Meet the Maker: FamousAdolf
My name is Adolf, like the famous one. I was born in Barcelona 37 years ago and I spent my childhood watching TV and eating lots of bread and chocolate. When I got older I got a degree in Advertising and Public Relations that I never really used. I worked as a Graphic Designer in London for a while, then I moved back to Barcelona where I tripled as an Illustrator, Animator and Graphic Designer until I made Printmaking my main source of income.
Describe your printmaking process.
I usually sketch the print I want to make in one of my sketchbooks or I directly draw it in Photoshop. Then I transfer it to a block and carve it using mostly a couple of Pfeil Gouges. Once the carving process is done, I usually use an ink pad to ink the small blocks and the same baren for the last ten years to press it. Lately, I've been using a roll and a Ritualis A3 printing press for bigger blocks.
How and where did you learn to print?
When I was in my late twenties I signed up to an Illustration class only to get out of the house and fight depression. One day the teacher came in with a bunch of different carving blocks and gauges. I had never seen something like that before. We played around with it for a while and I immediately found myself drawn to it. The teacher said I could buy these materials in a shop called Vostok that had recently opened in Barcelona. That day when I left the class I went to the shop and bought a starter kit that had some gauges and a carving block. With that I taught myself how to carve and print. In time, I got better at it. I still keep that starter kit alongside my depression.
Because it allows me to spend time alone with one of the few people I like, myself. It's quiet and lonely and I can do it in my pyjamas. Nobody tells me how to do it or to do some last minute changes. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to do when I grew up, I always said anything that can be done from home in my pyjamas. It turned out it was printmaking.
Where do you work?
I work from home. I have set up a small studio that serves me well to do my carvings and then print them.
Describe a typical day in your studio.
I wake up a little later than I should. Quick visit to the bathroom. I have decaf coffee in my Spiderman mug that has been missing its handle for more than ten years. I take off my pyjamas and put on some clothes. I walk the dog. I go back home and I change into my pyjamas again. I answer some emails and do a couple of sudokus. I do a little carving before lunch. I have lunch. I do a little more carving. If I'm done with carving and there's still sunlight (I live in Barcelona so there's probably sunlight when I'm done carving) I print some copies. I sit on my sofa and I crack a beer open while I watch the prints dry and I say to myself "I have the best job in the world".
How long have you been printmaking?
I had been printing on and off for about 5 years and then I've been constant at it for the last 5. I'm not very good at Math but I think that's about 10 years in total.
What inspires you?
I don't really know what inspiration is. I know there are some things I steal from such as American superhero comics from the 60's and 70's, TINTIN, vintage toys, Science Fiction, Graphic Design, Architecture or old Packaging Design.
What is your favourite printmaking product?
I'd have to go with Softcut by Essdee, it's what all my drawers are filled with and the material I work the most with. It has the perfect balance between hard and soft so you can have a good control of the gouge while carving it. Also cold beer.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
I once made a Focaccia that was pretty decent.
Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?
What will we be seeing from you next?
I'm working on bigger pieces. It is something I have been wanting to do for a while and I'm so glad I got around to make them.
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
Try every material there is until you find something that feels comfortable and helps you achieve what you are looking for. Then do it over and over until you get good at it.
To see more from Adolf, follow him on Instagram!