There was an opening at the Academy Art Center at Linekona‘s 2nd floor gallery, so we have a last-minute show up—screenprints by Honolulu artist Bebba Vamvounakis, on view through Feb. 13. New Art Center Director Vince Hazen, who has also been Vamvounakis’ instructor in Art Center screenprinting classes, asked her a few questions about her work.
Vince Hazen: How long, and in what capacity, have you been making art?
Bebba Vamvounakis: As long as I can remember, I have been making art in anyway I can. Specifically painting and sculpting with clay. I have been printmaking for the past year and a half.
VH: Please describe the process and techniques you have used for creating the prints in the exhibition. In addition to specific techniques, please discuss the intuitive, ‘painterly’ process of developing the image as you work vs. a preconceived printmaking plan.
BV: I try to stay away from photos. The technique I mainly use is painting on a transparent sheet until I find the base image I like. I also like to scratch off to reveal an image (these transparent positives are then used to create a photo-mechanical screen-print). Sometime I know what I will be printing, other times it is taking what I have printed home where I continue to add and subtract.
VH: How did you learn of these techniques and why were they appealing to you?
BV: I continue to learn printmaking at the Academy Art Center. The techniques I learned from guest speakers, other students and their ideas, and my own curiosity. I am always trying to find new tools and ways to work an image. These techniques are appealing to me because they are easy to work with at home and seem to fit my style of working.
VH: The prints’ color schemes are somber and the agitated line is quite emotional; can you address the dark emotional qualities of your work?
BV: I think art-making helps to distill conflict, experiences, and observations that we internalize. It is sometimes dark.
VH: Do particular artists influence you; I see a Picasso-like quality in some prints?
BV: Not so much one artist but many different artists and their different styles. I am inspired by natural patterns, manmade objects and people’s responses to everyday happenings.
VH: Which of these prints do you see as the most successful? Please describe why this print stands out form the others.
BV: I believe they are all successful. I can’t necessarily choose one over another. They each have their own qualities and stand out in their own way. Perhaps some prints have more to say than others. When you spend time creating, changing and looking at a print, the feelings and thoughts which are tied and put into them make each one unique.