Artist of the Month February 2018: Johnny UltraVex

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I'd like to introduce you to our featured Artist of the Month for February, Johnny UltraVex....but I can't. But what I can do is introduce you to this anonymous artist's work and story! UltraVex wants his art to speak for itself, and having no face to cloud things up works for him. So, without further ado, here's our interview!

So, Johnny, where are you from and what's your art about?

I'm from Wichita, Kansas USA. Art should be available to everyone. Art should be about how the viewer feels when they experience it. Things like who the artist is, who they know, where they went to school, who likes them, and who doesn't, should not be a factor. Because of this, I prefer to remain anonymous as much as possible and I do not price my works. I will accept whatever the person thinks the work is worth in their current state in life. I make Art that I enjoy and if someone else enjoys it as well, then I am beyond humbled.

Cool. So what do you prefer to work in?

I carve and print linoleum with safe wash oil. I prefer to carve and print signs, architecture or something I call "Dream Drafting."

Dream Drafting? What is that?

It's basically standard drafting techniques but making surreal shapes or shapes that can't exist. I also like printing over watercolor washes.

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Interesting. So how did you get started printmaking in the first place?

My Grandfather ran a print shop in a small town. When I was a boy I used to go to work with him and it always stuck with me. My father was a screen printer, but that always seems less intimate than carving relief printing blocks.

What would you say is your biggest struggle with printmaking?

Definitely stabbing myself. I have zero formal training in carving. I know the general idea of cutting away from myself and using a bench hook, but that seems boring. I cut based on feel, if it feels right, then I do it. If it results in me bleeding, well, you can't doubt my passion.

What about what you love most about it?

The calming aspect of carving and the reward of pulling off a print. I love to watch the curl of linoleum peel off and fall. I get bored very easily, so I usually do a very small amount of prints. Honestly, I would prefer to just make less than five and then destroy the plate.

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Is printmaking or art what you do full-time?

No, I have a traditional career. I don't think I could make art full time, I would get lazy and too into my own head. I like art to be something I can come home to and use inspiration that I have picked up throughout the day. For me, it's more of an outlet than a career path.

You've provided some images of very interesting prints. Can you tell me about them?

I planned my version of a show in my hometown of Wichita. I carved and printed scenes from around my town and then framed them and mounted them in the perspective they showed. As a result, I was asked if I would do some of these perspective prints of a local Art Park where they teach kids about art among other things. I agreed and went to look at the building. I instantly fell in love with them, even though they had siding, which I usually am not a fan of. I really love the way they turned out.

Awesome. Where can people find your work online?

My website is: JohnnyUltraVex.com 

My Instagram handle is: @johnnyultravex

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

Enjoy life; enjoy art.

Wrapping Up

A big thank you again to Johnny UltraVex for interviewing with us! I'm excited to see the wonderful work he's producing!

Thank you, our readers, for taking time out of your day and sharing in Johnny's art and perspective! 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 feature a new artist every month through an interview process similar to this.