Stephen Fowler

I aim to create a more organic form of printmaking working with everyday materials from around the home. It is informed by and built on traditional forms of print, such as drypoint etching and chine colle. I aim to make work from materials and equipment that everybody can access and work with, to create a gateway into the world of printmaking. This is evident in my expertise and background in Rubber Stamping, using erasers and endorsing ink. This background encouraged me to follow nontradional forms of printmaking which didn’t have intimidating back histories. Tetra Pak and cereal packet collagraph print don’t have the same burden of tradition of wood engraving for example. However, in using Tera Pak packaging, plastic packaging, carboard, cellophane, kitchen sink Litho, I soon realised, not only was I exploring new areas of print, I was learning the fundamentals of traditional printmaking.

My subject matter is autobiographical. I try to convey stories, habitats, characters and their relationships from my past. I try not to make obvious characterisations through the people and animals I print, but rather associations and suggestion. I want the viewer to invent their own story using the modular components in the prints. Growing up in a small Cornish coastal village, its calendar customs and the roles men, women and children played in those communities, have stayed with me. Faith and tradition played a large part in the community as did sex and love, joy and imaginative play.
Exploring further afield, in county museums and their natural history collections, watching BBC 2 1940s B Movies have informed my work too, as do the relationships between faith/divinity and science/evolution. I am becoming aware of our country’s colonial past, its eagerness to collect and document the natural world and its aftereffects.