Ellie Honl – Bloomington, Indiana

Head in the Sand, 34"x21", screenprint, collagraph, drypoint, collage, sewing, wood

Head in the Sand, 34″x21″, screenprint, collagraph, drypoint, collage, sewing, wood

Briefly describe the work you do.

Much of my artwork has investigated one’s emotional state and the effect that has on perception.  Currently, my artwork is about the human desire to find stability in an unsteady present and unpredictable future.  Although these subjects might be considered dark territory, the details, surfaces, and playful colors of the art lure the viewer into accessing the work and subsequently contemplating its message. Utilizing printmaking techniques along with photographic and time-based media, my images are constantly influenced by my love of geometry, nature, and color.

At what point I your life did you want to become an artist?

I thought about being an artist as a child.  My mother is an art teacher, so growing up there was always a constant supply of art materials as well as art instruction and encouragement.  In high school, I loved science and I planned to become a psychiatrist or an architect.  It wasn’t until my junior year at St. Olaf College that I finally decided on pursuing studio art full time.  Even though I liked a lot of different subjects, art was the one thing I kept coming back to and that truly made me happy.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

Growing up, my family lived in an area where there weren’t many other children, and my brother and I spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves.  I was always teaching myself things like calligraphy, needlepoint, and jewelry making.  As an artist, this history of exploration and independence has given me the confidence to learn complicated techniques and technologies such as stop-motion animation and copper plate photogravure.

My history as a printmaker has also impacted the way I work as an artist.  Printmakers usually work in communal spaces with shared equipment.  Because of this unique experience, I am energized by collaborating with other artists and my work is influenced by the free-flow of ideas and communication that can happen in a shared space.

Outgrowth, toned cyanotype, gouache, 2014

Outgrowth, toned cyanotype, gouache, 2014

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?  

My artwork often explores people’s perceptions and how those are related to their past experiences.  The saying, “If you knew all, you would understand all,” is often present in my mind.  I think by making, so creating artwork for me is a way to understand present concerns. Printmaking’s unique ability to retain the original image helps me create variables that grow organically into a larger body of work, including sequential print series and installations. It also allows me to combine and alter visual elements using a wide variety of media. This layering, warping, and re-presenting information reflects my research in how people process what they see and experience.

We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

Becoming, cyanotype, gouache, colored pencil, 2014

Becoming, cyanotype, gouache, colored pencil, 2014

I whole-heartedly agree with him.  I am motivated in my studio practice by the chance to discover something new – whether that be in composition, technique, concept, or presentation.  I allow myself to play and experiment in the beginning stages of a series then spend the rest of the time finding solutions to make it work.  I love the problem solving and challenge of this.  I am also motivated by goals I set for myself as well as deadlines!

What artists living or non-living influence your work? 

I have been inspired by artists such as Christian Marclay, Tim Hawkinson, William Kentridge, Ann Hamilton, Gregory Euclide, Susan Chrysler White, Anita Jung, and Misako Inaoka because of their integration of new technologies and fearlessness in thinking outside the box.

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in? I enjoy gardening, cooking meals with my fiance, exploring new places, and checking out what other creative people are making.

 About

ellie head shot smallEllie Honl received her BA in Studio Art from Saint Olaf College and MFA in Printmaking 
with a minor in Intermedia from the University of Iowa, where she graduated with honors.  

Currently a Visiting Professor at Indiana University, she has previously taught at Arizona State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, as well as courses at Frogman’s Print Workshop, Seattle Center for Book Arts, and the Kala Art Institute. Her artwork has been widely exhibited across the United States.

In the Studio

In the Studio

www.elliehonl.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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About Frank Juarez

Frank Juarez is a Wisconsin artist, published author, presenter, gallery director, art educator, advocate, and community leader living and teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In 2005, he committed his life to expose, educate and engage others on the importance of experiencing and supporting the Visual Arts. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, and supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to interact, collaborate, network and exhibit in the Sheboygan community.
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