Interview with Printmaker Cassie Byington

I’m excited to kick off the New Year with an artist interview with printmaker Cassie Byington! You can check out Cassie’s work on her Etsy shop and follow her on Instagram.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? How did you get into printmaking?

I think I have loved art in general for as long as I can remember. In high school, art class was the highlight of my day. But imposter syndrome set in soon after and I didn’t really create art again until after I got my BA in History. 
I minored in Art History which helped reignite my interest in art. I think it was learning about Andy Goldsworthy in my Art 101 class that really helped me re-frame how to think about art. He would create simple yet beautiful things out of nature which would inevitably break down soon after he made it. And I realized that he was doing it for the process, the purity of creation, and that is the motivation I wanted to have.

Interview with Printmaker Cassie Byington | #printmaking #linocuts #botanicalart #apartmenttherapy

Well, I wasn’t sure what medium I wanted to pursue until I saw block printed art in a museum a couple years ago. They also displayed the blocks themselves and I loved seeing all that texture, the process was so evident, I loved it. I thought, I can totally do that! So I bought a small printmaking kit soon after and just kept going.

Interview with Printmaker Cassie Byington | #printmaking #linocuts #botanicalart #apartmenttherapy

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

It’s hard to pinpoint my inspiration because I feel like it comes from so many places. I think I started out making art that I wanted to have in my home but wasn’t finding it elsewhere. I craved simple but effective images in a world that is over-saturated and over-designed. I love mid-century modern/ Scandinavian design for this reason.

Interview with Printmaker Cassie Byington | #printmaking #linocuts #botanicalart #apartmenttherapy

Do you have any fun projects in the works or in the back of your mind for the new year?

I really want to get into fabric printing more, especially kids clothing. Being a toddler mom, I have noticed that simple yet interesting kids clothing is hard to come by. Fabric is more temperamental so it will be interesting! 

Interview with Printmaker Cassie Byington | #printmaking #linocuts #totebags #fashion

How has selling on Etsy been going since you started your shop?

Selling on Etsy is hard, it takes forever to gain a following, and I don’t feel like I really have one on Etsy yet. The best way to go about it is promote yourself on other platforms such as Instagram, that seems to be working for me! 

Interview with Printmaker Cassie Byington | #printmaking #linocuts #botanicalart #apartmenttherapy

Do you like to listen to music while you create? What are some good listens you’d recommend? 

I loooove Spotify premium and I will try to convert everyone I meet. It really depends on my mood! Sometimes I listen to 80’s hits or sometimes ambient instrumental music. I think every creative should explore the “Focus” category on Spotify, lots of great playlists in there.

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Sara Schalliol-Hodge : Designer & Maker of Things

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Welcome back! Our latest feature spotlights artist Sara Schalliol-Hodge from Lakewood, Colorado! Sara is “a designer by day and a printmaker, sawdust producer, and stuff-maker by night.” Read on to get to know Sara a little better, and CLICK HERE to go to her website, and HERE to go to her Etsy shop!

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What about the printmaking process do you love the most, and more specifically, why linocuts? 

I love printmaking because I love the ability to make multiples of my art. With so many forms of fine art, you can spend many, many hours creating the finished product, only to sell it just once and never see it again. And, often art can take so many hours to create that it can be very difficult to be able to charge a decent wage for all of the time you spent on it. All of that being said, buying a computer-printed art print doesn’t really appeal to me because it seems so far from being made by hand. With printmaking, each print is still made by hand and there are subtle variations in each print, so there is definitely evidence of the maker. It is hard work printing a woodcut or linocut all my hand, and I like to think that that energy can be somehow felt when viewing these prints. For me, printmaking seems to fit into a sweet spot of being affordable but still very handmade.

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Many of your designs juxtapose the themes of nature and industry. Where do you get the inspirations for your designs and what about this juxtaposition interests you? 

Nature vs. industry, or nature vs. man are themes I explored even in the art I created very early in my life. There is something so poetic about vines growing up and taking over an old car or building. I studied Industrial Design in college, and Industrial Design tends to involve mass-production, and therefore factories. It can be really strange to think about each thing you own and imagine the factory that produced it. This type of thought process made me think about how natural things are made, which is not quite in a factory…. but what if you think of nature itself as a factory? So this lead me to prints like Factory Whale, Love Factory, Salmon Factories, etc.

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Also many of my prints display animals and “the hand of man” in one way or another. Like, quite literally in my print Spark:

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But I also like to create prints that show animals having to survive in the world that man has modified, like City Lynx:

lynx

How has business been on Etsy and do you have any advice for blooming Etsian printmakers? 

I was a very early Etsy seller and buyer and it has been interesting seeing Etsy become a website that non-artist-type people have actually heard of and shop from. My Etsy shop has changed a lot since the beginning. I used to sell wooden sculptures, jewelry displays, and chunky wooden jewelery, and now I sell only my printmaking. I have had several great opportunities come along because of my Etsy shop. Half of the brick and mortar galleries I sell at approached me from discovering my shop on Etsy, which is awesome! These days, my sales come mostly from brick and mortar galleries, and not Etsy. For me personally, sometimes it can be hard to sift through all of the shops on Etsy to find that special thing I’m looking for, but walking into a well-curated local shop usually lightens my wallet pretty easily.

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