Meet the printmaker - LonghurstLino

This week on Meet the Printmaker, we meet Wayne from LonghurstLino, a fellow home studio printmaker with a love of photorealistic prints.

Wayne longhurstlino linocut printmaker

Please introduce yourself and what kind of prints you create...

Hiya! I'm Wayne, but you might know me as LonghurstLino over there on the socials and t'internet. I tend to create highly detailed prints, where I want to make them as photorealistic as possible (some might say; why don't you just take a picture then? But where's the fun in that...?!?)

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 only discovered linocutting about 10 years ago (I've just turned 40, but don't tell anyone), so it completely bypassed me at school. I'll go into how I got into it in the next question (stay tuned!). Excuse the pun, but I've managed to 'carve' myself a balance between work and printing. The work element (which pays most of the adult bills) isn't related to printing whatsoever, and lasts three days of the week. The rest of the week I'm focused on my printing exploits. During those days I'll be doing one of three things; thinking/printing/admin...usually in that order. Who enjoys admin? You're weird if you do...! Probably explains why I've taken so long to get around to submitting this interview, sorry about that!

What was the spark that first got you hooked on printmaking? What is it about your medium that draws you in each day?

I was wandering around an artist's open house whilst on holiday in South Wales, and looking at Lee Wright's work, which I loved (bought a couple actually!) and got chatting to Lee, when I found out about linocuts, and he explained about reductions/multi-plates and everything in between. I wasn't actively looking for an artform to get into, but I've always been into art (probably my favourite subject at school, but that might have been to do with the lack of discipline from the teacher...who knows!) and this medium struck a cord. So, I got an Essdee starter kit from Amazon. Cost about 20 quid (and I had a voucher, so it costs me nothing really). Since then, I've taught myself through a lot of trial and error. I think it's that which draws me back; I'm always learning and still making the occasional mistake. If you're perfect at something, then it's just boring. Why do something if you're not learning and pushing yourself out of your boundaries...? Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Wayne longhurstlino linocut printmaker

What inspires you? What or who would you say your biggest influences are?

I've often called myself an eclectic print maker. I don't know if I have a 'look' or a 'thing'. Perhaps I do, I've done a hell of a lot of animals, which I love doing, but boy do they take a while. But that's just because I want them to be as realistic as possible. But I can go from a highly detailed tiger (which took the best part of 4 months, on and off), then to a parody of the 'Top of the Pops' the hell that works, I'll never know... As for influencers, well, there's just so much amazing work out there. Lee Wright will always be my go to, as he got me into it and I'm still in touch with him (can't wait to meet up for a beer or two once this stupid lock down is over). I love the work of Ieuane Edwards, his recent texture work is awesome (his Ammonite is just, WOW!). I've gotta give a shout out to Nick Morley too, as his book 'Linocut' is a bit of a bible.

If you could give some advice to new printmakers, what would be your most useful tips for beginners?

Three words; practice, practice, practice. As cheesy as that sounds, it's true. You can read books...scroll through social media all you want. Yeah, something will sink in from that, and you'll get some inspiration, but the only way you'll truly learn is through doing. If you muck it up, you muck it up. It doesn't really might feel like it does at the time, and god knows I've sworn at my prints, when they haven't worked out (and trust me, there are 1 or 2 that are never seeing the light of day), but soon, and more often than not, something will click and you'll be off and running. So, grab yourself a £20 starter kit, and get carving.

What do your prints say about you? How do you want people to feel when they look at your prints?

They probably say that I should be a photographer! I do wonder sometimes...nah, printing is where my true passion lies. I might use photos as an initial reference, but the process of creating a linocut from them is awesome. I really want people to get up close with my work, and see the detail in them. Does that sound pretentious or conceited...possibly, I don't mean to be. But, that's what I want people to do. To initially see it as a photograph, and then get in to the detail and realise it's a lino cut.

Wayne longhurstlino linocut printmaker

Are your prints influenced by external events (social, political) or do you prefer your work to remain neutral?

Not at all. I give social and political events a very wide berth where my prints are involved. That's a bloody minefield I have no desire to walk through!

Do you have a favourite part of the printmaking process? What brings you the most joy?

The carving and the reveal. Without getting too poetic; There's nothing better than putting that carving tool into the lino for the first time on a new print. It can be nerve wracking too...have I planned this right?!? Am I taking too much away?!? Ah well, you've committed yourself now! And then comes the next best part; the reveal...when you discover if it's worked (yay!) or you've just wasted half a day or more exciting! Us printmakers are a weird bunch......

How do you print? Do you have access to a studio or are you a home printmaker?

I'm incredibly lucky to have a home studio. It's only a small converted bedroom, but it's all mine! I love it. It might get a bit cramped at times, and I do need more space, but I'm not sure that I'll be able to take over the dining room.... Top tip if you're printing at home; get yourself a retractable washing line. It's a great space saving way to hang and dry your prints!