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Affordable Art Fair
Interviews - 02 August 2019

Meet the artist: Ellen Von Wiegand

Ellen Van Wiegand, printmakerWe’re delighted to announce that London-based linocut printmaker, Ellen Von Wiegand, is creating a limited-edition print, exclusively for sale at Affordable Art Fair NYC fall edition (26 – 29 September, Metropolitan Pavilion).

Ellen Von Wiegand places her battle with shyness at the center of her work. By featuring her own nude body, she confronts a lifelong fear of being seen, and uses this as a tool for expression and connection. Her work features simple lines, elegant patterns and soft hues to create a sense of calm surrounding her figures. The sometimes-awkward postures and imperfections within her designs are deliberate, with Ellen hoping viewers not only identify with these flaws but use them as a prompt to celebrate our uniqueness – believing that these differences are not simply defects to overcome.

Entitled ‘She Seemed Odd from the Beginning’, Ellen told us all about the exclusive print and the inspiration behind her work, plus check out the sneak peek into Ellen's creative practice in the video below!:

 

 

MEET LIMITED-EDITION PRINT ARTIST, ELLEN VON WIEGAND

 

Congratulations on being this Fall’s Limited-Edition Print artist! How does it feel to have been chosen and what was your motivation behind the print?

 

Ellen Van Wiegand, holding her limited edition print for Affordable Art Fair NYC fall edition, entitled - She Seemed Odd from the BeginningThanks so much! I’m absolutely thrilled, I never thought I’d receive such an honor and I’m truly humbled.

With this work I returned to my interest in the nude and the emotions that are conveyed through the posture of a body. But my way of working was flipped around a bit. Most often I begin with the form of the figure and build my composition around it, tapping into the feeling the posture gives me to create an environment that further highlights the spirit I hope to transmit with the piece. Since this print would make use of the fair’s signature pink, I chose to begin with color instead of form.  I wanted the pink to stand out amidst duller hues, and the result is an exciting departure from my normal muted pieces.

The title ‘She Seemed Odd from the Beginning’ relates to my interest in the idea of belonging. What makes us feel like we belong? What are our perceptions about how we are received in different environments, and how close is this impression to the truth? I have often struggled with my feeling of belonging and it has gotten in the way of intimacy with others, and I wonder how much of this is the result of a false barrier that I’ve constructed.

 

Your body is featured in each of your prints, but instead of viewing them as self-portraits, you describe them as “emotional states of being”. Can you tell us about the journey of becoming the artist you are today and what it means to highlight yourself in your work?

 

My work is highly personal. I avoided becoming an artist for a long time because I was very shy. I couldn’t imagine showing my work or advocating for it. I finally decided I had to commit to being an artist because I was deeply unhappy not doing so. And once I came to that realization, I was all in.

For as long as I could remember I was the kind of person that walked around with a hunch in an effort to take up less space, to hide myself from attention, and I was interested in the way my body reacted to my fear of being seen. I started to feature these types of postures in my work as a way of making them beautiful. I believe that there is beauty in our perceived weaknesses, and that actually these flaws can be portals for connection, even if it can be so difficult to reveal them to others. That doesn’t mean that I believe we should linger in our fragility, and as I’ve grown in my art and in my life, I find that my postures are becoming more open in many cases, and at times even self-assured.

 

Process shot of Ellen Van Wiegands lithograph, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning

 

As a printmaker, could you describe what brought you to this particular practice and your views on the reproduction of images in art-making?

 

I fell in love with printmaking during my Masters in Modern and Contemporary Art at Christie’s Education in London. We spent a day at a printmaking studio, learning about the various methods of reproduction. I became fixated during the linocut demonstration. Maybe it was the idea that this uncomplicated printmaking process could be done in the privacy of my home (classic introvert thought process) or the seeming humility of the medium, by nature of its reproducibility and simplicity. I love that prints can be shared with many people, making them more accessible and allowing a wider range of art enthusiasts to collect original work. This suits my personality.

I also love the graphic quality that can be achieved easily with linocut. I am naturally more interested in line rather than a tone, and in art courses I had taken I was often instructed to focus more on the latter. While this medium lets me experiment with line in a big way.

 

Process shot of Ellen Van Wiegands lithograph, She Seemed Odd from the BeginningProcess shot of Ellen Van Wiegands lithograph, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning

 

Where is your favorite place to relax and find peace of mind?

 

Well I’m a classic home-body. I love the freedom to create when I’m home alone. There is nowhere I feel more relaxed. But since I work from home and sometimes struggle to get myself out the door, I also appreciate the power of going outside for a walk. The more time I spend in my house the more I understand the importance of leaving and smelling the fresh air, seeing trees, and interacting with the real world. And when I’m anxious at home, the power of stepping out into the elements is miraculous in its ability to bring me calm. It’s the balance of these environments that gives me peace of mind.

 

Process shot 1 of Ellen Van Wiegands lithograph, She Seemed Odd from the BeginningProcess shot 1 of Ellen Van Wiegands lithograph, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

 

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given wasn’t directed as advice, but I took it that way. I was reading about an artist who was asked if they saw their work as being inspired by anyone else’s work in particular. The artist responded that they didn’t see it that way because their skills were not refined enough to imitate anyone else. They did what they could with the skills they had.

It was this thinking that spurred me on to make the style of work I’m making today. When I first began working with linocut, I thought I needed to absolutely perfect my technique before I could experiment with printing in multiple colors. But then I realized that it didn’t matter. It’s about the vision more than the technique. And this idea was so freeing and opened me up to new possibilities with my work. I think we often get stuck in ideas about what we should be doing, and we hold ourselves back in the process.

 

Ellen Van Wiegand, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning

 

We’re delighted that Ellen’s intimate and honest work will be inspiring so many art-lovers at Affordable Art Fair NYC. To snap up one of the limited-edition run of just 15 prints, join us at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 26 – 29 September, where you’ll be able to connect with Ellen’s print at DECORAZONgallery, stand C7 and 1000s more artworks under one roof.

 

 

 

Main Image:

Ellen Von Wiegand, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning, 2019, linocut on Jiaxuan paper, image size: 12 x 16 in., paper size: 14.5 x 18 in., $300 unframed / $495 framed, limited edition of 15, exclusively at Affordable Art Fair New York fall, DECORAZONgallery, stand C7

Featured art from first to last: 

Ellen Von Wiegand holding the limited-edition print which will be sold exclusively at Affordable Art Fair New York fallDECORAZONgallery, stand C7.  Process shots 1,2,3,4,5 of Ellen Von Wiegands lithograph, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning. 

Ellen Von Wiegand, She Seemed Odd from the Beginning, 2019, linocut on Jiaxuan paper, image size: 12 x 16 in., paper size: 14.5 x 18 in., $300 unframed / $495 framed, limited edition of 15, exclusively at Affordable Art Fair New York fallDECORAZONgallery, stand C7

Youtube video music:

Music by Memorex Memories (@memorex_memories on Instagram)

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