Picturing Evanston

Julie Cowan

What brought you to Evanston?
We moved here a while ago because we found a good place with room to work.

Describe your art, in a hundred words or less.
Pieced and printed works on paper or felt, usually with architecture or portraiture as subject matter. The imperfection of using paper lithography as my printmaking method creates unique opportunities to further develop each piece.

What is your medium?
Lithography and drawing.

What are you currently working on?
I have been considering scale. Due to the restricted size of the printing press, I have been assembling multiple images to build larger works.  I am also experimenting with printing on felt, which adds a dimensional  and tactile character to an image.

Name one piece of art, by any artist, that blew your mind or otherwise inspired you.
World Trade Center, 1997, by Hiroshi Sugimoto. I saw his show at the MCA in 2003.

Why art?
I work as a printmaker now because of the surprise. When you print, you work on the plate with ink and water; you face resistance and acceptance of the ink on the imagery and then you press the whole endeavor through a very powerful press. You never know what is going to come out until you slowly pull back the plate and reveal what image marks have transferred from your plate to the artwork. It is thrilling and it is engaging. When I first thought of printmaking, I was living in Prague. It was the early 1990’s. A friend suggested that I print at the studio of a master printer, Tomas Svoboda. I entered the studio and greeted Tomas, and then worked with him over the next couple of weeks. I worked on a lithography stone, drawing my work with multiple layers of colors. I got spoiled by that experience, because Tomas was a master printer and I was the artist, meaning that I drew the image and he did the printing. I showed him an original colored drawing and he mixed the ink to match the original colors and then he prepared the stone for me to draw. And all this was done without a shared spoken language. No matter, we could both use visual vocabulary to achieve the goal of fine art prints. Back home in the States, I learned how to use a press myself. I am a fine art printmaker, acting as both printer and artist. It is very satisfying as a technical and artistic practice.

Julie's website