Q&A with Jing Wei
Jing Wei is a Chinese-born illustrator and printmaker. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and works out of a studio in Greenpoint.
How old were you when first began dabbling in art? What medium did you begin with and do you have a favorite one that you use or a particularly favorite piece you’ve created?
I used to have a magnetic drawing board toy that I was obsessed with as a kid. Does that count as a medium? My favorite thing to draw was really generic looking fish. I’ve never made any great fish-related pieces in my adult life, but I did make a few collages recently that I was really happy with. That’s definitely my favorite medium right now.
What inspired Divers Journal? Was it originally contracted by a client?
I had originally created the sketch of that piece for a financial magazine, which is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when you look at the image! The prompt had something to do with target-date investing. The sketch was rejected, but I was able to use a gallery show opportunity as motivation to resurrect it.
How does woodblock printing work—how do you create a woodblock print and how many prints can a typical press withstand?
I actually print everything by hand, though I would love to have a press in the studio. Right now I just use a bamboo disc baren to burnish the back of the paper, and finish it off with a bone folder. I use the reductive woodblock printing technique, which means I carve each layer from one piece of wood, as opposed to multiple. Basically, I print each layer of color from lightest to darkest, and carve the information away as I go. It’s a faster process and makes registration super easy, even though it limits the number of prints I can make.
Finally, do you have any sort of routine you go through when you’re having artist’s block?
I mostly get stuck on concept and ideas, in the sketch phase of a job. But I don’t really see that as having artist’s block, because there is a problem-solving aspect that is always very practical. Whenever I feel like I’m having trouble with an assignment, I just drop it for a while and go do something else that doesn’t require much brainpower. Watching music videos and eating snacks has consistently proven to be helpful in this department.
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