Our latest Dragon’s Lair Gallery artist Julie Holohan studied Art History and Curatorship at the Australian National University and after moving to Sydney she studied printmaking at Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery. Her current body of work showcases linocuts and paintings that tell the story of coral encrusted pottery, created in China in the year 830. Her exhibition Bridging time and place will be on show at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 3 – 25 August 2019.
Julie recently took some time to answer some questions about her techniques and art practice.
Can you explain your technique and how you manipulate your chosen medium?
I draw directly onto the Lino and then as I’m cutting I make adjustments. I use the reduction method to cut the Lino so I only have one plate and for each colour I progressively cut away more so at the end all I’m left with are the black lines. So I can never make any more prints from this plate.
What I cut initially preserves the white page as when I roll the ink on the Lino it stays on the surface. I then place the paper on the Lino and put it through the printing press. If I want to make a second print I have to re-ink the plate and put it through the press. While the first colour is drying I clean the plate and cut away what I want to leave as this colour, and apply the next colour.
It is a long process.
Can you give us an insight into your artistic process? Is your work pre-planned or created intuitively?
The difficulty in planning an exhibition is deciding on a unifying theme which inspires you to produce a large body of work over time. I found my theme by chance on a holiday in Singapore. I caught a wise eyed boat to my destination and having an hour to spare; I crossed over a bridge, entered the Museum, and discovered an exhibition of Tang pottery. Much of it was restored but many pieces still retained their coral coating which I found beautiful.
So the story of how all this came about became my theme for Bridging time and place.
I started by creating Celadon and Clothed in coral, pottery floating on the white page. As I went on I used different shapes and then told the complete story from shipwreck and underwater world complete with coral.
The watercolours take several days but the large Lino cuts may take me 11 weeks. This is because cutting the Lino takes time and is physically hard on the hands and eyes so I limit myself to 2 hours at a time.
Do you keep some kind of ongoing drawing book or diary? Or a collection of images or photographs for inspiration?
I love looking at other artists visual art diaries but I’m a bit erratic in my own use of them. I do take photos for reference. I guess I’m always short on time so I tend to plunge in and let things develop as they go along. It’s an evolving process.
Who are your favourite artists? Who do you draw inspiration from?
My artistic influences are Giorgio Miranda for his serene still life and his draftsmanship shown in his prints. I love JMW Turners later works and also Andrew Wyeth for his watercolours. I also greatly admire the landscapes of Australian artist Max Angus.
I’ve been lucky to have inspiring teachers, from Noel Ford who taught me watercolour in Canberra and Laura Stark my Sydney printmaking teacher. My father gave me my first paint set and has always supported me in creative pursuits.