Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On Inspiration - Ellen Von Wiegand

Before I started making linocut prints, I did a lot of looking at other artist's work.  The internet is such a great resource for inspiration.  My favorite social media platform is Instagram because it is soooo visual.  I think many artists feel the same way.

Ellen in her studio, pulling a new print.

One artist who really inspired the style of my cat prints was and is, Ellen Von Wiegand from the UK.
"With a Sigh"

Ellen uses herself as a model for her nudes.  Here is some of what she has to say about her work...  

"My images reverberate with this search for self assurance and serenity, and my own nude body is featured in each piece. I originally began using myself as a model because it gave me a lot of control over my compositions, and I didn’t have the ability to pay someone else. However using my body has caused my work to develop into something highly personal. When we are nude we are at our most vulnerable, and I have come to see my work as a way to reconcile with the shy, insecure and fearful pieces of myself. There is also something I love about showing myself naked when in fact I am severely uncomfortable being undressed in front of others. It is a practice in being more open and allowing people into my world when in my real life I struggle to do so."

"Moon Splashed"

Ellen continues... "That said I don’t see my prints as self-portraits, but rather physical representations of emotional states of being. Male or female, my hope is that you see a piece of yourself reflected back to you in each image."


Though her work is VERY personal, what drew me to her style was that she prints her nudes in shades of blue and deep reds, which give her images a less personal, and more universal appeal, like this could be any woman, not just her specifically.  I also like the simplicity of the line work, not a lot of details in the nude image, but just enough to convey a feeling.  

Austin Kleon, in his book "Steal Like an Artist," talks about finding your own voice by copying your heroes.  He says, "By copying your heroes, you find your voice because you can not perfectly copy anyone's work.  You are influenced by other ideas that mix with the work,  and that becomes your work, your voice.  You transform or transcend what you started with, and it becomes your style." 

Now when you look at my work, I think you can clearly see her influence.  Here are just two examples...


"Wise One"

When I start a new cat print, I start with a photo of one of my cats.  My cats are ginger and a black and white tuxedo.  In my artwork, I have chosen to use black as the color for all the cat images.  My black cat prints are usually seen as artwork about black cats, and that is OK.  I like black cats too.  But I am using the black cat as a universal symbol for all cats.  

My hope in doing this post is to give you a little more insight into my artwork.  And to share one of my inspirational heroes with you.  Hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

To learn more about Ellen Von Wiegand, check out:

And to see more of her beautiful work, check out:
-Ellen's Instagram page

(All images of Ellen Von Wiegand's work used with her permission.)