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'Remembering Us' by Josephine Birch (left) and 'Spring, Beyond' by Flavia Pinto (right). Collage courtesy of the artists

Flavia Pinto and Josephine Birch

Please tell us who you are and what you’ve been working on recently.

JB: Josephine Birch is an award winning author-illustrator, printmaker. Working primarily on location, Josephine makes drawings on site bringing works back to the print room to allow memory and sense of place to direct the process. She is interested in how memory is affected and changed by recall. Josephine describes location drawing as a mesmeric activity that allows for memories to flow through her mind whilst focus is sustained on an unrelated subject. By collaging her prints together, combining immediate and forced memories she can create new works that reflect her drawing/thinking process. Josephine wants to create large scale works that engulf a viewer, like an overwhelming memory which stops you in your tracks, blurs your vision, takes over.

FP: Flavia Pinto is a printmaker and young mother, who specialises in all forms of intaglio. Her work sets out to record and beatify the world around us, especially the natural world; to achieve this she makes careful, detailed drawings from observation, which she later partially submerges in acid baths, cuts into smaller shapes, leaves to rust. Her practise of constantly transforming images is a reflection both on the ever-changing qualities of material life itself, and on the possibility that multiple truths can co-exist - after which things become what we believe them to be. Alongside teaching, she is currently developing a new project involving screen printing her images in large scale and re-combining them to form suggestive, mismatched print ‘collages’.

What drew you to each other’s practice?

Even though we did not know this at first, both of our creative practises’ foundations were very much drawing – and sketchbook – based. Drawing-based practises are still relatively niche, so it’s always refreshing to meet another young artist whose work is led by this medium. Josephine’s familiarity with drawing and skilled, expressive mark-making was thus one of the first things that stroke Flavia: ‘of course, both of us are printmakers, and both our practises are centred around the natural world; but more than that, we both have a very immediate and intimate relationship with our subjects, feeling most at home when drawing on-location, and that shows in our work’.

Josephine, who is always interested in finding ways to talk about the natural world and rural life in exciting ways, was intrigued by the delicacy of Flavia’s mark making, the concentration given to depicting natural forms with confidence and the contemporary feel of her cut ups. ‘I find it validating to meet a like minded emerging artist with an ambition to  make contemporary work about landscape, natural forms, rural life, whilst pushing boundaries in process and concept’.

It was only when we met up to consider a 1:1 FUND application that we realised both of us were working towards larger pieces; Josephine’s goal of make immersive, space-sensitive images combining perfectly with Flavia’s ideas of large panelled images, and the size limitations of printing with a press.