Interview with Lizzie Christian (Rare Press)

As part of my Illustration course I have been required to contact and interview a practitioner in the field for an interview. Within my own work I have recently been particularly interested in printing, specifically lino cut printing, and one day aspire to work as a freelance printmaker myself. I have followed Lizzie Christian, also known as RarePress, on instagram for a while and find her lino cut prints to be absolutely beautiful; in doing some research this up and coming Illustrator appears to have serious potential so I decided to reach out to her to find out a bit more about her work.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your work, what processes do you use to create your work?

My name is Lizzie Christian and I’ve been printmaking since 2014 under the name Rare Press. I come from a very artistic family; my dad is a sculptor and my mom is a jewelry maker who’s always interested in new and fun art endeavors. My sister got the artistic genes, too! I studied art in college but didn’t pursue it as a business until just recently. Before starting Rare Press, I taught preschool special education for three years at a public school, a challenging and rewarding job that didn’t allow time for art-making.

I notice that my process often involves jumping in before an idea becomes stale or uninteresting. I find that if I don’t chase an idea soon after it appears in my head, it just never becomes reality. I love having a strong idea and making it happen in one or two evenings. It’s been a few months since this has happened but I always look forward to the next strike of inspiration!

What inspired you to begin printmaking? Are there any particular artists that made you want to start printmaking?

I didn’t intentionally plan to try printmaking in 2014; I was working on a larger scale poster for a dance night and wasn’t sure what method to use to make something so big. I ended up buying rubber and carving tools, and produced a set of 50 hand-printed posters. It wasn’t so bad for a beginner! I fell in love with carving soft rubber and have been making prints since then, trying new things like reduction printing (printing with multiple colors on the same block), and printing repeating fabrics on patterns and sewing pillows from the printed material.

I didn’t notice a direct inspiration from a particular artist, but I’ve always had an appreciation for the art of Picasso, Matisse, Basquiat, the Fauves, and many modern photographers. I notice that I find inspiration all around; visiting museums can be really good for this, or even just looking through a magazine, or seeing photographs in a book.

How do you promote yourself and your work? 

Promotion is such a weird thing!  Keeping the Etsy shop interesting and stocked is not a simple task; I find myself just wanting to make more new art, and the maintenance piece of the work becomes less important. Social media can be really useful for promotion, though.

What social media websites do you find most beneficial in promoting yourself?

I post often on Instagram which has increased my sales a bit and it feels great to share my work with many people. Instagram is really interesting because you can put your work out there in a real way and have exposure to people from everywhere. It’s pretty cool!

How do you go about getting yourself commissions, is it primarily through your social media/self promotion? 

I get commissions somewhat often, mostly from friends and family! Like a portrait of someone’s dog, for example. It feels great to have people reach out when they want a specific print; I’m glad to be able to provide that service!

Do you often send promotional material off to larger companies or do you primarily focus on promoting yourself to customers who buy prints from your etsy store?

Because I’m still new to selling my work, I haven’t sent material out into the world yet. As of now, I’m focusing on Etsy and my Instagram audience; Instagram especially lets me get a feel for which designs might work best to sell, which prints might look good on t-shirts, and so on. The feedback that can pop up on Instagram is really helpful and appreciated.

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