Swoon first took her art to the street five years ago while she was a fine-arts student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She was compelled to take her work outside after suffering what she calls "the quiet, boring preciousness" of the gallery world."I wanted to jump out of my skin," she said. But the streets were free and open to a wider range of expression. "Because it's kind of an outlaw thing, you don't have to go through official channels," she explained. "It's trying to create a visual commons out of the derelict walls of the city."
"That’s a woodblock print (above). See I was just printing last night (shows the black ink staining around and under her nails) I do a full size piece of plywood, 4 by 8. I carve it either with an exacto to get the fine details or with a Dremmel. The Dremmel because my hand and my whole wrist is getting really tired from all the carving. I’ve been carving for years. Between the paper, the wood and the linoleum." (Links to linoleum and woodcut printing techniques, and Dremel Tools)
Could you talk a bit about the printing process. I'm imagining you walking around on top of the plywood to make the impression. What sort of ink? Water or oil based.
"I use a huge roller, and etching ink (it's oil based but I just clean it up with olive oil) and spread a sheet of paper on top then step on it a hundred times like mashing grapes or doing the twist. Depending on the paper type wetting it first can be useful for better saturation, contrary to what you would think with oil based ink."
You do all this in your apartment. How do you deal with this chaos in your living space?
"My brother is visiting and he looked into my studio today and said wow, you must be a very strong person mentally, and I said why, and he said because if I had to deal with that mess you've got in there (meaning a four foot stack of prints and then some) I would just break down and lose my mind. So that's what my house
at the morning news
at layers of meaning