Mami Yamamoto painting

Print Studio Demo Artist Mami Yamamoto

Mami Yamamoto will be in the Print Studio demonstrating monotype printmaking techniques October 27-28.

In the past 20 years, I have heavily been engaged with Japanese antiques, particularly textiles, folk arts, and crafts. Each artifact I have encountered and collected possesses unique beauty, based on the choice of materials and execution to become functional. In those everyday objects, I often find the most sincere and genuine beauty and I am choosing a similar path to create something intangible in my own life.

– Mami Yamamoto

Ally Kotarsky: What will your demo at the DAM look like? What can visitors expect?

Mami Yamamoto: I create monotype prints, which are all one of a kind type prints, not editioned prints. I use plexiglass for a plate and roll a layer of oil base ink on the surface of a plexiglass and manipulate the inked surface by using different tools, mostly non-traditional types, to create the design I desire and print on a BFK paper through a hand-pulled press. I repeat this process several times, layering the design images on the same paper until the print is completed. The visitors will see the transformation of the print image as I repeat the layering designs during the process of printing. Since layering designs often create a complex surface image, my printmaking process tends to be spontaneous in many ways, not having an exact image of the final work.

AK: What are the most important elements in your work?

MY: Color, form, and surface texture, along with a balanced composition.

AK: Your prints have very unique color palettes. Can you tell us a little about your color-making process?

MY: The colors are always a part of my focus and I make (mix) 'my own' colors on all my prints. The surface texture is another element that I love to explore, often using non-traditional materials to meet satisfaction. Color choices and coordination matter significantly to my vision. I rarely use ink directly from tubes. Muted colors, instead of primary kinds, are my preferred choices. I believe that having an interest in both vintage and contemporary textiles all my life has hugely influenced for my color pallet, along with my cultural heritage as Japanese.

AK: What are some of your favorite techniques and unusual materials to experiment with when making a new print?

MY: I love to draw directly on the inked surface. I use Japanese q-tips (because they have tighter ends than the American ones!), sharpened disposable chopsticks, plastic forks, linen fabric, and so forth in order to create the lines and designs I desire. Using these non-traditional tools helps me to execute spontaneous lines and designs.

As the word 'mono' indicates, these prints you are about to see are all one of a kind. I use oil base ink on plexiglass and create my own designs by using a variety of techniques, such as free drawings, chine-collé, collagraph, stencils, and so forth.

"Visitor, Very Unexpected" Monotype by Mami Yamamoto.
Visitor, Very Unexpected monotype by Mami Yamamoto.

Ally Kortarsky is an artist and studio programs Intern in the department of learning and engagement.

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