Interview with Esther Boehm
WHAT MADE YOU COME TO DOCKING?
Proximity to the coast and London as well as the dry windy atmosphere which dries the screens more quickly! Childhood memories – my grandmother was born and lived in Norfolk all her life.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GETTING LINKED UP WITH THE ARTISTIC COMMUNITY IN NORFOLK?
Moving to Norfolk and meeting Liz Falconbridge at the Kings Lynn Arts Centre created links to the local art scene and thats how I got involved with WNAA. Its such a diverse group as well and provided opportunities to exhibit and lead numerous workshops and meet interesting artists.
HOW DID YOU COME TO FIND AND SET UP YOUR AMAZING STUDIO SPACE?
The space I presently occupy at Wagg Courtyard used to be a boat store and became available just at the time I was looking for something away from home. It is a perfect environment – semi-industrial but with gallery space for displaying large work.
YOUR APPROACH TO SILK SCREEN PRINTING IS NOT AT ALL TRADITIONAL AND SEEMS MORE LIKE PAINTING THAN PRINTMAKING. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO USE THE SCREEN FOR YOUR TECHNIQUE?
I am an informal printmaker. My practice involves drawing and painting directly onto open silk screens as well as wet on wet to the printed surface. The screens act as a catalyst, the element of chance and the accidental creating opportunities to expand ideas. I can experiment much more now that I am no longer in a restrictive domestic setting which is exciting.
COULDN’T YOU JUST PAINT?
Good question but no not really. Perhaps not knowing quite what’s going to happen is key for me. Also working flat is quite different. A painter is consciously applying paint to a canvas and seeing all the time what is happening – this would make me contrived and self-conscious. May be its too difficult! Recently I have been experimenting with painting directly onto the surface and applying unmixed dyes in powder form. I tend to work on unstretched canvas and now mostly heavy duty paper.
WHAT IS THE MAIN MOTIVATION AND THEME OF YOUR WORK?
My surroundings particularly the coast and to participate in exhibitions.
THE FIGURE (HUMAN FORM) AND YOUR INDIVIDUAL INTERPRETATION OF IT ALSO PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN YOUR WORK. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR APPROACH?
I have always drawn from life right from my earliest days as an art student at Shrewsbury. The opportunity to attend Helen Breach’s classes at Castle Acre has continued my interest and are invaluable to my present practice. Now I am trying to make something more (than charcoal/pencil drawings) by experimenting from memory and painting directly onto silk screens and printing with a variety of media. Afterwards ,sometimes making relief prints from the original one off print, creating different marks and textures.
AT GOLDSMITHS AND IN YORKSHIRE YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET DAVID HOCKNEY. WAS THERE ANY PARTICULAR ADVICE OR INSPIRATION HE LEFT YOU WITH AS AN ARTIST?
Meeting David Hockney at Goldsmiths was memorable in that he was so well known and as young students we were in awe! However I met him again in Paris at the opening of his exhibition at the Picasso Museum in 2000 and he generously stopped the attendants from turning me away, as I had no invitation, and took me round the show himself. We talked mainly about the work in hand and how nervous he felt and he invited me to visit him at Salts Mill in Yorkshire where the entrepreneur Johnathen Silver has created the David Hockney Museum. Well worth a visit. His strong work ethic and stunning draughtsmanship influenced me most of all.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER NOTEWORTHY INFLUENCES?
The great post-war Textile Designer Shirley Craven who became my personal tutor at college. And meeting her recently at the Kings Lynn Arts Centre where she had a touring Retrospective Show.
Also the inspirational drawing master Len McComb at Goldsmiths during the eighties and the abstract painter Basil Beattie.
WILL YOU BE TAKING PART IN OPEN STUDIOS?
Yes I will and look forward to this year’s event. Also I will be leading a Workshop for Cley 17 which takes place alongside “Connectivity” this year’s theme. Further details will be published on the Cley 17 website later in the year.
After graduating in fine art/textiles from London Goldsmith’s College in 1988, Lydia set up her first studio at Glasshouses Mill (a former Flax mill) in the Yorkshire Dales. It was there that she developed her specialist techniques in silk screen painting and printing. She created individual commissions from huge wall-hangings to smaller personalised works, and also ran many workshops for third sector organisations in the area.
Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios
27 May – 11 June 2017
Cley 17 Contemporary Art
6 July – 6 August 2017