Featured Artist: Jonpaul Smith

Jonpaul Smith

I am pleased to introduce you to Jonpaul Smith, a professional artist and printmaker from Ohio that I had the pleasure of interviewing this month. He resides in Cincinnati where he creates unique relief prints using found objects. Below, you can read his full interview. You can also see hit portfolio and blog on his website, jonpaulcsmith.com


How would you describe your artwork and approach?

Through the use of traditional and alternative method printmaking with the combination of other mixed media and found paper I try to explore open-narrative, visual experiences. I do not want my work to make definite statements; instead it should highlight these juxtapositions of surface and broken imagery to allow the viewer to create their own visual narrative experience within my work. My most recent work involves the use of found and discarded paper from our consumer based culture. I consider this process one of gathering information while exploring the idea of the fine art print.

So, what is your preferred medium and subject matter?

I work primarily with Relief Printmaking. I also integrate found objects and document them through my printmaking process.

Love the use of found objects! Your Piece, 'Gun Sale'...What's the story behind that one?

The method predominately used during the creation of this print was relief printmaking. I began with an unassembled children’s wooden model of an assault rifle. I then took these unassembled wooden model pieces and attached them to mat board in the pattern of what you see as the final print.

The assembly of the pieces is symmetrical in nature forcing me to cut additional wooden pieces to mimic those that came with the original gun model kit. Once assembly was complete, the wood block was inked and printed in the traditional relief method.

I assembled this woodblock with a Rorschach test in mind. The idea of what you see in the print is tied into your subconscious wants and needs. Inside this print are the hidden parts of a gun, and to some, just a pattern-based abstract print.

'Gun Sale' | Jonpaul Smith

Amazing. How did you get started with Printmaking?

I completed my first intaglio in a high school art class. Yet my first real engagement came in college where I began working with large, detail orientated wood and linoleum cuts.

What is the thing that you love most about Printmaking?

It is difficult to single out one aspect of printmaking over others but I would believe it to be the ability to create the multiple. I have used printmaking not only as a medium to create finished prints but as a tool to create installations and large print based woven work.

Black on White, White on Black | Jonpaul Smith | Relief Print | 38"X46"

What is the thing that you struggle with most in your Printmaking?

Staying in love with my print after the carving. Occasionally I find myself so engaged in the process of carving the block itself that by the time I have finished my interest in the edition process is lacking.

I have always struggled with the inclusion of color within my work. I have a tendency to be drawn to an aesthetic of bold, graphic black and white prints. Also like many, trying to push my own visual dialog. It is difficult to step out of the comfort zone we sometimes create within our practice.

'Bullseye' | Jonpaul Smith

Is printmaking/art what you do full-time? If so, how did you start out? At what point did you realize this was something that could sustain you, and what was that like?

Printmaking/art is what I do full time. There is a peppering of adjunct teaching here and there along with working in different school districts leading art workshops/classes.

In regards to sustaining myself, I feel it more in an emotional level than a financial one. For me, not being an active artist in my daily life would not allow me to emotionally sustain myself. I am not sure if I ever worried about it sustaining me in a financial standpoint. I have always put my full effort into my art and believed that the results would work out.

This acceptance of myself only came through the loving emotional support of my wife. The best I can describe the feeling of that moment would be a sense of tentative freedom.

Vikki's Victorian | Jonpaul Smith


So how can people find you online?

My Instagram is @jonpaulsmithart

My website is www.jonpaulcsmith.com

You can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jonpaulsmithartist

Wrapping Up:

Thank you SO MUCH to Jonpaul for taking the time to interview with us! I think he has a great perspective on use of multiple media in printmaking! 

Thanks to our readers as well, who have read this far! Please leave a comment with your thoughts and get a discussion going! This is a wonderful opportunity to bring some minds together!

If you're interested in being a featured artist, contact me at JustPrintmaking@gmail.com

I plan to feature a new artist every month through an interview process similar to this.

Jonpaul Smith in the Studio