Monday, 19 March 2012

Interview with Anna Pettigrew from Miss Pettigrew's Prints

Today's interview is with the very lovely and very talented Anna Pettigrew from Miss Pettigrew's Prints. As a skilled photographer, lino cutter and litho printer, Anna has many creative strings to her bow. 

Often there is a vast amount of work which contributes to a piece which never gets seen by the consumer of the final product. I think Anna's work really highlights this, with her clean, pared down style. Read on to find out more...

1: Having trained as a photographer can you tell us more about how that training informs your work?

Photography has a great impact on my printmaking. I went straight from school to art collage to do photography, and for a long while solely concentrated on that subject matter. Its hard to know how other minds work, but I'm very linear throughout the process of creating a piece. And I put that down to my photographers eye. I look at things in a certain way, that is definitely linked to my training in photography. I think the most noticeable way my photography background informs my printmaking practice is my need for simplicity, which I achieve through structure. I'm not (currently ) able to let the work overflow with colours and fluid shapes, rather I'm maybe a little controlling with it.

 Some of Anna's photography. Images - Anna Pettigrew

2. Can you tell us about your favourite aspects of Litho and Lino cut printing?

I love them both, for very different reasons.Initially I gravitated toward Lithography as a way to expand my current photography practice. I wanted to break my 'mold' and have a little fun!I really enjoy Litho, despite being very time consuming, for its ability to combine various imagery techniques. I use it to combine photographs I have taking, with images I have drawn in order to create a 'best of both worlds' result. And after straining my brain for a while with Lithography, I looked to lino-cutting for a bit of relaxation! The speed of which you can create a linocut is marvellous. I firstly hand draw my image directly onto the lino and set about carving it in a matter of hours. I love the relaxing quality of immersing myself onto a printing technique that is as simple as it is hands-on.

litho print - image Anna Pettigrew

linocut - image Anna Pettigrew

 3. How does the printing process influence the design of a piece?

The main thing to consider when designing a piece is what limitations your chosen printing process holds.Moving into printmaking has taught me a few lessons in letting go. I consider my self a purist with regards to my photography, wanting the best possible result without any digital or other kind of manipulation. But with lithography for example when you reproduce a photographic image on aluminium plates it will never be as good as when you shot it on film. So I have had to rethink my values, and see the beauty as well as the  benefit in the flaws that may appear during the printing process. 

Image - Anna Pettigrew

 4. Can you tell us more about how your time in Denmark informs your work?
Having been brought up mainly in Denmark, and having gone to school there, is evident throughout my work. I naturally gravitate towards a Scandinavian approach to my work. I think my simplicity and breathing space within my pieces reflect that. I feel at home when I look at Danish design/designers such as Norman Copenhagen and Arne Jacobsen. But I also feel that being Scottish is represented in my work. My work is nowhere near as clean cut as many of Scandinavia's artist are (or as weird!)   

 5. Name three major influences on your work
Music, Nature, Creative People

Music has a great influence on me. I write and play myself, which is a big part of who I am.Listening to music is medicine! People like Crosby, Stills and Nash are one of my all time favourites, as well as the much newer Rumor Said Fire, a fantastically atmospheric Danish band.

Image - Anna Pettigrew
Nature is so important to me and subsequently my work. Perhaps my photography illustrates that better than my current practice. But I feel very at home striding through the hills or wandering on the beach. Inspiration just springs at me when I'm out in nature.

People are a big influence. People that are multi-disciplinarians, who combine craft work with art and design, or food and writing. Also people who run blogs all about what they find beautiful, people who collect pretty imagery, that's all great stuff to me.  I'm very influenced by other people's creativity. 

6. Quitting the day job in 2009/10 seems like a brave and scary step for many people.

What have been the highlights for you? Not going to work! It's been very fruitful for my art. I've never created quite as much as throughout last year (2011). It's been a real pleasure going out in the world with my art, and being met with positivity. I'll not lie and say I'm a millionaire, in fact I'm probably below the UN's poverty line. But I have a unbelievable supportive boyfriend who in many ways has made this process possible. Eventually I might need to go back to a better paid job, but I'll do that happily knowing that I gave myself the opportunity to try my hand at what I love.

Image - Anna Pettigrew

7. Tell us more about your studio.. what's the view like?

Not that exciting to be honest..The studio I work in is Edinburgh Printmakers, which as an open access studio for printmakers. ( with no windows!) But it's a fantastic resource, and I couldn't do without it. But I do most of my prep work, as well as all my lino cutting at home in my flat in Edinburgh, which I share with my boyfriend. He has the spare room for his recording studio, and I pretty much have the living-room! My view in there is all the clutter of found treasures I've collected like shells, old photographs and a sheep's jaw bone!(it's not a scary thing to have, it's very beautiful in fact)

Image - Anna Pettigrew
 8. Do you have favourite tools, materials that you use in your work?
Well I couldn't live without my lino carving tools, or Somerset Paper. But mostly I love the finished result, so I'm not to fussy with my tools, as long as they are good quality, and work.

Image - Anna Pettigrew
 9. You have travelled a lot. Which places have inspired you most?
Good question..Canada, Iceland and Greenland - hold a special place for me. I love the vast open landscapes of those places, with snow and ice and the simple colours speak to me in a very special way. India, Nepal and the middle east are in stark contrast but the noise and smells and especially the open friendly faces of those country are incredible. And I can't not mention Italy. I love Italy like so many people do, for its super sophisticated cities, but also its rural beauty of the country side.

India. Image - Anna Pettigrew
 10. What can we look forward to seeing from Miss Pettigrew's Prints this year?
More lithography I think. Moving a little away from the smaller pieces, and towards some larger work.I have an idea that I've not had time for, but I think it deserves a little attention. It involves a little more complexity than some of my other work, so watch this space!

To see more of Anna's work - and maybe even make a purchase follow these links:


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