TRU artist changes the fabric of printmaking

TRU artist Melanie Todd switches up the medium for her printmaking art projects. PHOTO BY JENIFER NORWELL

Jenifer Norwell:  Omega Contributor  Ω

At the base of every art project is the medium the work is created on. For Melainia Todd, printmaking on paper wasn’t enough for her creative vision. That’s why the fourth-year TRU art student turned to fabric as her medium of choice for her final show at TRU. Beyond her art, Todd wants to curate shows. Last year, she helped curate the Falling Show at TRU and has shown her own work regularly on campus.

Q: If you were going to explain who you are as an artist, what would you say?

A: I am mostly drawing-printmaking based and I like to experiment with those mediums. Mostly I like to take my drawings and put them in weird places sort of like street art, kind of, but I don’t work on the street.

Q: When you say experimenting, give me an example.

A: Well, normally with printmaking, you just sort of make prints and you just make copy after copy after copy and a lot of the fine arts point of view, you have to make editions and you have to make them all the same, but I’m not really interested in doing that with mine any more. When I first started out, I was like “yep, you gotta make editions,” so that’s like five of the same or ten of the same and then that makes it kind of a commodity, but with what I want to do, it’s just make prints and kind of rearrange them in ways that are unique and different so there isn’t one that’s the same so that they’re a little bit different… I print on paper sometimes but I’m mostly interested in printing on fabric and finding other ways I can print on things.

Q: What’s the appeal of choosing something other than paper?

A: With fabric, you can just sort of crumple it into a ball and throw it away somewhere like your closet. You don’t have to worry about it getting crinkled, so there’s that, and paper’s also really expensive so I like to use fabric because you can get lots of fabric for cheap and I find with fabric you have more creative options. So you can get like a sheer fabric so you can make your image see-through and you can layer images on top of it or you can take a really bright colour and you can print your thing on top of that.

Q: Why print making?

A: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and like I remember in high school, kids go, “I want you to draw me a picture,” but it’s like you only have one picture so with printmaking you can make copies of it so you can kind of share your art with everybody.