prints but none of them turn out the way you want to. Printmaking taught me to try and let go of these things and to just enjoy the process, but it can still be hard sometimes.
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 have some ideas in mind, but I don't plan ahead much. Especially since it's a hobby for now. I of course have some goals set for the future. For example, I'd like to make a bigger print again with a symbolic meaning.
Where can people find out more about you and your prints?
I'm active on my Instagram @artby.evelien where I post photos of different stages of making a linocut print. I also sell some of my prints on Etsy (ArtByEvelien).
What is your favourite print (of your own)?
Music/podcasts when you're creating or silence?
Printing press or by hand?
Both, depends on the paper/design.
If you could meet any artist (alive or dead), who would it be?
Edvard Munch or Claude Monet
One word to sum up your style?
That's a hard one, I wouldn't know honestly.