Brianna Ashe

Artist in Residence 2020

I planned quite a bit in prep for my two week stay at ZMP. I arrived with a bunch of woodblocks already carved so I could dive in and within the hour of arriving I had ink down and was pulling prints. I knew going in to my stay I was going to be working as much as I could physically handle and wanted to push myself and try to get as much work done as possible.

I worked 13 days straight, 11am to roughly 2am. The main creative goal I set for my time was to come out with and edition of one large full color reduction woodcut. I’ve always primarily focused on woodcut when making prints and I had never really worked through full color in printmaking. I also used this time to just be with myself, I really needed a space to be alone and release some serious creative energy. It was meditative, physically exhausting, exciting and felt like a really big shift in my work and process. Also, I should touch on how I was a ZM intern in 2009 and the studio community has always felt like family, my residency felt very much like a homecoming. 

I’ve always loved the process of thinking about creating in layers and backwards.

I also arrived feeling a bit nervous that I had maybe lost my printmaking brain, after drawing and painting so much for the last handful of years. I ended up walking away with way more resolved editions of prints than I expected and I felt like right towards the end (of course) I was breaking my own structure and allowing myself to play.

I didn’t want to leave and was trying to figure how I could fake my own death and restart my life living back in western Ma as a full time printmaker. When the world cools off, and things feel safer, I’ll be back, maybe for good. I came back to my life on Long Island feeling refreshed and really having a better understanding of how important it is for me to make art all the time.

Within the month of getting home, the pandemic was in full swing a lot changed for me as it did for everyone. Lots of upcoming opportunities came to halt and eventually cancelled. I had marked some soft dates for me to come back to ZM with my boyfriend and get a taste of western Massachusetts life and make some more prints. After a couple weeks of quarantine and not making much, I started to paint and have done so everyday since.

I think about prints a lot, I think I’m even making work that looks like prints. I participated in big ink this past weekend and that felt really good. Making a point to make things everyday. Lots of bad art, things of the moment. But helps keep my head clear and makes me happy.