Helen Bridges has graduated with a Masters in Printmaking from Cambwell College of Art in 2005. With this degree, she has made it her soul purpose to explore and combine traditional printing techniques with modern technologies. Drawing from typography, maps, medical diagrams and everyday objects, she focuses on capturing subtle patterns and combining them with the familiar.
1. YOUR PRINTS OF LONDON ARE VERY EYE-CATCHING AND UNIQUE. HOW DID THIS STYLE DEVELOP?
I've always taken photographs of my surroundings, I suppose it stemmed from travelling when I was younger and noticing the uniqueness of different places: this doesn't necessarily mean in the traditional sense of a historical monument or famous landmark, more the details that make up the essence of a city. This could be language scrawled over walls, local architecture, a flower - anything really that catches my eye due to its colour, texture, shape, pattern or lettering etc. I tend to collect images and process them later. Each print of London reflects a specific location, it might include a texture from the pavement, a plant growing up a wall or a sign by the road.
2/3. LET'S TALK ABOUT PROCESS. WHAT ARE THE STEPS YOU TAKE WHEN CREATING EACH PIECE? (I.E. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A SUBJECT ETC)
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK?
Each piece is screen printed. I usually create small editions of 10 and they have 20 or more layers of colour. My surroundings are my subject, luckily I live in London so I don't think I'll ever run out of ideas. I like looking into the history and stories of a place, they may be fact or hearsay and I also make visual notes with photographs and drawings. Once I have collected everything I convert them into stencils and design the image on my computer in photoshop ready for screen printing.
4. WHAT DO YOU HOPE EACH PIECE TELLS THE VIEWER ABOUT LONDON?
It's about noticing the small details of your surroundings, to remind them of places that they might have been and dip into memories to find pleasure in the ordinary. To realise you don't have to necessarily travel far to get joy out of your environment.
5. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LONDON?
That there will always be something new to discover.
6. YOUR PRINTS ARE VERY COLOURFUL AND BUSY - MUCH LIKE LONDON! IS THERE CASE OF STYLE REFLECTING SUBJECT HERE?
Yes, definitely. However, I've tried to make work with less layers and muted tones but they seem less successful. I love colour, I get a lot of my kicks out of mixing colour, screen printing wouldn't be half as exciting without printing many of layers of colour, watching how they change as they overlap, letting some peep through from underneath. I'm being really geeky now! But, yeh, London is so vibrant..even on grey days.
7. FINALLY, IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE TIP TO FIRST-TIME VISITORS TO LONDON, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Definitely don't hang out in the tourist hotspots like Leister Square, there are far more unique and interesting places to visit like Brixton Market (I'm just being biased as I live there!).
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