Amy Firestone Rosen, of St. Louis, MO, combines the physical texture of the layered surfaces on which she prints with the visual texture of the fabrics and whole garments she uses to apply ink to surface. The result is complex and elegant, equally in representational and abstract works. See Firestone Rosen's work in person through January 27th, and learn a little more about this artist.
HANNAH REEVES: I know that you’ve worked for most of your career as a graphic designer. What drew you to printmaking? How have you shifted your attention from one visual medium to another?
AMY FIRESTONE ROSEN: As a Graphic Designer all of my designs were based on my clients' criteria. I wanted to explore my own creative medium. It started when my husband and I were renovating our basement with the leftover ceiling tiles. I used the original tiles as the canvas and created a series of paintings.
I sold a series to an art collector and she suggested that I pursue printmaking. Printmaking allowed me to explore my own creativity and I found this empowering to let me create my own vocabulary.
HR: Could you share the story of how you arrived at the idea to print directly with cloth and garments?
AFR: The idea of using clothing goes back to when I was a child. I loved cutting out paper dolls and with my mother’s encouragement, I created my own paper doll clothing. As I was exploring printmaking I thought I could use repurposed clothing items as my plate. I loved how the press captured the image of the clothing. For the slip series, I found that I was drawn to the patterns and layers that I could not duplicate with other mediums. The power of the press creates images from clothing that captures every detail. The slips have human figurative quality.
HR: How does it serve the message or effect of your work to print with cloth? Is there something that you’re able to show your viewers, or something that you hope it’ll bring to mind for them?
AFR: As I search for clothing garments at used clothing stores, I wonder about the original owner and why he or she made their purchase. Was it for a special occasion or everyday use? I hope the viewer can draw an emotional message. It may be sensual or sadness, but wish for the viewer to be intrigued.
HR: Not all artists can successfully work with both representational imagery and abstraction. Your work is split between these approaches and yet seems very cohesive as a set; it all clearly embodies your aesthetic. Do you approach abstract and representational pieces differently? Does one method bring something to the work that the other doesn’t?
AFR: I do not believe I approach abstract and representational pieces differently. I feel I approach each piece as a composition and design. The concept may change based on the type of medium I choose to use, but the process of composing the work is the same.
HR: I always like to ask: What’s your studio quirk?
AFR: I like creating my own rules!