PAST: CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
52x72cm, screen print
Click on the thumbnails to view full image
ABOUT THE WORK
In Kristina's own words
I am showing horrible history for children, they had no rights, It was mentally tough, little kids working adult jobs, instead of baby sitting, a baby is left in a basket, etc. I used very bright colours that make it difficult to look at the print, because it was difficult for children before these laws.
Kristina Nabažaitė is a printmaker, working mostly through screen print and lino, researching and developing ideas through photography and mixed media. She has an experimental approach to colour, creating unique colour combinations. Her work is often absurd, drawing inspiration from everyday life. She uses humour to confront current global issues and and also to bring her own random thoughts and daydreams to life.
We had a short chat with Kristina to get to know her better
How did you get into making art?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative, but I never knew what exactly. When I was 16 I attended art school (evening classes where we learnt drawing, painting etc). I started off doing Graphic Design, but I didn’t enjoy it because I don’t like using computers so much.
I came to the UK to study English, and ended up going to university to do Fine Art. I loved how self-directed the degree was because I enjoy having freedom to explore. I tried printmaking and really fell in love with it - it really feels like “my thing”.
What is it about printmaking that you love?
I like how physical it is - you have to clean a lot, walk around the studio, mix paints, move things. I have a lot of energy and I get bored easily - with printmaking I am always busy and doing different things so it keeps me interested.
Screen printing is my favourite - you print, lift the press and see what happens. It’s always a surprise - there are so many things you don’t control. I like experimenting and trying new things, splashing colours and seeing what happens. Testing ideas is very quick with screen printing!
The colours are great too - you can get really bright and vivid colours and I love that. Also the size - you can print very large pieces quickly.
There are so many different printing techniques, and you can mix them together like lino and screen printing. I always have something new to learn, every time I experiment I am learning.
Do you allow room for lucky mistakes when printing?
Oh yeah! Sometimes I mix colours and it doesn’t look good at all, but then you put another layer and it really works. Most of my prints are random - just trying things out.
I’m not afraid to fail, I don’t go by the rules - I’m always trying new things. Sometimes it looks awful, like really brown colours but other times I get a great result, and I learn so much from the process of experimenting. It helps me understand what I am doing so much more.
Do you use your painting training when mixing colours?
I use a lot of premixed colours. I hate waste, and I try to save water and save the planet. There is always so much premixed paint in the studio and no one is using it. I take the premixed pots, but then I experiment with layering - combining different colours on paper to see what the result comes out like.
If I have an exact idea of what I want then I mix my own, but most of the time I just experiment.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?
My ideas come from the world around me - from my friends, movies, or dreams. Sometimes I dream and I draw it. Everything that I doin life is reflected in my work.
In terms of artistic influences, I am drawn to surrealism, weird and humorous things. I like looking at a bright bold illustration and seeing a deeper meaning. Illustrators like Andrey Kassay - I love his work! You look at it and it's a nice simple illustration with bright colours, but then you look deeper and you see a different meaning.
Esoterism also is a big interest - it’s like a different part of the world that we don’t see. There is a Russian absurdist writer Daniil Kharms, I think he is really a genius. He wrote about kids and I used him as one of my inspirations for this commission.
Talk me through your creation process
I get a little spark of an idea, and I start sketching. I like to do everything immediately while the idea is fresh in my mind. I draw everything by hand, I don’t usually use computers to separate colours. It’s a lot of work and it takes time but I love it, so it doesn’t feel like work to me.
I usually get to the studio for around 9am, and stay until 5pm. I spend about two days or more drawing everything, if I get annoyed that it’s taking a long time then I do something else for a while like cleaning, paper cutting or mixing inks.
The printing process is usually about 4-6 days for me. I experiment with the background, try different colours, play around in the studio. So a large print takes about a week.
What does art mean for you?
Art is expressing yourself. We human beings need to actualise ourselves and art is part of that. It's my way of reflecting on the world, how I see it. Art is a very aesthetic thing, and we need it to make our lives nicer.
I am a big believer that whatever you do in life - you must enjoy it. And I really enjoy printmaking.