An Interview with Imprint Artist, April Flanders
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By Sayaka Matsuoka (Intern)
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April Flanders, one of the artists showing works in our Imprint exhibition that recently opened, "builds up volume in brilliantly colored print installations composed of groupings of forms taken from nature.

Flanders' installations often serve as cautionary tales such as "Outbreak Populations" in which plant forms appear to overrun gallery walls like a scientific experiment gone awry. Imprint presents two new installations based on monoprints addressing human impact on natural species."

-Edie Carpenter, Head curator at Greenhill

Flanders has held one-person shows in various galleries nationally and internationally including the Center for the Book Arts, in New York and the Anna Leonowens Gallery at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada. Flanders received her Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Arizona State University, and she has taught the art of printmaking for twelve years at various universities not only in the US but around the globe. She currently holds a full-time teaching position at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

Spread by Birds by April Flanders

One of our interns was recently able to interview April on her recent works being shown in the exhibition now at Greenhill.

How long have you been printmaking?

I've been making prints since about 1992, started when I was in college, I guess I would have been about your age.

Well why printmaking? I mean, why did you choose printmaking as opposed to all of the other mediums?

Well like I said, I started while I was in college and it really took off for me when a man named William Walmsley came and talked to my 2D art class. He was a lithographer and I really liked his color schemes. Later, as I got more interested, I took print making classes and began to study it seriously.

What exactly is that? Lithography?

Lithography is very basically the idea that oil and water don't mix. It's a very specific process for making prints and it's very precise.

So it's kind of like a science then like chemistry.

Oh yeah, very much so. There's a lot of cooking and timing and everything has to be monitored.

That's so cool, now about your theme. It's very nature oriented and incorporates a lot of animals. Why is that?

Well this series is centered on the problem of outbreaks of invasive species and a lot of my new works incorporate this idea. I started with research on invasive species around the Appalachian area (where I live) and then I delved deeper into more research and branched out. I soon began to realize that this problem is veyr much a gloal one that affects many animals of many regions. Once I got hooked on this subject, I just found an encyclopedia of invasive species and drew inspiration for shapes and prints from there.

That's very interesting, especially something this specific and not as well known. So why invasive species? Why not just about exotic animals or animals native to the Appalachian area?

I've always been motivated by social and political issues and even though this is an environmental one, it definitely affects all areas of society. I'm a naturalist at heart and I even harvested my own invasive plants to make these prints. You can even see some of the ants that got caught in the paper. I think that this is a huge problem that doesn't get enough attention and legislation really doesn't pay enough mind.

That makes sense. I love that you're using this medium and your talents to showcase an important issue such as this one. One thing that I've also noticed about your works, especially compared to some of the other artists in this exhibition is your choice of colors. They are very bright and vibrant. Why did you choose these specific colors?

Well, I used to favor earth tones and more subdued hues but I eventually branched out and embraced color. Once I did, I began mixing my own colors and a lot of these are based on the plants and animals that I incorporated into my works. 

That's a very unique way to directly incorporate the subject matter into the work itself. Well thank you for taking the time to sit and have this interview with me. Is there anything else you would like to say about your works or about printmaking?

I guess I just love the idea of using prints and printmaking to make a larger 3D work. It gives it a very sculptural quality and becomes a different experience.


If you'd like to learn more about April's works visit her website here. Otherwise, you can come see some of her works in person in our Imprint exhibition going on through March.