Carol C Sánchez hails from Albuquerque and creates the most gorgeous and unique mezzotint art. Let's take a look at her work and get to know her, too!
Hello again, everyone! I hope you are all doing well, and that the weather is cooling off and treating you nicely. Today, I have a wonderful treat for you. You all know by now that I love to feature artists who use unique techniques or unusual mediums. Today’s artist fits that bill! Carol C Sánchez is a printmaker from Albuquerque, home to our editors’ alma mater, UNM! Carol creates some wonderful works of art using a technique called mezzotint, which is a printmaking process that’s pretty awesome. So, without further ado, let’s look at her artwork and get to know her a little better!
Mezzotint is a drypoint printmaking technique that uses a copper plate. It involves roughing the copper plate with a rocker that has teeth, and then it is cut and polished with a scraper and burnisher to bring out the pits caused by the rocker. It is not an easy technique to master, but when done right, it can be used to create different shades from dark to light, and results in rich, lush prints that can be transferred via ink and printed onto paper.
Carol became involved in this process when she was in graduate school at the State University of New York at Albany. A visiting professor from Finland, Annti Salokannel, brought his tools and had a week long workshop. Carol was enraptured by the process. “Since then, I was seduced by the process, although my first attempt was not very successful. I think that I was determined to make it work for me and felt that mezzotint lends well to my imagery.” I would agree! Her work is absolutely gorgeous.
Mezzotint printmaking is all about the process and the technique. Carol feels this pairs very well with her art because of the process. “I don’t use photographs or try to replicate a certain plant. I take from nature and articulate into my own visual language. My images form organically, literally and figuratively. I make technical decisions along the way as the images take shape.” Carol combines the technique of mezzotint with the ideas that she has, and meshes them together to create her beautiful artwork. I love the fluidity of Carol’s art; it’s almost as though the art appears naturalistically rather than being sketched or started with a specific idea in mind. I find it fascinating!
Since Carol doesn’t start with a print in mind when she begins, she works intuitively to make her prints work. “I start by making a mark and let it flow out. Once the image develops then I start making decisions after I have a proof from the plate. I can ink and print the plate at various stages of development, which are ‘proofs’. I work with the proofs until I am happy with the final image.”
It sounds like an intensive and painstaking process, but when you are working intuitively, everything just flows and you don’t really notice that. Plus, you never know what you’re going to end up with. “Printmaking has a certain surprise element, when the print is pulled from the plate after running through the press. The plate always looks different from the print.” I didn’t even think about the fact that the print can look different from the plate. That’s so interesting to me, and the fact they come out looking this awesome even though they’re different from the plate is just amazing.
Because Carol’s art process is so focused on her intuition, I asked what she wants viewers to get when they look at her pieces. Her response? “How it is made is important to me. The process is the journey to the final print. But I don’t necessarily want the final print to be about how it was made, but how it looks and feels like to me and the viewers.” So, basically, Carol wants us to recognize the process of her art, but get out of it whatever it makes us feel, whatever we see from it. I love art like that; art that allows you to make of it whatever you want or need.
Carol’s art is an expression and extension of who she is and how she thinks. “The creative process of art is very important and is something that I have always done since childhood.” To Carol, her art is a part of her, a part of her life. She’s been creating art in some form for most of her life. “Art is something I have to do. It chose me.” And her art shows her passion, her love for what she does, all within the intricacies of her prints.
This last image is my favorite piece by Carol. I think I like it because it looks like yarn, and we all know that I love yarn! I spoke with Carol about this particular piece and how it came together. “This print came together in the end, with the title. I don’t always have or start with a title. In fact this part of the process is where I try to articulate my idea to the viewer. The title brings it all together.” With a print like this one, having the title really makes the piece complete. “On a Thread of Memory is about time and memory, the fibers of our brain, the knotted threads.” I can definitely see that, and I love the connotation of this piece.
That’s all I have for today! Thanks for exploring the mezzotint art of Carol C Sánchez with me. To see more of Carol's artwork check out her website or her Etsy store! Let me know what you think about Carol's prints in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this post with all your friends and family. Also, if you know of anyone we should feature, send us some deets and we’ll see what we can do! As always, stay creative, my friends.
**All images c/o Carol C Sánchez