Meet Nashville printmaker, Yanira Vissepo, our newest artist of the month. She uses carved blocks to create intricately-patterned, colorful prints of imagined symbols and designs. We recently met Yanira and had to know more about her work. Read our interview below on her process, influences, and what she's working on this summer. Find more of Yanira's work and daily musings on Instagram @yanimivi, and keep an eye out for some cool collaborations coming soon.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Yanira. “What do you do?” is always a hard question, so I’ll keep it simple. I enjoy spending time with my friends, cooking yummy meals, and making linoleum block prints in my living room while my pet turtle, Winston, watches me. He’s my number one fan. He loves music and sunbathing.
What’s your background? Did you study art?
I am 100% Puerto Rican, transplanted to the southern hills of Tennessee. I did not go to school for art, although I would’ve loved to. There are a few printmaking workshops I would really like to go to in the next year, or so. It would be cool to learn from people that have been printmakers for awhile.
When did you become interested in printmaking? What compels you to this art form?
About two years ago I was inspired by some artists that made prints on fabric and I wanted to try and print some of my designs at home. I chose linoleum blocks initially because all of the tools were accessible and I could easily start experimenting with them. I didn’t have a clear vision when I first started printing but it has been an art form that I’ve really enjoyed messing around with. Ultimately, it makes me really happy when I’m working on something.
Describe your process. What’s the best part?
1.Go to Plaza Artist Materials store
2. Spend way too much time and money
3. Go home
4. Draw up some images or shapes that I’ve been thinking about
5. Soften up my blocks with a hair dryer and carve away
6. Roll on some ink and stamp, stamp, stamp
The best part is putting on a few of my favorite records, smoking some weed, and hanging out with Winston in my sunny living room. I get really beautiful lighting in my apartment. Natural lighting is very important to me.
There’s a natural and feminine motif throughout your work, what draws you to these concepts as symbols?
I never really thought about my work being natural or feminine although I have had people say that to me before. If that’s what people see, then that’s pretty cool!
What’s your favorite block that you use?
It changes, but it’s usually the most recent one I’ve made.
Who or what influences your work? Who are some artists we should know about?
Everything around me! I think researching is a really big part of my process, learning from other cultures, artists, and even friends. I am fortunate enough to have friends and family that really push me and challenge me to keep going, and I am grateful for that. Most of my inspiration recently comes from books that were gifted to me or referenced by a family member or friends—a book on kilim rugs, a book on japanese block prints, and a book on patterns through ancient & tribal art. The best part is learning and producing as much as possible.
Kenji Yoshida & Seiichii Hayashi are my top favorites right now. Definitely look ‘em up.
Seiichi Hayashi 1980
Kenji Yoshida, La Vie. October Gallery
Where do you go to escape?
It used to be my studio space in the May Hosiery building. My best friend Ellie and I shared a space with Patricia who had been renting the studio for a long time, but all the artists got the boot a couple months ago due to new development. I’m still very sad about it.
Where's your favorite gallery or place to see art?
In Nashville, I am really enjoying the art shows that Elephant Gallery is putting up, but my favorite places to see art are the places where people have built installations outside of their homes. Like a man trying to build the biggest treehouse in the world here in TN, or a community of Earthships outside of Taos, NM.
What are you working on now? Where can we see more of your work?
I’d like to produce more color textiles this summer! I post most of my work on my instagram: @yanimivi :)
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m very excited to be a part of the Original Fuzz community and very thankful as well. If I haven’t made it clear yet...I can’t thank my family and friends enough for everything they are to me.
To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
e e cummings
Thank you to Yanira for inspiring us with your words and art. All original art by Yanira Vissepo. Cover photo by Jamie Goodsell.
FOUND is a monthly series by Original Fuzz. We aim to discover visual artists from every corner of the world, no matter the background or creative vision. We believe it's not just what you do, but how you do it. Art is important. FOUND celebrates the visual and those who create it, serving as a platform for the creative pioneers who keep us doing what we do.
FOUND is brought to you by Liz Earle, a writer who likes art. If you'd like to be a featured artist, let us know! Send a message to our editors at email@example.com.