ONES TO WATCH / LINNET VAN VEEN
To celebrate the opening of our very first Ones To Watch showcase exhibition in London (at our friends Buhler and Co in Walthamstow), it gives us great pleasure to introduce the latest aspiring creative to join our growing group of talented, emerging artists. Say hello to Amsterdam-based London College of Communications graduate and Josie Molloy-inspired print fiend, Linnet Van Veen.
Prints from Linnet's 'Floor Plans' (bottom) and 'The Art of Walking' (top) projects
We first met Linnet when she was assisting Look Up artist Josie Molloy at one of our Screengrab-hosted printmaking workshops. Linnet brought some prints with her, and we liked them so much we invited her to be our next Ones To Watch. A few weeks later we met in the printmaking department at LCC, where Linnet – close to graduating – was busy taking advantage of the printmaking department's bountiful facilities; having fun with stone lithography. With plans to do an MA, it’s clear that Linnet has a genuine passion for the vast creative potential of print. The perfect time then, to have a chat about all things inky…
Vibrant textures – Linnet experiments with stone lithography
Look Up Hi Linnet. It’s been a few months since we met in the print rooms at LCC. Apart from moving to Amsterdam, what have you been up to?
Linnet Van Veen I’ve been working in an organic food store, working on personal projects, preparing my MA applications... I'm applying to MA courses in textile design, as well as printmaking MAs, in London, Glasgow, and the Netherlands.
LU How’s life in Amsterdam? Have you had time to find a print studio and get involved in the local scene?
LVV I’m enjoying life in Amsterdam but I do miss London… I’ve found a couple of places to print, but I'm looking for one that has facilities for both stone lithography and screenprinting. My last project combined stone lithography with mono-printing, and I’m keen to explore that more. I've had my work showcased in various places, and I’m chatting to a book store about displaying my screenprints.
Detail of a unique silkscreen print from Linnet's 'Floor Plans' series
LU What are you working on at the moment?
LVV Screenprinting is a passion of mine, but it’s also a medium I use to make work with other applications. I’m a fan of interior design and am currently working on window art. In Amsterdam there are street-height windows, so instead of hanging up curtains I’ve created a window artwork using a series of abstract patterns. It blocks the view from outside, and it’s another interesting way of displaying art in the home.
LU Going back in time, please can you remind me what first drew you to the myriad pleasures of printmaking?
LVV I did the Foundation at LCC, then an Illustration degree. I was introduced to screenprinting during the foundation year, but my interest in printmaking really took off during my degree, when my tutors advised me to pursue it further… But what drew me in was the textures and the unique characteristics of printmaking. I enjoy the level of control you have over the process; how easy it is to return to a print and change it, which is really handy with my work. My work focuses on colour and combinations of colours, so with screenprinting I can quickly change a colour and see the effects, as well as instantly creating a finished print.
Detail – Linnet experiments with stone lithography
LU Did you plan to make printmaking a core part of your work on the Illustration degree, or were you just drawn by the magnetic pull of the print room?
LVV The magnetic pull of the print room, for sure. It went on to play a vital role in how my work developed. I did as many workshops and as much experimenting as I could to learn what more about printmaking techniques, and that shaped how I illustrated and made work. I didn’t plan to make printmaking such a central part of my work, but the more I experimented with printmaking the more my work evolved. All of my degree projects used printmaking, so it became central to my thought process and experimentation.
LU Your Floor Plans project has an autobiographical, illustrative approach, telling the story of the different houses you’ve lived in… How did that come about? Were you answering a specific brief?
LVV We were given the word Traces as a brief, and invited to take any approach. I hadn’t done a personal project on the course, but that brief – specifically the word Traces – presented the perfect opportunity. We moved around a lot and my mom is really interested in architecture, so growing up I got to experience and live in several very different homes. When it came to my response – the Floor Plans project – I was able to reflect on my past and express that through my printmaking.
