Andrew Robsinon (aka EagleSnakeFight on Instagram) is a printmaker and graphic designer based in Montreal. We’re proud to own a couple of his lino-cut prints which are perfect examples of his bold and successful use of monochromatic printmaking. His work has a great sense of humour and a beautiful use of composition and contrast.
1) How do you motivate yourself?
AR: What drives me is available time, or lack thereof. I work primarily as a freelance graphic designer, so a rigid 9-5 schedule for printmaking is relatively impossible. Therefore, when I do carve out (pun intended) time for my linocuts, there’s a real drive to get work done. When I’m designing, carving or printing my work, there’s a near-zen moment I experience from directing all of my concentration on a single task, a feeling that I don’t often get when working on the computer, and I’m constantly chasing this feeling. Also, most (if not all) of my initial sketches for my prints are recorded on scraps of paper or Post-Its and the fear of forgetting (or losing) these ideas really propels me to turn them into finished pieces. My brain actually feels lighter once an idea has been transferred to the lino block!
2) How do you structure your time?
AR: While deadlines are great for organizing your tasks and establishing a hierarchy, it’s not always the best for creative flow. I always prioritize my to-do list based on client deadlines, and as a result, my printmaking usually ends up in the “will deal with later” zone. That being said, if I’ve been engrossed in client work for long enough I’ll sneak away for an hour of carving here and there just to quench my creative thirst.
3) What do you listen to when you work?
AR: It can depend on what I’m working on and when I’m working on it — the music I listen to tends to get faster and louder as the day progresses. The morning might find me digging into my backlog of podcasts coupled with some rock/alternative playlists. Later on, and sometimes into the middle of the night, a solid thrash/black metal playlist can be just as stimulating as a cup of coffee on extended printmaking/design sessions.
4) Who are three artists that inspire you?
AR: I find inspiration every day in the work of fellow printmakers, courtesy my overflowing Instagram feed, and I absolutely love seeing the different ways other artists tackle the unique challenges of relief printing and carving. Artists whose work consistently impresses me are Kathleen Neeley, Denton Watts, Christopher Brown, Paul Roden & Valerie Lueth (of Tugboat Printshop). I constantly revisit the works of Rockwell Kent, Albrecht Dürer, Osamu Tezuka and Aaron Horkey as well.
5) What’s the best piece(s) of advice you have been given?
AR: Milton Glaser said “you must embrace failure” and this advice echoes through my head constantly, whether it’s after the 5th inexplicably-splotchy impression or when the gouge slips and the linoleum breaks during a particularly delicate cut. Failure always sucks, and the only thing you can do is learn from it and move on. I was lucky enough to meet Christopher Brown at his home studio in London earlier this year and besides seeing his set-up (which was inspiring in itself), he advised me to “always start with the eyes” when carving lino as there’s nothing worse than messing up the small details after logging several hours of cutting.
6) Describe an object or tool related to your work that you love.
AR: Investing in your creative tools can make all the difference in the world. My 1mm Pfeil v-gouge is my go-to for all my carving work and I use it for detail work on every relief printing project. Also, making the switch from water-based to oil-based ink (Caligo) was a huge moment for me, consistency-wise — I was able increase edition size and reduce the number of poor impressions per printing session.
7) An anonymous patron has donated $100K for you to build your dream studio, what would it look like and where would it be?
AR: My current set-up is pretty simple. I do all of my carving, inking and printing from my kitchen table with just enough paper prepped for the project at-hand. The ideal studio upgrade would be a few blocks from my apartment — just far enough for a brisk walk in the morning, and ideally on the way to my daughter’s school so we could walk together. As I currently print everything by hand with my trusty wooden spoon (which is a bit hard on the wrist), a reliable printing press would definitely be a necessity. Also, a few shelves full of Somerset paper and a rack of relief inks would also be amazing. Then I’d adorn every square inch of wall space with art from the artists mentioned above.
Find Andrew’s instagram account @eaglesnakefight
And online here