An interview with Trent Walter
In your opinion what is so good about Printmaking and in particular etching?
The ability to make multiples and surfaces that are not possible in any other medium are the strengths of printmaking that I am drawn to. Etching is the most emotional of printmaking techniques. The depth of colour and mark making are qualities that cannot be reproduced any other way.
Can you give us a little bit of background about how you got involved in printmaking and what led you to become so well respected in the Australian print community?
I first tried printmaking at University of Melbourne in 1998. Soon after I had quit my enrolled course to take up Fine Art printmaking at Victorian College of the Arts. What got me hooked was the transformation of information from matrix to paper as both objects passed through the rollers of the press. Over time my relationship to printmaking has become more complex, though I have persisted and gain much joy from this engagement.
What are the top 3 things that an artist should know in order to be a successful Printmaker?
Be persistent, patient and open to what the medium may suggest.
What’s the best way to get started?
How long does it take to really become proficient at what you teach?
There is no single answer to this question: there is always something new to learn and think about. When it comes to printing, I’d say that after 3 years of art school I could print a hard ground etching pretty well while many other processes felt foreign to me. After 13 years of regular engagement, I do feel proficient in one sense, though on another level I feel like I’m just starting to get past the surface I scratched several years ago. In terms of the content of the workshop I will run in Townsville, 3 days will be enough to get participants started!
Will your techniques and processes work in a humid climate?
For the benefit of the workshop participants I certainly hope so! Though I lived in Darwin in 2006 and understand the challenges of printmaking in northern Australia. For Townsville printmakers coming south I imagine there could be the same difficulties, though in reverse.
How much experience in printmaking does an artist need to attend your workshop?
If you had one secret to give about Etching, what would it be?
Degreasing your plate well is the key.
What are some of the common problems that printmakers experience in etching combined with book arts?
How to deal with the plate mark when your etching plate is smaller than your page size + the transfer of ink from an etching on the recto page to the opposite verso page.
Where can people find more information about your professional practice?
What have been the benefits to your professional development to be an artist in residence?
The engagement with another community and the opportunity to spend time making my own work.
What tips can you give about applying to be an artist in residence?
Be true to your own work when making your application. i.e. be sure to apply to venues that could benefit your work rather than somewhere that might be nice for a holiday.