Delve Into The Delicate Nature Of Mark-Making: An Interview with Jillian Sokso
Jillian Sokso’s work speaks of the fragility of the environment, human relationships and fleeting beauty. She is focusing on the nature of mark-making, and works almost exclusively with one of a kind images as opposed to edition printing. With her works she beautifully utilizes relief printing and serigraphy, presenting delilcate, ogarnic forms with a surprising degree of depth.
SG: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JS: I'm primarily inspired by nature and human relationships, but textile and furniture design, the history of feminism, and the anthropomorphism of furniture all have bearing on my work. I really love the materials I work with, particularly Japanese washi, because I feel a collaborative responsibility to the master papermaker. The surfaces of the papers I use allow for the type of imagery, color and translucency that I find compelling and really keep me investigating.
I'm learning recently- maybe the last five years- to love poetry, which I think takes time and maturity. The written word inspires me and poems that resonate with me usually lend language and visual imagery to my work.
SG: What are you working on at the moment?
JS: I just finished a series of works on paper titled "After Louise", about 40 pieces of chine colle, silkscreen and relief monoprints based on Louise Bourgeouis' fabric drawings. I love that Louise is heralded as a feminist art icon but she really just cared about making work and being seriously considered. Her work is intensely autobiographical yet very accessible to all- and I wish that for my work also. The pieces in this series all contain shield, cup and cloud shapes, I think of them as something to defend, fill and feed in this time where we as a human race race so many challenges that divide people.
Right now in the studio I have some three dimensional relief paper sculptures happening. They are slowly working out and inspired by aquatic plant life. I recently returned home from a month long trip to Spain and Portugal where I did research photographing the sea and coastal landscapes, so I think the sculptures are going to move faster now.
SG: Is there a specific theme or concept you keep in all of your work or does it change with each series?
JS: When I approach a new body of work the ideas or content are typically new- but my process is often the same. I take photographs of images I'm interested in- patterns that occur in nature and the built environment, sometimes subjects more specific. I translate the photos into drawings which end up as printmaking matrixes, and I layer the imagery in multiple ways until I am satisfied.
SG: If you could own one work of art what would it be?
JS: Without a doubt, Willie Cole's Heart of Gold. I even made a drawing about it once! The drawing is called "outline a heart of gold". I was fortunate enough to host an exhibition of Willie's work when I directed the Ortlip Art Gallery at Houghton College years ago. His pieces have an incredible presence.
SG: What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
JS: I think first and foremost I am interested in my audience recognizing beauty and seeing something familiar in the work that resonates with them. I want the work to be accessible to as many people as possible. I love the materials I work with and I want the audience to My work ranges from having very non-objective sensibilities to more overt content, so my goals for the viewer change.
SG: What advice would you give somebody who has just started their artistic career?
JS: I think what is really important to is know what you are interested in and how that translates into your practice. Make what you want to make and don't be led too far by what you think the market needs. If you know your work well, you will know and recognize your audience and that will translate into success in many ways. It's also not a culture of scarcity- good work will find a place in the world and even if you don't achieve commercial success, your studio practice will fill your life with many dividends.