Printmaker, draftsman, and mixed media artist Sean Caulfield is our New and Notable artist for the winter 2017 issue of Drawing. Caulfield’s work cannot be confined to one category, as he combines traditional drawing and printmaking practices with elements of sculpture, installation and digital art. Caulfield incorporates natural and anatomical forms in compositions that are intriguing, ambiguous and sometimes unsettling, and often completed at an incredible scale.
We recently had the pleasure of talking with Caulfield about his work, his inspirations and his advice for other artists. To learn more about the artist, visit his seancaulfield.ca. To see more from our latest issue, order a copy of winter Drawing, download a digital edition, or subscribe to Drawing.
Drawing: What is your process for any given piece? Do you do much sketching or preliminary work before beginning?
Sean Caulfield: I sketch constantly to work out ideas, but when I start a finished work, I tend to work directly on a plate with only minimal preparatory sketches. In this way, I hope the work retains a freshness due to the fact that it unfolds somewhat organically as it is completed.
DR: What do you like about the materials you work with?
SC: Recently I have been working with a lot of wood and linoleum to create relief prints and sculptures. I’m interested in these materials as they offer a kind of resistance when I draw that I find actually helps my images both in terms of their formal resolution and in terms of the conceptual or thematic directions. In addition to the resistance of this material, I’m also drawn to the serendipity that wood brings to my drawing process–chips, imperfections and the natural grain of the material.
DR: Have you been inspired by any master artists in particular?
SC: As someone who is interested in relief prints, Albrecht Dürer comes to mind immediately. His work is obviously formally and technically very accomplished, but I am also drawn to the content of the work. The prints reflect the anxiety of a period that was facing considerable upheaval, change and conflict. Perhaps this is interesting work to consider in relation to some of the anxiety that is felt in society today.
DR: Your work is so imaginative. What advice would you give to other artists who want to work outside of realism?
SC: I try to do a lot of research to feed my studio practice. I look at a wide range of both historic and contemporary artists but also regularly engage in collaborative projects with artists working in other media, as well as academics and researchers working in areas such as biomedicine, bioethics and environmental studies.
DR: What are you currently working on?
SC: In relation to the point above, I am currently working on a collaborative and interdisciplinary project that brings artists, biomedical researchers and academics in other disciplines together to explore the theme of vaccines. This project will result in a group exhibition at Galleri KiT, at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, in Norway in March and then travel to WHO/UNAIDS, in Geneva, Switzerland, for an exhibition in May.
Interested in learning mixed media techniques? In the following video, artist Sandrine Pelissier shows how to mount Yupo to wood panel. For many more video lessons, visit artistsnetwork.tv.