Meet the Maker: James Green

My name is James Green and I’m an artist and printmaker based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. I specialise in linocut and screen-print and have been working
in these mediums for around sixteen years. Nine years ago I decided to give up my ‘proper’ job to concentrate on doing this full-time. My subjects
range from landscapes to UK wildlife to surreal donkey compositions and larger abstract works.

Describe your printmaking process.

Most print ideas will start out as a photograph I’ve taken, or a drawing, or sometimes a combination of both. I’ll simplify the image to where I think
it needs to be for a linocut. I’ll then transfer the image to the lino and cut away! For prints with more than one colour I will use separate printing
plates and trust my registration skills. I sometimes use my book press for printing, but other times I’ll use just the back of a dessert spoon. It
really depends on the nature and size of the print. I’ve also just bought an XCut (primarily for workshops and demonstrations) so I’ll be experimenting
with that soon!

How and where did you learn to print?

I taught myself. I studied art at university back in the early 90s but I never realised you could do printmaking (as daft as that sounds now). About sixteen
years ago I was lent some lino, tools and inks and I made a print of my cat. I was hooked straight away. I now teach workshops roughly once a month,
and love to see how people from different backgrounds approach creating prints.

Why printmaking?

I love the unpredictability of the medium, and the limitations that are inherent. They make you think much more about the marks you are making and the composition. I also love the craft of printmaking, the process of carving out the lino. I think I enjoy it as much as revealing the print. With screen-printing, I’m drawn to the way you can overlay colours and work at different scales without too much trouble, and also the surface of the prints.

Where do you work?

I have a studio at the top of my garden. I also use Sheffield Print Club for screen-printing.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I’m not sure there is a typical day! I will either be planning a new design on paper, cutting a new linocut, or printing the edition. Aside from that I’ll
be packaging up orders, framing prints for upcoming shows/exhibitions or tidying up (my studio gets messy quite easily!).

How long have you been printmaking?

Sixteen years

What inspires you?

The landscapes of Yorkshire and North Wales, wildlife that I can see first-hand, lots of artists (Goya, Max Backmann, Egon Schiele, Picasso, Corita Kent), the seaside.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Probably my Pfeil cutters.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Perhaps my donkey prints. I have been making prints of donkeys for just over ten years now. Last year I was asked to put on an exhibition of my donkey prints at the Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, as a kind of retrospective (called ‘Entering Donkey World’). Seeing them all there together made me feel very proud. Last year I also created a new range of prints which were very different from what I’d done previously. I made a lot of drawings of stones from beaches I’d visited around the UK. From these, I created these large abstract screen-prints (entitled ‘Stone Compositions’). It was a lot
of fun working in a very different, non-figurative style, and quite a shock for my brain working at about A1 size too.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I sell online, mainly on Folksy, but also on Etsy too. I also sell to various galleries and art shops around the UK, and I also have a range of greeting cards published by Green Pebble. In addition, I take part in art fairs and festivals all over the UK throughout the year. I also co-organise Sheffield Print Fair, an annual event to help printmakers show and sell their work, and also show demonstrate their printing techniques.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m not really sure. I have quite a few events coming up, so I’m busy preparing for them, but I’m also planning some new prints. I’ve just finished a new donkey triptych and a print of a dog called ‘Woody’. I tend to post up about new prints, exhibitions and events on my blog and my newsletter too.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Take your time and find the medium for you. I tried all sorts of things, most of which I didn’t really get on with. Book on a workshop or two and see what takes your fancy. I also think it is important for creative people to do what you enjoy, not what is currently in fashion. If your heart isn’t in it
you won’t last long.

james green – printworks



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