Thursday, November 20, 2008

Artist Interview: Carol Hayman

A year ago I met Carol Hayman when one of my favorite artists, Anna Marie Pavlik, brought her into Annarella. I was immediately taken with her atmospheric photos developed on solar plates. She has a unique way of capturing the solitude of a place and the geometry of her subjects. The viewer is drawn in to her prints by the sense of mystery in the commonplace. Her technique, which she talks about below, brings wonderful contrasts of light and shadow which elevates her work far above the ordinary.
Carol is part of the current exhibit here, called "Small Pleasures & Quiet Moments." These are all small works on paper from 3 women printmakers. On Dec. 5 they will be giving a gallery talk at 6 pm about printmaking, the process and techniques. It promises to be both fun and informative.
Now for Carol's interview. Enjoy.

Carole, tell us a bit about your early years and art.

I come from a long line of women artists, on both sides of my family. My mother's mother, Sophia Dart, did beautiful embroidery. My father's mother, Margaret Hayman, painted watercolors and made quilts. Her grandmother, Angelina Beckwith, painted in oils and watercolors and gave art classes. I have some examples of work from each of them.

I wanted to be an artist from my early teens and took art classes all through high school and college - classes in painting, printmaking, photography, jewelry and weaving. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art; a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art History; and a Masters of Art in Anthropology. Now I am a Professor of Anthropology at Austin Community College.

Tell us about your style.

My style is documentary/anthropological. I take lots of photographs, especially when I travel. I like human artifacts, monuments, cultural objects. food and religious items. For colorful things, I make photographic prints of objects like flowers with deeply saturated colors. For some of the more monochromatic photos I make them into intaglio prints. Some pictures are natural tableaux depicted from a perspective that renders the resulting image almost abstract. The history is revealed in multiple layers, with an underlying order and inherent drama exposed in contrast and detail, painterly and sculptural at the same time.

What are you saying in your work?

My work illustrates specific places, both social and personal, public narrative events, and little glimpses of other worlds caught in everyday situations. We can find beauty in the exquisite as well as the mundane. I want the work to draw viewers in to look more deeply, to break a code, or to try and solve a mystery.

Tell us about your technique and the process.

The technique is polymer plate intaglio, also called photo etching, photo-gravure or solar plate.

The intaglio or etching starts out first as a print from a digital camera, then using a photocopier, I copy the print onto a transparency for overhead projectors. The transparency is laid over a polymer plate ane exposed to light. The plate is washed and hardened. When the plate is dry, it is inked, damp paper laid on it, then run through an itaglio press like an etching. This new process of creating solar plates uses non-toxic light and water while combining the centuries old use of the intaglio press.

Turning photographs into fine art prints is a laborious but satisfying printmaking process. The anthroplogical dimension of my subject matter lends itself well to the handmade look of the technique, and the technique is excellent for creating detailed works that draw the viewer in for a closer look.

With prints it is possible to make multiple versions of the same image. I experiment with different colors, mixing browns, greens, or blue with black. I use different wiping techniques to vary the intensity of the color. I usually use BFK Rives paper and Graphic Chemical Faust black. I printed several years at Flatbed Press; now I print at Slugfest. When I am there printing the BBC radio program, The World, is usually on, it fits in well with my subject matter, so I half listen as I go through the repetitive and rhythmic motions of wiping the plate, rolling the press. Thank you, Carol, for walking us through the complex steps of printing. I look forward to the gallery talk on Dec 5 here at Annarella. Understanding your process brings even more appreciation of your images.

The next interview will be with Anna Marie Pavlik who is the second of the woman printmakers in our exhibit.

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