Alicia Nauta's Felted Dust + Behind Blinds
Alicia Nauta, Felted Dust, SAGAN EDITIONS Silkscreen 2016
When did you begin silkscreening? Why were you attracted to the medium?
I was floundering about at OCAD not knowing why I was painting. I saw amazing screenprinted show posters by Jesjit Gill and other artists around Toronto. I was going to zine fairs and seeing printed books. People were always in the print studios which attracted me because I was shy and a bit lonely in art school. I switched my major to printmaking without having taken a class. I found screenprinting to be the most accessible and captivating of the printmaking mediums. The process was quick and satisfying, and felt more relevant in terms of practical application after school. You can screenprint garments, wallpaper, posters, art prints, books, tote bags, tape and album covers, fabric, flyers...so many different applications. I love the flattened graphic quality, the way the layers of ink interact, gradients that create an illusion of depth and the velvety matte appearance of its printed surface.
You’ve told me that your work process begins with making collages and then you later turn them into silkscreens. Where does your source material for the collages come from?
All my source material comes from thrift stores. Thrift stores are my sad museums that also inspire me. There's all this stuff from people's lives jumbled up together. The crappy, the useless, the sentimental, it's all on one shelf. The books I look for are often DIY home decor guides from the 60's and 70's (like wall and window treatments), patterns for quilts and crocheting, botanical guides and encyclopedias, pre-computer graphic design and open source manuals, clip art resource books for teachers...etc.
Psychedelic interior and exterior spaces are often portrayed in your prints - what themes are you exploring?
Environmental degradation from the human hand, civilization crumbling, abstracted reality, perspective and common laws of physics gone amiss (darkness from a lamp's light for example), considerations of domestic space and belonging, wonder that we live on a planet that is so strange and beautiful and diverse. Also, because I'm working in collage all my images are sourced from different books and therefore are often on contrasting dimensional planes; a 2d object next to a 3d object...there are usually multiple perspectives, or shadows going opposite ways as a result. I think it makes for compositions that at first look familiar but start to feel strange or alienating after looking longer.
I don't work on a computer, everything is sourced from books, then photocopied, cut and pasted and screenprinted. The manipulations I make to the original images are all on a photocopier. I think as a result the compositions have a particular look that also reflects where I'm sourcing the images. I want them to look as if they are simultaneously from the past and the future. I guess I'm referencing the notion of timelessness? I think about the layers of compacted history found in the ground, like using images of Roman architecture next to an image of a crocheted hanging plant, thousand of years apart, yet in the timeline of planet earth, right next to each other. Humans have been on this planet such a short time compared to everything else (like plants) so you can imagine everything all mashed up together...picture the remains of civilization floating around as cosmic garbage.
Tell me about the enamel lapel pin you created for Sagan Editions:
It was plucked out of a collage I made of a room, a strange interior. I was messing around with cutting out plants in containers and looked at the negative space surrounding what I had just cut out. The simple outline was more striking than the image I cut out. I put a line pattern behind it and there it was. It's a houseplant. It's a reminder of nature in a domestic space. Plants give us oxygen, they give us life. It's a comforting image, but the line pattern complicates it a bit. I think it's like looking through blinds into a room with dusty plants.
What’s inspiring you right now?
I read this article a while ago about a woman who makes sea silk. I'm still thinking about it. Particularly this part:
'After that, at sunset, I go with her to a deserted cove where she prays twice a day. "You have to be respectful to the place you live in. You are just passing by, these places are here to stay. And the sea has its own soul and you have to ask for permission to get a piece of it," she says.'
Alicia Nauta graduated from OCAD University with a BFA in Printmaking. All her work is part of Alicia’s Klassic Kool Shoppe: collage, screenprinting, installation, wallpaper, bookworks, and a growing collection of found oddities for a future museum. She is member of Punchclock, a Toronto print studio, and has taught screenprinting and other DIY workshops at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of the AGO Youth Free After Three program. She regularly tables at the NY and LA Art Book fairs with publications and prints. Her work has been exhibited at the AGO, Printed Matter, Katherine Mulherin, Artscape Youngplace, Art Metropole, and Narwhal Projects, as well as permanent wallpaper installations at Double Double Land, Likely General and a really cool baby's room.