Name: Janice Downs
Tell us something about yourself?
I work at Teesside University in the north east of England as a Printmaking Technician. I have previously worked in the industry but have spent 18+ years working in education in the creative fields.
Who are you as an artist and why do you do what you do?
My work encompasses a variety of techniques. I consider myself to be a printmaker/painter and the common thread throughout is the focus on ‘process.’ I am continually researching new or improved methods of printmaking all of which informs my work as a technician demonstrator. I have exhibited in group exhibitions nationally and internationally.
When did you first become aware of your interest in printmaking?
My interest in printmaking came about when I studied Fine Art at Kingston University. My practice was predominantly in Painting but found I was gradually spending more time in the print studio. It was a pleasant relief to use a different part of my brain getting enveloped in the technical aspects of printmaking and escaping the focus on at times heavy subject matter.
Which printmaking technique/s do you mostly work with?.. and why?
I mostly work with Screen printing, photoetching, Mono-printing and Lino and a mix of these techniques. I also enjoy plaster etchings and the fact that the print becomes an object and not just a 2D image. I always strive to have the subject matter dictating the technique.
Do you have any kind of ink and paper that you prefer to work with?
I use Hawthorn printing inks for etching or lino and system 3 acrylics for screen printing. My preferred paper for etching is Somerset and for lino I like Hoshu paper. I use Southbank for screenprinting. Where I can I avoid white ink.
What role does the artist have in society?
There are many roles an artist can take and there is plenty of room for them all. The political artist who communicates, shakes things up and awakens and informs society, the artist as a reflector and investigator who records history for future generations and brings us cheer and light, the self-therapist who works through insecurities and helps share this with the world so we all know we are not alone. Artists force society to imagine and challenge boundaries much like a great writer or musician allows the viewer to develop new ways of seeing or looking at things.