JP Willis





Born in Wales, Willis studied Fine Art and Printmaking at Royal West of England Academy of Art, and the University of the West of England where he completed a Masters in Printmaking.  Willis moved to the north coast of New South Wales in 2000 and teaches at the North Coast Institute of TAFE while developing his arts practice. 

In recent years Willis has moved away from hand-printmaking to digital printmaking in the form of large-scale digital prints, although he regards himself as a painter working in the landscape tradition.  His painterly approach translates into layers of images with an extraordinary sense of depth and shadow that stretches the techniques of digital printmaking to the limit. 

Self-contained, uncompromising and contemporary, Willis’s steady output has created a body of work laced through with dystopian themes: the nastiness of humanity, the inevitability of the cruel twist, examining the world around him with a painter’s sensibility and a sharp eye.

Willis’s prints and artists’ books are held in collections around the world including Tate Britain (UK), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia),  Rikhardinkatu Library (Finland), Graphic Studio (USA), and the University of Miami (USA).


Printmaking and Artists' Books: Collaboration and Exchange in a Digital World


Art schools promote the idea of the individual artist, working in isolation to produce masterpieces 1: 'the artist in his garret' clichÇ.  Working collaboratively seems to go against the institutional expectation of a unique author.  Collaboration asks difficult questions about authenticity, originality and ownership and digital collaboration, especially in the realm of printmaking, intensifies the questioning with additional issues surrounding authorship and how limited a limited edition can really be.
The artist-in-his-garret model presupposes that collaboration results in inferior work, whereas the work of the inspired individual is supreme.  The model has been reinforced through the centuries: while artists have always worked with others in the production of their work (think Leonardo da Vinci, Bridget Riley or Damian Hirst) it has always been a hierarchical relationship.  And yet digital technology, as well as digital tools, gives the artist many more models of relationship and interaction to choose from.
In discussing collaborative practice in digital printmaking I engage in two very different types of relationship, both of which are concerned with the creation of a final digital output: that of the artist with the printer and that of an artist collaborating with another artist at a geographical distance.
There is an assumed difference between these relationships: that the first is a hierarchical relationship between an artist and an artisan who somehow assists in the means of production of the artistic output, and that the second is a partnership of equals, working together to create the artistic output and, possibly, engaging in a hierarchical relationship with other workers to produce the artistic outcome.


Tuesday 27 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm





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