Exploring “Monotprint-Monotype”

What follows here is an interview with artist Donald Kolberg. I first discovered the on-line publication “Monoprint-Monotype” after the publisher, Donald Kolberg contacted me a few months ago to ask about having me as a featured artist.  I hope you will take a look at the latest issue (and my pages)  at  https://issuu.com/dskolberg/docs/monofall2016

Donald Kolberg photo

Donald Kolberg

After speaking to Donald and searching out his E Zine, I was impressed not only by the wide range of methods used by the artists in their work; but also by the extent and variety of the projects he works on personally. He is a blogger, editor, painter, sculptor, exhibitor, writer, photographer and an art coach. His blog artcore is full of informative art, world news, and inspirations.

I asked him for an interview because I think it’s useful to learn how an artist’s work fits into their life, that is, how they manage their creative drive but still manage to have a normal life. We don’t all cut off our ears or run off to Tahiti leaving our wives and kids behind; we don’t all become alcoholics or take drugs. Many of us just work all the time, while trying to still have some time left to be humans.

(Some artists somehow manage to work while intoxicated. I never could produce good work that way. Maybe I just didn’t try hard enough. I would always fall asleep or worse.)

In spite of my own limitations, I always enjoy seeing what other artists do and I love to see new work. The endless possibilities of art viewing on the Internet can be exhausting, so it’s nice to focus on some great artists and their work in the more intimate setting of an on-line magazine.

Photo-Donald Kolberg working

Donald Kolberg in his studio

  1. How did you begin with monoprint-monotype printmaking? Your artistic career is long and varied, so how did printmaking come into it and how are you fulfilled by what you do?

Printmaking has always been somewhere within my art, though it was not my primary focus. For most artists, it tends to be too expensive, or the equipment is not available in the area, but there is often a way to work around these limitations.

For me, after some 40 years I reconnected with an artist I knew when I was a high school student. He was the father of a girl I hung out with. I would go to his studio and talk about art for hours. Now along with painting, he is involved with doing Strappos, which are a monotype process. I was intrigued by the process of doing a reverse painting on glass and then mounting (essentially printing) the work onto paper.

  1. How did your on-line publication, “Monoprint-Monotype” come into your head? How was it born, and what goals do you have for it over time?

“Monoprint-Monotype” is my effort to give a platform to artists doing this unique mark making without making them jump through hoops. Inclusion in the magazine is free, and there is no obligation to buy issues, which increases the accessibility to artists.

When I started doing monotypes and looking on the Internet for other artists, I had to search mostly within printmaking societies for their work. While I love etching, engraving and the myriad of other printmaking techniques, monotypes did it for me. Looking at an artist’s work that shows the spontaneity, experimentation, and happy accidents that are inherent in the process captured my interest.

Now with the E Zine, I can introduce others to the work and present artists in a professional format that highlights their creativity. And while some of the artists in the E Zine are professional artists of some significant following, others are getting the chance to be associated with them for free. “Monoprint-Monotype” is posted online and available as links or downloads from that site. It is supported by myself and volunteered contributions from readers, and while I have no advertising I wouldn’t mind some support from art suppliers.

  1. What sacrifices and trade-offs do you make in order to produce the publication, and how do you balance your time between its creation and your continued fine art career?

The biggest trade off is time in the studio. That’s why the E Zine is quarterly. Right now (July) I’m working on issues for Fall and Winter. The reality is that there are a number of facets to my creative process, and not all of them funnel directly to the production of art. I’m an art editor and contributor for another magazine, The Woven Tale Press, and I’m part of a weekly open discussion group that exhibits yearly. I’m also a painter, sculptor and writer. I went back to school to become a Network Engineer so I could create websites.

My wife and I love to find train excursions, which lend themselves to photography, and I’m an art coach (not a teacher) who helps to encourage artists to reach their potentials or at least start on the path to that goal. I always have time for friends, artists and new acquaintances that stop by the studio. As I read this, I realize my fine art career is actually just trying to enjoy and share the life I have.

  1. Do you find that the work of other printmakers acts to stimulate your own ideas for creative work?

How can it not? I’ve met artists that say they never look at other artists work, but you can’t look at a building or a sign and not see art. How do you ignore nature? It’s all art. Personally, I like the stimulation of seeing the work of other artists. Usually after our weekly meetings I find myself heading into the studio to finish a work or start a new one. I have a tag line I add to my blogs that says “Imagination is Never Still”. The marks we make are verbs.

photo-Donald Kolberg

Donald Kolberg

I was happy to get this interview with Donald Kolberg, and feel that he shared a part of his real life with us, without all the cumbersome “art speak” that so many artists use. It was interesting to gather his thoughts and gain another perspective on the art world I am a part of, to see how this artist balances his diverse creative interests and manages to make time for his family as well. It’s been an inspiring conversation, which I hope continues to resonate with other artists.

Again, I hope you will take a look at the latest issue at  https://issuu.com/dskolberg/docs/monofall2016

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