Unique silkscreen print from Linnet's 'Floor Plans' series
LU You mentioned that the colours of certain Floor Plans correspond directly to emotions you experienced when living in the corresponding home? How did you marry up emotions and colours?
LVV I use colour theory in connection to interior design. The study of how colours affect the atmosphere of a room. I also looked at how advertising uses colour to evoke certain emotions. I then combined the two and made my own interpretations.
LU Outside of the Floor Plans project, what usually inspires your decision to use certain colours over others? Does it change from project to project?
LVV During the research part of a project, I look into colour theory to see which colours work well together. In most of my projects, my surroundings have an influence, so I also look around me for colour inspiration. Then I go to the print room, test the colours, and when I start making the prints I usually make a few small adjustments, to make sure the colours work together.
Gem-like colours – unique silkscreen print from Linnet's 'Floor Plans' series
LU Architecture is a recurring subject in your work. The Art of Walking project was inspired by areas you passed through walking to LCC in Elephant and Castle. How did that project came about?
LVV During the Traces project I knew I wanted my work to interpret and focus on architecture. The Art of Walking was a natural continuation of some of the themes and ideas I explored for the Traces project. However, instead of focusing on interiors, I looked up at the architecture around me. In the final print from my Traces project, the composition of the Floor Plans are arranged in the order I lived in the houses. In doing so, I realised that I was telling a story – illustrating a journey. That became a theme I wanted to continue in The Art of Walking. I then started to stretch my interpretation of the architecture, because it’s impossible to fit a whole journey in one print. The print became a panorama (which you can see here), with several prints joined together – that way, viewers get to join you on the journey, as they walk alongside the print. The imagery is based on my interpretations of the architecture along my route, but the abstract nature of the imagery enables viewers to interpret the journey in their own way.
Prints from Linnet's 'The Art of Walking' series
LU Look Up artist Josie Molloy is one of the technicians in the printmaking department at LCC. Did you learn any valuable lessons from Josie?
LVV Josie taught me a few things about printmaking techniques – how to print better, why certain things happen in a print, how to avoid or embrace them. The main thing Josie taught me was to always have fun in the print room; the atmosphere created by Josie and the other technicians was one of the main reasons I came back to print.
LU You assisted Josie on one of our Look Up screenprinting workshops, where we introduce beginners to the joys of printmaking. Did you enjoy the workshop, and sharing your passion for print?
LVV I most definitely did. Printmaking can seem overwhelming when you see all the equipment and preparation needed, but once you start printing you know why (you went to such great lengths). Sharing my passion for print felt easy in the workshops, because we got to demonstrate some of the cool things you can do with printmaking. People enjoy being creative, especially when they’re making something with their hands – and screenprinting is such a fast, fun way of making an artwork.
Linnet experiments with stone lithography in the printmaking department at LCC
LU What’s coming up next for you?
LVV I'm applying to MA courses, so hopefully I'll be starting one of those soon... I’m really keen to explore textile printing, while continuing my research into the effects architecture and interior spaces can have on our emotions. While I’m studying textile design, I’ll carry on making works on paper – creating new prints and trying to get my work out there, into the world…
Prints from Linnet's 'Floor Plans' (bottom) and 'The Art of Walking' (top) projects
As you probably know if you're a regular reader of this blog, we are huge fans of colour. Linnet's approach to colour – especially on her Floor Plans project – is both considered and refreshingly inventive. The individual prints in that series work superbly in their own right, as vibrant exercises in geometric abstraction. However, the underlying storytelling element is every bit as appealing – giving the imagery depth and foundations. Needless to say, we are big fans. Here's wishing Linnet all the best of luck in finding the right Textile or Printmaking MA course. We don't known where she'll end up, but we do know that she is definitely one to watch...
Linnet Van Veen on Instagram
Linnet Van Veen on Wordpress
Check out the other profiles in our Ones To Watch series here