Meet the Maker: MintFlamingo
Hi - I’m Alex! I’m a freelance graphic designer by day, and a self-taught linocut printmaker by night. Although my day job is ‘creative’ I think I really fell in love with making/designing my own linocut prints as it allows me to create whatever I like, without being restricted by other peoples guidelines, clients and opinions. I make things for me and if other people love them and want to buy them – it’s just a massive added bonus!
How and where did you learn to print? / How long have you been printmaking?
I dabbled in linocut printing about 5 years ago, and kind of parked it as life got busier and busier. At the beginning of the first lockdown in 2020 I found my starter kit and I created little ‘stay sane’ postcards and sent them to all of my friends and family. From that point linocut printing became my escape from a noisy world, I find the entire process so therapeutic and it allows me to switch off temporarily.
I love printmaking so much because the results are just so varied, you can have a simple, bold design, or intricate reduction print - the limits really are endless. I love the texture you get from the ink on the page too, it gives work such energy, individuality and attitude – it’s something you just don’t get in digital design.
Where do you work?
My dad helped me renovate an old log shed in the garden into a studio last summer – I’m so lucky to have a place where I can get as messy as I like without having to worry about the dreaded clean up! The studio space is snug at 1.4m x 4m, but I have worked hard at creating different storage solutions and it is perfect for what I need! Luckily, I only have an A4 press (an Xpress Xcut machine with an extended printing bed) so it folds away neatly under my desk.
Describe your printmaking process.
I’m not too sure I have a ‘process’ as such. Sometimes an idea will pop in to my head and I will start scribbling on a piece of lino and just carve away. Other times, I will be a lot more calculated, sketch the idea out, mock it up on a computer, print the layers to then carve, stress about the idea and then eventually start carving.
Describe a typical day in your studio.
There is no typical day here! Every day is different. Working for myself means I have to be disciplined and prioritise ‘paid for’ work which can mean printmaking will sit on the back burner for a couple of weeks - but it also means that if I have a couple of days free up I get to spend a whole working day carving, printing and messing around with lino!
What inspires you?
Short answer; everything. Long answer; everyday moments, whether this be a butterfly fluttering around the garden, a beautiful bathroom in an Airbnb we stayed in for my birthday, or being in a plain and simple bad mood (hence the swear series)!
The printmaking community is incredible and seeing everyone’s work daily on instagram is a massive inspiration too - seeing people getting on and doing their thing is just incredible to see.
What is your favourite printmaking product?
Pfeil tools! Having high quality, sharp tools really does make a world of difference (my fingers are grateful for a lot less slips too!), the sharpening block is a must and the tolls are an investment, but I have slowly built my collection and they really are a dream to carve with.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
This is a hard question! Every time I make a sale on Etsy I feel incredibly proud; I can’t believe my art is out there in the world. Sales have dried up online recently, so every time I hear that *ka-ching* from Etsy I just feel so so grateful.
Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?
What will we be seeing from you next?
I am working on a print at the moment inspired by Icebergs Pool on Bondi Beach, I went in October to visit my sister and was just mesmerized by the waves crashing over the pool whilst the swimmers ploughed on!
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
My biggest piece of advice is something I have to keep reminding myself daily too… Make things for you, not others. Don’t base ‘success’ on sales or Instagram likes, we’re living in an ever-changing world where people are under all kind of stresses and pressures.
To see more from Alex, follow her on Instagram!