Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for September 2014
Valerie Dillon’s art series “Borough of Township” are linocuts printed on recycled wallpaper samples and capture the welcoming quaintness of the small towns in Central PA. The house images were found through an exploration of many areas, while the chairs were included to create an intimate, grounding, storytelling element.
These works of art will be displayed at Cornerstone Coffeehouse throughout September 2014. We will also be hosting an artist reception for Valerie on Sunday, September 14th from 2:00-4:00pm.
Below is a recent Q&A with Valerie.
Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
I received my BFA in art education and printmaking from Metro State University of Denver, CO in 2008 after many years as a stay at home mom of two lovely children. During my time at MSU Denver I was intrigued by printmaking due to both the 2-d and 3-D elements of the creating process and by the camaraderie and passion the printmakers had for their craft and each other. Then after experimenting with a variety of printmaking mediums I found myself creating my best work with the linoleum cut and
continued to go into advanced classed focusing on linocut prints.
How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
My personal artistic style and vision is bold and simple, creating everyday objects as symbols. Linocuts and Relief prints in general, are very bold prints created in a very bold way. It takes a lot of planning and trust in an idea before you even start. There is no turning back, painting over, or putting pieces back once they are carved out. There is only starting over from scratch or changing direction. This part of my medium gives it it’s edge, makes it different than other 2-d mediums and in turn gives the graphic look only a true relief print has. I have two favorite parts when creating a print. I enjoy the process of carving, it’s very direct and unforgiving and knowing the risk each carve has in making or breaking the entire image is pretty exciting. Also, I still get butterflies when I print a block for the first time, because it’s only a backward carved piece of linoleum until you print it.
Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
I have a lot of artistic inspirations. I have liked David Hockney from before I started art school to now, his passion for art history while embracing new technology is admirable, plus I like his art! As for art history, Japanese woodblock prints and German Expressionist woodcuts are a big influence. I am also inspired by many contemporary artists and printmakers. Specifically the outlaw printmakers which include Canonball Press out of Brooklyn, NY and Tom Huck’s Evil Prints out of St. Louis, MO. Tom Huck’s feedback during a portfolio review during a visit to MSU Denver has had a huge impact on my subject matter and respect for the linocut medium. Finally and most importantly my fellow printmakers and professors at MSU Denver, especially, EC Cunningham and his passion toward craftsmanship and professionalism in printmaking.
Do you have a favorite piece in your portfolio?
I think every print that inspires a series of prints is an important one. I think my “Buses” print from my BFA Senior Thesis Show was the catalyst for every print after, I wouldn’t be making the work I am now without that print. It still is the print that seems to make people the most nostalgic.
What would be your advice for artists just starting out in your medium?
Band-aids, lots of band-aids, in the beginning prints. Use a bench hook to start, and always carve away from yourself. Use good ink. Draw backwards to print forwards. You will either love the process or you won’t, but you won’t know unless you try. Oh, and don’t forget the band-aids!
Valerie is a Colorado native. She received her BFA from Metropolitan State University of Denver, CO in art education and printmaking in 2008. She moved to Hershey, PA with her husband and 2 teenagers in June of 2012. Contact or view more of Valerie’s art at: ValerieDillon.com