Hello all, welcome to Part 3 of of a a series of interviews where I chat with fellow printmakers called Printmakers Unite!
I started these interviews in hope that I will get around to having a chat with this printmaker whose work I really do admire, Ieuan Edwards!
Ieuan has been working with linocut since 2012. His early work centred around the people and places of the ex coal mining communities in South Wales, where his grandfather was a miner. He named his practice The Black Gold Press because "black gold" is a term that was sometimes used to describe coal. His other areas of interest include folklore, tradition (the stranger, the better!), eccentricity and exploration. As well as making and exhibiting limited edition prints, Ieuan has worked on a number of interesting collaborative projects and has produced illustrations for books, CD covers and music merchandise.
BC: Thanks for allowing me to interview you, how are you today?
IE: I'm great thank you. It's an absolute pleasure. I've enjoyed reading the previous interviews and it's always interesting to find out what makes people tick and what inspires them.
What initially gave you the idea to start talking to other printmakers?
BC: Now that's a good question, well after having a few interviews with bloggers where I usually get asked the same questions about my print work I thought why not interview other people like me starting with printmakers who use linocut as I was interested in the different styles you can go with it and their backstories.
Even though I can probably guess the answer but for the people reading this, what is the origins behind the name The Black Gold Press?
: I live in Broadstairs in Kent but you can tell from my name that my heritage lies in Wales. My grandfather was a miner in the Rhondda and lots of my work has depicted the people and the infrastructure associated with mining. "Black gold" was a term used to describe coal in the industry's heyday, plus they are two colours that I use a lot in my work! The image that I use for my logo (for want of a better word) is a mine rescue worker from the 1930s.
Bonfire Cherry is a distinctive name and definitely captures the mood and style of your work. What's the story?
BC: That's an interesting story, the story behind that goes back to 2010 when I was in college and for my final major project I was going to do a fictional t-shirt business and I was struggling to come up with a name. I was coming home on bonfire night drinking a cherry coke which I rarely drink and spilt some over my hand going past a house where the two words Bonfire & Cherry came to mind. It was a toss up between Cherry Bonfire or Bonfire Cherry and well you know which one I went with in the end.
I am a huge fan of your work (a bit jealous to be honest but as explained earlier we have different styles) and noticed all the different projects you have worked on. What is the biggest achievement with your print work so far?
IE: Ah, cool back story! I'm glad you appreciate my work. Your stuff is ace and I find it fascinating that there are so many folks out there using linocut (which is essentially the simplest form of printmaking other than potato printing) but with so many different styles and touches. In terms of achievements, I'm particularly proud of the work that I've done with the brilliant musician Dan Turnbull aka Funke and the Two Tone Baby over the last couple of years and I've been lucky enough to work with some wonderful people on collaborations and group projects. The one that springs to mind was my interpretation of a really moving poem by John Mansell as part of the Artipeeps "Loneliness" project. In terms of critical/technical achievements, I recently managed to get my "Ammonite Boy" piece into Global Matrix IV, an exhibition of prints from around the world that will be touring across the USA over the next year or so. There are only a couple of lino pieces in the show, so it's nice to represent our humble medium amongst other forms of printmaking such as etching and screenprinting.
Have you tried any other forms of printmaking? Any luck with them?
BC: Wow that’s really amazing well done. Only screen and mono printing during college and that's about it, did like screen printing a few years ago after college but didn't go well.
Do you have a studio or a section of a house where you do your print work?
IE: For the messy stuff I've got my big etching press set up in our conservatory but otherwise for the drawing/carving stages I tend to work in various bits of the house, depending on the time of day and how the light is. My wife is very patient but I'm looking for some studio space at the moment and I think she'll be happy once I've found somewhere! I'm always keen to show people that you can get started with printmaking in quite a self-contained manner and I'm working on putting together a workshop that will enable complete novices to come along for the day, learn some techniques and then walk away with all the kit they need to start making great prints on the kitchen table.
BC: That's a really good idea, I draw all the ideas in my bedroom/studio and do all my printing in the shed.
Out of all your designs you have produced so far, any you consider your overall favourite?
IE: I guess from a technical perspective I'm particularly fond of some of my industrial pieces of cranes and other complicated structures as they were printed in reduction and were a real test of my registration skills as the details were pretty fine. But my favourite so far is a single colour print, Mountain Giant, which I made as part of a group project based on Norse mythology. It shows a giant nestled in a valley amongst mining machinery and buildings. I've sold the print to a couple of people who also had relatives that worked as miners and it always sparks conversations at art fairs and shows.
You've produced a huge variety of work. Do you have a favourite?
: Yeah I remember seeing that, very impressive!
All time favourite it has to be my Camera No.2 print based on a Bell & Howell camera it's been one of my most popular designs, did have the print of it at my shop til recently but still got a badge version of it.
Who inspires you?
IE: From the art world? That would take all day to answer so I'll keep it short and try not to overthink my answer! From a relief printmaking point of view I love the classic stuff by Kathe Kollwitz, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. Stanley Donwood's print work for Radiohead has been insanely good. Billy Childish makes some pretty decent woodcuts and I love his painting. Other contemporary favourites would be Shepard Fairey and Takashi Murakami. I take a lot of inspiration from music too, having made a few pieces based on song titles and lyrics, and it's always great to collaborate with musicians.
I know that you're into Roy Lichtenstein, one of my favourites too. Have you seen any of his stuff up close and personal?
Those are a few new names for me to research into after our chat. Yes a bit fan of his work, I managed to see his work at the tate modern a few years back with one of my favourite piece of work from him is WHAAM! I do like Jamie Hewlett's work of Gorrilaz fame.
I think for the last question I can think of, where can people find your work? (both online and in the real world)
: Hewlett is great. I've got tickets to see Gorillaz in a few weeks down the road from me at Dreamland in Margate and I'm hoping the visuals will be spectacular. Over the next month or so I have a solo show at the York Street Gallery in Ramsgate (31st May - 7th June
) and I'll then be in a 5 person show as part of the Medway Print Festival, at the Nucleus Gallery in Chatham (8th - 21st June
) alongside four other ace linocut printmakers - Mat Pringle, Cath Deeson, Kate Neame and Ben Dickson. They're all really worth checking out. My website www.blackgoldpress.co.uk
is the best place to start online as it has links to my social media and a list of other shows and fairs coming up over the rest of 2017, as well as a range of my work etc.
Thanks Matthew, that was fun. Good luck with your upcoming events!
BC: You're welcome + Thanks for allowing me to interview you!
I hope you enjoyed this interview, please do comment below your thoughts :)
Thanks for reading