An Interview with Lindsay Deifik
When did you start printing?
My first real experience with printmaking was a course taught by Shannon Collis, at Washington University in Saint Louis, where I completed my Undergrad. There was just such a good energy in the print department there, and in the print shop my love of drawing met the challenging mediation of the print matrix. There was something so exciting about the surprise and anticipation in pulling your first proof. I was hooked after printing my first collagraph. The department head, Lisa Bulawsky, pushed us all to rigorously consider every decision we made. There was no room for lazy thinking, but there was also a great sense of support within our small cohort. I think it made for a powerful combination.
Where do you make your work? Home studio? Shared print space?
I have a studio in a former church near my house in Philadelphia that I use for drawing and thinking. I find myself using the basement in the ridiculously beautiful Victorian house I live in in West Philly for the messier dye processes. My most recent project required a well-equipped print shop with a fabric table, so I worked out of Second State Press, an awesome community shop here in town.
How do you see your print background informing your more expanded practice?
The most appealing characteristic of printmaking is its ability to translate drawing onto sculptural substrates. I’ve moved through a chronology of making large-scale prints on cut paper, folded prints, the book form, and now my work with textiles and steel armatures. I see the current work as informed by print not only because I use serigraphic processes, but because I’m still very much engaged in moving drawn line into space. In my most more recent works light and line become interchangeable, as I’m working with opacity and translucency.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I just wrapped up a collaborative show, False Flame, with the sculptor and glass artist Nate Ricciuto at Pilot Projects here in Philly. This is the second iteration of our collaborative efforts, and I’ve found working with Nate to be a very freeing experience. This method has allowed me to validate play, experimentation, and compromise as studio practice. Our interests and approaches act as useful foils against one another, and I’m eager to continue working on projects with him.
I would also love to collaborate with Emmy Thelander and Chloe Bethany, two badass ladies with really different approaches to creative practice. I realize that I have a lot to learn from the methodologies of others, especially those I trust to make good aesthetic and conceptual decisions. I suppose I’m eager to engage in more experiments of trust and mutual support as a counter to the narrative as the lone artist as vector of genius.
Where are some of your favorite spaces in Philly for contemporary art or design?
I can walk to the ICA Philadelphia from my house, with the added bonus that it’s free. I went to the Nathalie du Pasquier show that was up this past winter at least three times. There’s usually something fresh or challenging to spend some time with there. To be honest, the Fabric Workshop & Museum is also a favorite because not only do I love many of the people who work there, but also they consistently exhibit world-class artists just a trolley ride away from me.
Also, this isn’t in Philly, and it’s not contemporary, but the Wharton Esherick House is a really exciting and inspiring museum in the area. Wharton was a printmaker, furniture designer, amateur architect, and someone who seemed to be allergic to right angles. I harbor a dream of living in the woods and just making things (who doesn’t?), which is something he made a reality for himself. The Louis Khan/Esherick designed house on the property is incredible.
What are you working on at the moment?
I mentioned I just took down a collaborative show, which consisted of a kinetic light sculpture, large fiber etched velvet panels, drawings, and a video. This second joint effort of my collaborator and I was cooked up over months of telephone calls, emails, and shared research. It was a challenge as Nate lives in Ohio with his wife, baby, and bear of a dog, but incredibly he made it work!
After working large and trying out lots of new things recently (welding, dying, large installations) I honestly just want to make some drawings. Instead of working on one large project I’d just like to loosen up and produce a mass of something that can wander and point me in new directions.
...And I wanted to add if/how your experience at the Fabric Workshop has continued to influence your practice? I’ve found myself that I recognize influences from that summer years later in sometimes unexpected ways.
Well, I’d been working with textiles before FWM, but the experience sort of helped me double down on it. In a way, it may have helped open me up to my collaboration with Nate, and just warmed me up to the idea of collaboration in general. Although we all made our own distinct yardage, there was a lot of teamwork involved. I think it also encouraged my textile works to get bigger and bigger!