Meet the Maker: Gail Brodholt
I am a painter and printmaker based in London.
Describe your printmaking process.
I am mainly a linocut printmaker. I enjoy the straightforward process of cutting and printing a piece of lino as there is very little complicated procedures as there are in older forms of printmaking such as etching and lithography for example. You can basically set up a little printmaking studio on your kitchen table if you want to try making a linocut as there is no need for complicated equipment. Having said that, I do have a large Albion press, five plan chests etc. so things can get out of hand…
Generally, the established method is to start with the lightest colour and proceed through to the darkest but I prefer to use a dark colour first and then use more and more transparent layers of ink to create many different tones and shades of colour.
How and where did you learn to print?
I studied for a degree in Fine Art (painting) at art college and part of the course was spending a term printmaking. Although I didn’t catch the printmaking bug at the time as I was more painting with the painting process, I finally enrolled on a printmaking course at an adult education centre and I was hooked!
Printmaking is a great way of ringing the changes in your art practice. I paint and printmake and find the process of one will often inform and enhance the other. What this generally means is that when I am really fed up with, say, a painting, I can turn it to the wall and go and do a linocut!
Where do you work?
I have my studio at Thames Side Studios in Woolwich which overlooks the Thames Barrier. It is a complex of 300 plus studios and I find it helpful to go out to work as I am too easily distracted at home, with dogs, tortoises, the garden etc. – the list is very long!
Describe a typical day in your studio.
A typical working day starts, as I am sure it does with most printmakers, with a cup of tea (or two). I catch up with news with my fellow printmaker and
studio mate, Louise Davies, and then we both get to work. She is an etcher so it’s very interesting to compare notes on our different approaches to
our work. I work through the day and come home when I feel like it, which is one of the perks of being self employed!
How long have you been printmaking?
I have been printmaking for about 20 years and before that I mostly painted.
What inspires you?
I get most of my inspiration from those often ignored corners of London. We all spend such a lot of time these days on our mobile devices with our headphones in, that we often have ‘no time to stand and stare’ as the poem, Leisure, by WH Davies expresses so well. This is why I love stations of all kinds so much – people are so focused on getting to their destination that they are not really aware of their surroundings. I like to watch people as they’re travelling from one place to another as they are often preoccupied and unguarded.
What is your favourite printmaking product?
My favourite printmaking product is my drying rack. It’s the sort that has marbles suspended in a wooden frame and it’s such a simple yet clever idea and I often admire that unknown person’s ingenuity in inventing it as I hang my prints up to dry.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
I’m always most proud of the latest print I’ve made because it’s fresh and I haven’t had to edition yet. Of course it’s soon superseded by the next one, as it should be. That’s why we all keep working I guess!
Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?
I have a number of galleries who stock my work and I have a list of those on my website: www.gailbrodholt.com. I will also sell unframed work to be sent through the post if needed.
What will we be seeing from you next?
I’m working (very slowly!) on an idea which involves the south circular road in London. It is a very busy thoroughfare but parts of it are lined with modest semi-detached half timbered 1930s houses with little lawns and roses around the doors. It’s an interesting contrast with the roaring lorries and buses etc. that endlessly thunder past their front doors.
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
My only advice really is to keep working. Try to do a little every day if possible and not be discouraged by rejection. So many talented printmakers don’t get the recognition they deserve because they get put off by how hard it can be. I guess you need to develop a thick skin.
To see more of Gail Brodholt’s work: