In my quest for world (printmaking) domination, I’ve been searching out all the wonderful people who are already creating beautiful prints. While browsing Etsy, I came across Jessica Fontenot’s shop – Here to There prints – and fell a little bit in love with her work. Her imagery is sometimes simple, sometimes intricate, but always bold and imaginative. The kind that makes you wish you’d thought of it first. All of it.
So I got in touch with her just to make sure she knew that her stuff's great, and asked her a few questions, as follows...
What, or who, first got you into screen printing?
I was first introduced to screen printing when I took the basic printmaking studio course at college. It was one of a few different techniques we learned. My favorite professor is a poster artist and I think I was in awe of what he did and the way he talked about posters. Plus I love paper so much.
What's your favourite aspect of the printing process?
The pulling part. I do mostly digital design at my day job only utilizing my right index finger on the mouse, so I think getting into the studio and actually working with my hands is my favorite part. My back kinda hurts and there's ink all over me and in my hands is a stack of prints. There's spontaneity and random unpredictable outcomes/challenges.
The unpredictability is great. Though when you get the registration spot on and it’s exactly how you wanted, that’s pretty special too... In your experience, what are the ingredients for creating a piece of work you feel excited about?
I feel like I have multiple ideas constantly tumbling around. The bad ones eventually just fall away and the ones that stay with me for weeks are the ones I know to follow through with. When I can't stop thinking of an idea and it makes me jittery in my bones until I get it on paper, I know it's a good one.
Jittery bones are the best. What or who inspires your work?
Man, this is a tough one. Everything? Can I say everything? I guess what truly inspires me is smart design, trees, music, food, architecture. People who are trying to make their future no matter if it's art or music is one of the most inspiring things. Being in Austin I've got friends in bands, and they astound me with their ability to stand up there and give it all they've got, with just their belief in themselves.
So what encouraged you to take the leap and start selling your work?
I moved to Austin after graduating from college without knowing anyone in the city. I had A LOT of time on my hands. I found a screen printing co-op and I just threw myself into it. I started spending all my free time drawing and working and going to the studio. It was a bit scary to put it out there on Etsy, but you have to do it. I once read 90% done and out there is better than 100% perfect and in your head. I want to be known for something and I feel like Etsy is my first step in learning how to share my work.
It’s such a useful platform to get your stuff out there to a wider market. But I noticed you’ve also been sharing your work in other places; I love your #44drawings project you're posting on Instagram (not stalking you, obvs) – how’s it been keeping up with daily drawing?
I am so happy it's over!!!! I've always wanted to commit to something like that and all the times I have tried, I always end up quitting within the first week. There were some days where I put an hour or two into them and then other days drunkenly drawing a circle just so that it'd count. I won't be doing anything like that for a while but I feel that it got the sketching bug back into me. And once again by just taking the step to put work out there even if I don't think it's great, I get positive feedback and it makes me want to do more.
I love love love your mix cd sleeve, I printed one for my friends this Christmas but it was nowhere near as cool or pun-based... which tracks would you hope to be included on a compilation made for you?
Thank you so much! Those little guys were so much fun to make. Right now I cannot get enough of Hannah Georgas. I also have a mild obsession (my friends would laugh at my use of the word 'mild') with Sara Bareilles. She curses a lot and drinks whiskey. She spent over 15 years playing in coffee bars and Chinese restaurants. She never gave up and now it's all happening for her. People who work their asses off and don't stop, ugh they just make me want to do the same. So throw her in the mix for sure (listen to Come Round Soon on her live album she just released). Recently I've been listening to Tame Impala, Bright Moments, Fiona Apple -- oh and do yourself a favor and go listen to Samantha Crain right now. I saw her open for Gregory Alan Isakov and she just wowed me.
Ok, there’s lots in there I need to look up... And do you have a screen-printing sound track?
Pandora is usually what I listen to, the Tame Impala station is my go to printing music. I tend to listen to 'sad music' as some like to call it. But Tame Impala is more upbeat and goes with the motions of printing.
Tame Impala are good’ns. So what's on the horizon for Here to There? Any exciting projects coming up?
Next steps at the moment are developing some items that aren't prints. There's also some prints that will be coming out soon too!
Excellent, keep me posted! And finally, are rubber stamps the best things ever? (Jessica has a beautiful looking one of her logo on her website, mmm)
RUBBER STAMPS ARE WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. That's actually what I'm hoping to pursue for Here to There this year, a set of vintage-inspired mail stamps!
I look forward to seeing them! And if you decide against the vintage theme, I think a rubber stamp of the hand mixer from the CD sleeve would be pretty ace too.
Thanks Jessica! I recommend everyone go and check out all her lovely things right now on the Here to There website