026: Printmaker Ely Urbanski makes the invisible visible

Ely Urbanski, printmaker, is an incredibly resourceful artist who moves her work forward with a spirit of collaboration and generosity. Ely was kind to come and chat about printmaking, an art form that I know nothing about. In this episode, we discuss about her clothing work in which she prints pieces of donated clothing onto fabric using her own body weight as the press — an innovative technique she developed when she no longer had access to a studio with traditional printmaking equipment. Scroll down to see the upcoming events that Ely’s work will appear in (she’s very busy!). Check out Ely’s website printosynthesis.com where you can see her work and find links to additional online interviews, and her Facebook page to promote collaboration. 

Ely Urbanski studied Arts at the University of São Paulo in Brazil with her main focus on printmaking. Since the 1990’s she’s been working with art and art education and has had exhibitions in Brazil, Japan and the US. Currently, Ely is based in Snow Camp, NC where she creates prints on paper and fabric. Interacting with the local community has been an important part of Ely’s creative process. She is also a coach and helps artists to develop their projects and careers in The Triangle and Triad. Ely is on Patreon and Youtube.

Upcoming Events for Ely:

Public receptions: April 20 and May 18, 6-8 pm
Ely has a studio there during the Third Friday Art Walk (4/20), 6-9 pm to show her works, collect clothes and record videos.
May 31, 2018 – 4-6:30 pm

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! Podcast recorded at Shadowbox Studio in Durham, NC.

Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Ely’s bio.

[1:36] How did Ely become a printmaker? And why printmaking rather than another type of visual art?

[4:28] What is the ‘traditional’ process of printmaking? What is Ely’s ‘non-traditional’ method of printmaking? How does the fabric hold up with repeated prints and is there variation in her prints?

[10:53] Descriptions of two of Ely’s recent exhibitions: DISTANCE — “This series of prints on paper and fabric is derived from the patterns and experiences of passengers commuting on São Paulo subway system.” IMPRINTED — monoprints on fabric of well-worn clothes (and the emotional stories that often go with them) from friends, family, and previous exhibition visitors. Where did these ideas come from?

[19:23] What is added by having videos of people telling their ‘clothing stories’ as part of the IMPRINTED exhibition?

[21:02] How does Ely hope that people will approach her work? Themes in her work: memory, journeys, making the invisible visible, drawing attention to the connections between…

[27:04] Ely’s coaching and teaching. She’s taught the art of printmaking and has recently focused on the business of being an artist and helping others navigate practical aspects and build their confidence.

[33:00] Ely’s thoughts about value, worth and making money as an artist. “Have you ever had to have a day job to support your dream of being a psychologist?” Question the assumptions.

[37:11] What is next for Ely? She’s received a Regional Artist Program Grant from Arts Greensboro for the project THANK YOU GOODBYE. And video projects on the horizon.

[40:05] Thank you and sign-off

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