Testing the Limits
A conversation with
Book Arts Studio Resident,
Our upcoming Main Gallery and Studio Gallery exhibitions will take us through what elements of nature inspired the artists when creating their works. Rachel DeCicco, our Studio Gallery resident for Summer 2021, used her talents for screen printing and her imaginative mind to create her fantastical collection of prints.
Rachel working on her screen printing in the Studio
You have a very distinct style, what inspirations did you draw from when developing it?
I would say my style is definitely still “in progress” as I don’t think I’ve solidified my style just yet but I take a lot of inspiration from vintage posters and retro design. Whenever I’m working I always start by researching inspiration to figure out the feel of the piece I want to create. I’ve found that I’m most successful when I’m focusing more on shape design and adding different texture to what I’m making and that usually drives my style.
What was your main focus during your residency?
I would say my biggest focus during the residency was to try and test my limits and abilities. I only began screenprinting last year and had a limited amount of experience to see what I could really create. My goal was to try creating pieces with multiple layers and hone in and improve my skills while also pushing my designs to be more natural and less linear.
What about nature drew you in when creating this exhibition?
One of my favorite things to draw, and a “go to” of mine, is houses. I draw houses all of the time and every time I went to draw natural environments I wasn’t completely satisfied with the result. But nature is so beautiful and I wanted to be able to capture it in my work. I thought there wasn’t a better opportunity to really work on this skill and create more organic pieces.
The series consists of both imaginary and real natural scenes, how would you come up with the imaginary scenes?
While I was in college getting my BFA one of my interests was children’s books and picture books. One of my goals is to illustrate a children’s book and I prefer to create whimsical pieces that both children and adults can enjoy. Reading and studying children’s books influence my work and help me to think of more imaginary places and scenes so that I can add a fun spin to whatever I’m creating.
What would you like audiences to take away from your exhibition?
I want audiences to enjoy the pieces and the experience. You don’t have to be in the middle of a mountain range or deep in the jungle to experience nature’s beauty. It’s all around us all of the time, we just have to look for it. I find I am more calm and at peace when I just take a minute to myself and look at the sky and forget whatever worries I had that day. If I could take that feeling and give it to others through my work I’d consider that successful.
“I find I am more calm and at peace when I just take a minute to myself and look at the sky and forget whatever worries I had that day. If I could take that feeling and give it to others through my work I’d consider that successful.”
This blog post was written by Book Arts Intern, Nina Grenga. Nina is currently getting her Master’s at the University at Buffalo in Critical Museum Studies with a concentration in Arts Management. Nina has been an avid lover of the arts and books, so this internship was the perfect fit!
Rachel and her process of taking her work from digital to print, one layer at a time!