We enjoyed the visit, especially as things wind down as the year closes out. His perspective on handmade paper and printmaking gave us a renewed outlook as we focus on our goals for 2015. As you muse over yours, please enjoy his interview and images of his work. Thanks, David, it truly was our pleasure!
PCI: What kind of artwork do you do?
DAC: I’m really interested in the idea of trajectory and impulse and the way those two abstracts influence one’s direction, thought and the way we, as human beings, move, act, think and feel as a result of their influence. My work has always been an exploration of the idea that life is a series of small impulses and trajectories strung along a larger arc. Those concepts are manifested in many different ways in my work, and for the last several years most of them have been brought to life with encaustic and paper. Lots and lots of paper.
PCI: And we love to hear that! What or who has influenced/inspired you?
DAC: I find inspiration everywhere, but I’m process oriented, so typically I will have an idea in my head that is amorphous, it’s usually a feeling or an impulse that is pushing me to find it a physical form and I’ll be working in my studio on a different project and some bit of what I am doing will ‘bridge the gap” between the idea and the object, and the work will begin to take shape. Honestly though, at the moment I find great inspiration in the materials that I am working with. Materials can often be the “bridge” between the ephemeral and the physical. A perfect example is when you showed me the Sakamoto paper at 7th International Encaustic Conference. I had not worked with paper like that before, but I touched it and it triggered a curious spark. So, I bought every sheet she had and it took me about a year for that paper to find the right “idea” partner to form a dance. But I knew the minute I touched that paper that I could tell a story with it and that it would be the perfect marriage with the impulses that were percolating in my head.
PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?
DAC: Paper is language. It holds nuance and, because I am mostly printing right now, it is the catalyst for the image. As a material, paper is so versatile. It’s ephemeral or lasting, fragile or strong, absorbent or impermeable, but the most important quality to me currently is the organic nature of paper and it’s link to a historical context. There are so many different types of paper that can tell different stories. The work that I am doing at the moment is a direct result of the alchemy of process between particular types of paper, the encaustic paint I am printing with and the ideas that are asking to be made. The body of work I am currently making is very much a collaboration with paper.
PCI: We love the language analogy, as relating paper to language, semantics and cultural dialect is a part of my daily goal. After all, paper is a surface invented to transmit information via language, as your layered artwork does so very well. What do you like best about working with paper? Have you ever made paper?
DAC :I asked Catherine Nash, an artist, friend, author and expert on handmade paper, to show me how to work with high shrinkage flax last year. I loved working with the pulp and forming the sheets. I can see projects involving making my own paper at some point in the future, but for now I have my hands full with the work I am doing. I have visited some paper makers in Thailand and Cambodia, but I think a trip to Japan will be in order at some point when the ideas in my head get too big for the sheets that I am able to buy.
PCI: How did you hear about our company?
DAC: I first encountered Paper Connection International through you at the 7th International Encaustic Conference. I think I bought half of everything you had that first day. You had papers I had never seen before that had qualities that I knew would work well for me. Lauren, you have since become a good friend and a terrific resource for information. I’ll often email and ask about paper recommendations for projects. And I am really looking forward to visiting the store this fall for the first time. I have mostly been dialoguing with you at the Conference and by email, but so much of ones relationship to paper is tactile, so I am looking forward to touching everything in the store.
PCI: David, thank you so much. We really appreciated that first day at the Conference, as it led to such great things! Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers?
DAC: I have a rudimentary education in Japanese paper. Catherine Nash has been a terrific resource, and you and your staff at Paper Connection International have been a huge, huge help in illuminating and educating me in what is available. And I’m a voracious reader and researcher, so my knowledge of paper is ongoing.
PCI: In what ways did Paper Connection help navigate and perhaps inform you about Japanese paper?
DAC: When you introduced me to Sakamoto Heavyweight and your beautiful Kozo Natural. Those two papers form the foundation of my current work. That work would be telling a much different story without those two papers.
PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process?
DAC: Currently I’m working on a series of Encaustic Monoprints called “Ancient Histories” which is printed on Sakamoto, Sakamoto Heavyweight, Kozo Natural, and some Kitakata, Tamura Koban, Mexican Handmade, Akatosashi and Sekishu. The Sakamoto and the Kozo Natural form the backbone of the series. They are the most beautifully strong, forgiving and versatile papers. There is something unique that happens in the print process with these papers that is pure magic.
PCI: What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?
DAC: I particularly love the velvety texture and soft, organic color of the Kozo Natural, and the two opposing surfaces of the Sakamoto, both the smooth and the more velvety, and that it comes in two different weights. Both papers print well, but they each print slightly differently when printing with encaustic. And something particular occurs with the Sakamoto that doesn’t happen with any other paper. I like these papers so much I teach with them now.
PCI: We love hearing that! What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?
DC: Paper Connection carries paper that I cannot get anywhere else.
PCI: Thank you for noticing that! And yes, we try our best to provide those specialty papers while supporting the paper makers who craft them. Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:
DAC: I would recommend the Kozo Natural. It is such a glorious paper for encaustic printing.
PCI: Good choice. Bonus question: If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be? And would you talk about paper?
DAC: I’d have a conversation with my friend Catherine Nash. She’s such a gifted artist, and I love her work and the way she thinks. Catherine wrote an amazing book about artists that work with encaustic and paper called “Authentic Visual Voices: Contemporary Paper and Encaustic”. Spending time with Catherine is like going to Mount Olympus. She has such a wealth of knowledge about paper that the whole sky opens up and one looks around and discovers that the world is made with paper.
PCI: Catherine is truly is an innovator in the paper world; she is never afraid of using paper in new ways with a variety of materials.
We hope that visiting Paper Connection was like going to Mount Fuji? haha… I do remember you saying it was the highlight of your trip to Rhode Island; that was pure music to my ears. Thank you again, David! I am excited to have you visit Japan; I would be thrilled to be your guide.
Click on David’s website here.
Here are some images of David’s visit to our warehouse: