Artist Interview: Mariko Jesse

Mariko is an illustrator and printmaker. She’s been part of Art Byte Collective for a year. In this interview she talks about color, artists and her studio practice.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette?
I tend to use organic colours in my work, like browns, greens and reds, but I like adding little details of bright pink and yellow.

Do you have a favourite artist?
I love artists whose work is unlike mine, but make me think in a new way, or surprise me and inspire me conceptually, eg. Howard Hodgkin, Cornelia Parker, Richard Wentworth, and James Turrell. I’m also inspired by illustrators, such as Tove Jansson, Quentin Blake and Laura Carlin.

Explain your work in up to 40 words.
I’m an illustrator and printmaker, working in etching and mokuhanga (Japanese woodblock), and my prints are generally small and delicate. Being Eurasian, my work explores ideas about sense of place, belonging and mixed heritage. 

Do you pursue any themes? If so, what?
My work often features ceramics, specifically chinaware concerning tea. Tea, and its visual history, is endlessly fascinating to me. I’m inspired by ordinary things, like the teacups we use every day.

Describe your studio practice? Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
I can only start making prints when the studio or place I’m working is completely clean and tidy. It quickly becomes chaotic, but it has to start tidy!

Where is your favorite place to do work? Do you have a dedicated workspace or routine?
Working in the print studio is one of my favourite things. It’s a separate environment from my daily life, and I’m then able to shift my mind into a creative mode. I do my illustration work in a design studio, but love making prints in a space where I can make a mess!

Do you do any research and what kind if you do?
I always do research before starting any project or artwork. Usually it’s visual research, in the form of sketches from museum or library visits. I sketch all the time, and my many sketchbooks become my inspiration and source of information.

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
I made my first print at around 4 years old; a monoprint made at kindergarden, but formally learned etching at art college. I studied mokuhanga in 2004 in Japan.

What do you like about this medium and what are its challenges?
There’s something special about printmaking, an element of chance, that I absolutely love. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but just as often it can be perfect! I’m concentrating on mokuhanga at the moment, and looking forward to experimenting more.

What would you like people to know about your work.
My works are prints, which means they are part of an edition of a certain number, but as I usually work into my prints individually afterwards, in a variety of ways, they then become unique pieces, and not part of an edition. That’s why they are usually marked 1/1. 

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