The Process of Printing with Ashley Schick

by Jonathan Williams
 After receiving the distinction of becoming one of The Creatives Project's resident Artists-in-Studio for 2012, Atlanta printmaker Ashley L. Schick is once again campaigning for votes. With one of her prints ("Return the Gesture") being chosen as one of 20 finalists for Akua's Fade to Black Small Print Competition, she could be representing TCP in a big way, which would obviously make us quite proud. But that's only one of the many projects this SCAD-Atlanta graduate has going on right now. After you go vote for her print (voting ends at 2 p.m. April 30), you can read this interview she did with The Creative Process. But GO VOTE FIRST.


Photography by: Neda Abghari

How did you get involved with The Creatives Project and how has it benefited you as an artist?

I heard about it from a friend who's an artist and it sounded like a really great opportunity. I like working with students and the opportunity to have studio space at the Goat Farm sounded awesome. I graduated in June, so I lost my studio space at school. I applied and was lucky enough to be selected. I've been able to work at the Goat Farm and meet the people there and I've also been able to have a mentorship with the One Love Generation, which has been phenomenal. To be able to spend time with the high school students and see where they are on their artistic paths and be a role model for them has been really rewarding.

Considering that you teach and create, it sounds like your TCP studio space almost doubles as a classroom.

We did a studio class with the students. I'm a printmaker by training and printmaking is a very equipment intensive process. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a little press from a friend and I've been able to use water soluble ink, so it's not a process that uses chemicals or acids or anything. I demonstrated that process to the One Love Generation class. But for myself, I use the space as an artist studio.

You also work with accomplished sculptor Brian Dettmer. Tell me a little bit about that.

I am his studio assistant. I applied to be his studio assistant through the Working Artists Project, which is through MOCA GA [the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia]. They pay for the artists who win the Working Artists Project grants to have a studio assistant, so I got that opportunity. Then we burned through the hours that MOCA GA would fund very quickly because we did tons of projects. Then he hired me as his assistant independently. It's been really great. He's been a great mentor, directed me to different show opportunities and I've gotten to meet different people in the community through being his assitant. Just seeing how a working artist structures his studio time, press and publicity and even archiving his images and files has been a great learning experience.

Also, in the meantime, two of my classmates and friends from grad school, Laura Cleary and Shaun McCallum, and I have purchased a printmaking press and are starting our own professional print shop, Straw Hat Press. We're in talks with the Goat Farm to have space there and I probably wouldn't have gone to the Goat Farm without the TCP opportunity and making friends with everyone there. We'll also be demonstrating some intaglio printmaking from 1-4 p.m. in the Wieland Pavilion Lobby of the High Museum during the Print Fair, May 12th and 13th.


Goat Farm inspired paper cuts from the "On The Farm" series

Tell me a little more about the Akua contest.

I've been making these little prints in my TCP Goat Farm studio and using these non-toxic and low toxic inks. They had a call for works for small prints and there's a contest related to it where if you're chosen as a finalist your piece can be voted to be first, second or third place to get materials and a workshop for free. I was selected as one of the 20 finalists and during the month of April you can vote for my piece on their website.

Do you have any other creative projects in the works right now?

The print shop is taking up a lot of time. Another thing that lead us to starting the print shop, besides getting the press, was I've been able to work on this collaboration with Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond. They're doing a print publishing collaboration, among other things, so I get to work as a printmaking assistant/master printer role for these print projects.