MFA graduate publishes book of prints
Karinna Gomez, an MFA graduate and current adjunct printmaking professor, recently published some of her printmaking work in a book of poetry entitled “The After.” The poet, Melinda Mueller, based out of Seattle, contacted Gomez after seeing some of her prints displayed at Davidson Galleries in Seattle.
“The book is kind of a sorrowing about how we leave the world altered,” Gomez said. “Somehow the aesthetic of my prints went with the tone of the poems.”
“They sought me out and I had never really done anything like this before and thought it would be kind of cool,” Gomez said.
The prints included in the book are mostly mezzotints, a drypoint printmaking technique of engraving on copper or other surfaces by burnishing or scraping away at an already roughened surface. The surface of the copper, which Gomez uses, is roughened with the use of a tool called a rocker.
The book also includes several etchings, a process which uses acid or other chemicals to cut into the unprotected parks of a metal surface to create a design.
The poetry in the book discusses the extinction of animals, specifically birds.
Gomez said she likes how the book turned out but would usually prefer to work in closer collaboration with the other artists.
The poetry in the book is very dark, Gomez said, and she doesn’t normally think of her own prints that way.
“We made our work independently of each other and then put them together after, which is so different from making art to go with something specific,” Gomez said. “It’s one way to do it. I think for this project it turned out pretty nice. The tone of the poem is not the same as the tone of my work but it’s interesting to see them together. It takes on its own meaning.”
Gomez’ prints have not been published before but this project has given her some ideas about future projects.
“I’m interested in collaborating with other poets,” Gomez said. “I could see doing more of that but in a much more collaborative way.”
Gomez will be working with local band, Harm, for future collaboration. The bands singer, Rebecca Menzia, approached Gomez about creating some album art for the group’s new album which will be record in January, Gomez said. The band also wants to include Gomez’ work in a potential book of poetry created by Harm member, Heather Warren.
“I think this will be really interesting,” Gomez said. “I think that will be more like a direct collaboration where we’re I’m making the work with their music and poetry in mind.”
Gomez received her undergraduate degree in art at Northwestern university in Evanston, Illinois. That is where she discovered her fascination with printmaking, she said. She then completed her MFA at UAF. Many of the prints in The After were made while Gomez was completing her master’s degree.
Recently Gomez has been working in other mediums however, such as drawing and collage work.
“I haven’t decided yet but I think I might do some sort of collage work for the Harm collaboration,” Gomez said.
Each artistic technique works better than others for subject according to Gomez.
“A lot of the mezzotints shown in this book are showing communication towers, substations and power plants,” Gomez said. “That kind of imagery and the mezzotint technique lends this kind of glowing feeling to whatever is rendered and so it just kind of represents the electricity which relates directly to the subject.”
This year, Gomez plans to continue collaboration with other artists, while teaching introductory printmaking classes on campus. Her work may include more mediums than just printmaking however.
“Collages have this kind of departure in imagery. They have the potential to be a little more figurative,” Gomez said. “I started making them as a way to figure out how I wanted to use color in my prints and now I sort of love making them so its been a big change from my previous work.”
Gomez plans, this year, to take what she has learned from making collages and incorporate back into her printmaking.
“The subjects will be different and there will more colorful elements,” Gomez said. “I might try some mixed techniques where I use etching, mezzotint and woodcut in one image to create a kind of collage feeling.”
Her biggest project over the next year will be working to create her next big body of prints based on previously created collages, along with teaching printmaking and drawing classes in spring semester.
Mueller is a science teacher at the Seattle Academy for Arts and Sciences and has one previously published book of poetry titled “What the Ice Gets.”