Artist of the Month Jonathan Emmerson

Written by Kirke Raava

On July 1, 2018

1.How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)? 

I make woodcuts and lino prints. The process starts with a lot of drawing. I really enjoy thinking about how I’m going make the print – thinking in layers. I’ve found having limitations makes me think harder about the image. A lot can change though when I start carving especially with the woodcut as the grain sometimes dictates what you can do which helps keep things fresh.  Key themes in my work would be looking at the natural world, exploring pattern.

“Pollinators”, woodcut print, Jonathan Emmerson

2. What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc)?

I’m working on a series of natural history inspired prints for the, a pop up exhibition in St Albans, 6th – 13th July. The series involves newts, bees and other insects.

3. What are your plans for the coming year?

I’m exhibiting new work at Herts Open Studios 8th – 30th September at www.marksandtilt.comI’m working on some woodcut commissions and designing woodcut patterns for textiles and wallpapers. I also plan to teach an after school art class in St Albans.

4. What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?

I’m always asked how long it took me to make my prints – I think it’s because my work has a lot of detail. Although carving can be time consuming at least 50% of the total time goes into designing the prints.

“The Swimmers” ,woodcut print, Jonathan Emmerson

5. What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?

One of my earliest memories is playing with the loose Victorian floor tiles at my parents’ old house – I loved the patterns! When I was about 14 I went to a Picasso exhibition at the Tate and that’s when I decided I wanted to be an artist.

6. Which artist do you most admire and why?

It’s hard to choose – there are so many artists I admire. I loved seeing the Enid Marx exhibition at the House of Illustration. But if I had to pick one artist it would be Max Ernst, he had so many ideas.

7. How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as
an artist?
Being a print member at Digswell has made me more focused. The print room is a great space to work in. It’s inspiring to see other artists working – and they’re all lovely! Being involved in the open studios at Digswell has been great too.

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