Open Studios: Anthony Hopkinson

We were thrilled to be able to talk to Anthony Hopkinson this month, learn more about his practice and see what he will have on show at Open Studios this summer. His home studio is well set up for him to explore different printmaking techniques.

Tell us about how you have changed your medium from painting to printmaking.

I have painted all my life but about twelve years ago I decided to try screenprinting.  I found I loved the idea of working in small editions – in my case usually editions of 20.  There’s something really pleasing about seeing a set of prints lying there drying and waiting for the next colour to be put on.  My prints are made up of between three and eight colours.

What techniques do you employ in your practice?

I work with paper stencils.  The areas to form each colour run are cut out of a sheet of freezer paper.  This is placed under a fine mesh screen and ink is pushed through the screen with a squeegee, like a window cleaner’s tool.  The ink will pass through holes in the stencil.   My ink is acrylic and therefore water based, which makes it non-toxic.  Ordinary paper would be affected by water-soluble ink but freezer paper has a fine gloss coating to protect it from moisture.

Describe your working space to us.

We moved to our present house almost six years ago.  There was a narrow strip at the end of the garden which was ideal for a small studio - just big enough for my wife, Sylvia, and I to work together without coming to blows.

Do you enjoy finding new ways of mark making?

The glorious thing about printmaking is finding new ways of adapting the traditional methods.  At the moment I am working on a process for monotyping, that is producing one off works using printing methods.  To form an image I manipulate acrylic paint on a sheet of smooth plastic or kitchen foil.  When its dry the image is coated with acrylic medium, that is the basic paint with no colour.  The image on its plastic sheet is pressed onto a sheet of paper.  The coating of medium will stick the image to the paper.  Once the medium is dry, the plastic, being smooth, will release the paint, leaving it on the paper.  I call this process dry transfer monotype.

What images do you like to depict in your work and do you work from photographs or sketches?

My favourite subjects are dogs, birds and architecture.  I always start the printmaking process with a sketch, though I often use my own photographs for reference purposes.

Your wife Sylvia is a painter too I understand. Do you ever collaborate or share ideas?

Sylvia paints in oils, pastel and watercolour.  She trained as a mature student at Anglia Ruskin University and has a BA in Illustration.   Sometimes we collaborate on a print;  I will take one of her sketches and make a screenprint from it.

Are you a member of any artists groups or societies?

This will be my fourteenth Cambridge Open Studio.  Sylvia and I are also members of the Cambridge Drawing Society, a group founded in 1882; despite the name it consists of painters, printmakers and sculptors.  Last year I was elected to full membership of the Armed Forces Art Society, which will have an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London from 15th- 20th July.

Do you attend any courses to learn or revisit certain techniques?

I often attend screeprinting and monoprinting workshops.  Apart from the pleasure of working with others, there’s always something to learn.

When can people come and see your work during Open Studios, and who is exhibiting with you at your venue?

Sylvia and I will be opening our studio on 20th/21st July and 27th/28th July.  We’ll be joined by our friend Frances Colquhoun (like us a member of the Cambridge Drawing Society.  She is a talented painter in oils and pastels, so there will be plenty to see.  Parking is easy in Selwyn Gardens and we have a cycle rack.

Open Studio Guide:

Anthony's website

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