Bryn Gleason is a Chicago based Printmaking Artist specializing in Intaglio Copper Etching. Before her debut solo exhibition at the GreenPoint Gallery in New York, she received her BFA in Printmaking from the University of Minnesota, where she also studied Social Work. The concepts in Gleason’s early etchings was greatly influenced by her volunteer work with homeless and underprivileged youth. Supporting her concepts, Gleason’s print work demonstrates an impressive understanding of traditional and contemporary printmaking processes. Her use of both photographic and hand manipulated imagery, crafted on copper plates for intaglio printing, is uniquely experimental and skillfully executed. She often incorporates delicate and detailed images with aggressive and sporadic line work, resulting in an overall aesthetic that is dark, moody, and eerily captivating.
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: a Q & A with Bryn Gleason
How long have you been at CPC?
I’ve been a member of CPC since I moved to Chicago, almost three years ago.
What’s your favorite type of printmaking?
My favorite Printmaking Process is Intaglio Copper Etching. I took an intro to etching class over 11 years ago. From the moment I pulled my first proof print, a little 9”x12” line etching of a bird and a sea monster, I was in love. I knew I would be pursuing Intaglio Printing for the rest of my life. The process and its results are simply so unique and beautiful.
Why do you make art?
I make Art because there is nothing I enjoy more. It is my favorite way of expressing my thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I’ve always been a visual person who learns and works best with my hands. I love the concept of capturing a mood, or creating a visual aesthetic, that can inspire the viewer to feel and think deeply.
What other media do you enjoy working with?
My second favorite medium is a combination of felt tipped pens and water color paints. I have an ongoing series of “Dirty Birds” that encompass a more lighthearted and colorful aesthetic than my Intaglio work. My third favorite medium is a combination of visual, smell, and taste stimuli. I create Craft Cocktails for Bars and Restaurants, which is a fun and interactive way to share my creativity.
Cool stuff coming up?
I am currently working on two commissioned printmaking projects. One is a Dirty Bird painting that I am recreating as limited edition Silk Screen Posters for the local band AirStream Futures. The other project is a “metal creature” etching for the Metal Music Fest, Scorched Tundra, held annually in Sweden and Chicago. This is my third consecutive year creating a “Tundra Creature” for ST and I look forward to continuing this series with the fest. More information here.
I am also finishing a spiked prehistoric bird etching for Chicago Printmakers 30 Year Anniversary Portfolio Exchange!
Lastly, my work will be exhibited and for sale at [BLNK] Haus on February 15th for Big Dark Love, an anti-valentines day Art Exhibition. Facebook event here.
What direction are you planning to go in the coming year with your work?
Over the course of the next year I would like to work with more musicians, creating more album Artwork, custom merchandise, and limited edition concert posters.
What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading, Drinking Like Ladies, 75 Modern Cocktails from the World’s Leading Female Bartenders, by Kirsten Amann and Misty Kalkofen. I recommend it to all female bartenders and restaurant industry professionals.
What is your favorite non-art distraction?
My favorite non-Art distraction, is cooking. Which, is also an Art form, but its one that I do to unwind, relax, and creatively play with flavors.
Who are three artists (dead or alive) that inspire you?
First, Käthe Kollwitz has always been a favorite Printmaker of mine. Her etchings, drawings, and lithographs hold such intense and deep feeling. I love how strong she draws hands and how much emotional weight her androgynous characters carry in their bodies and faces. “Woman With Dead Child” and “Death and Woman” are two of my favorite, beautifully moving prints by Kollwitz.
Second, Jerald Krepps, my Printmaking Mentor and former college Professor. Though its been years since I worked alongside Jerry, I still appreciate and respect him wholeheartedly. He not only taught me most of what I know about Printmaking, but he also inspired and encouraged me to work hard and to never stop pursuing what I love.
And third, Deborah Lader, founder, owner, and operator of the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative. Not only is Deborah’s Print Work impressive, but she also runs the longest standing cooperative Printmaking Studio in Chicago. Creative, talented, down to earth, and an overall badass woman. As another female printmaker, it’s hard to not be inspired by Deborah’s Artwork and accomplishments.
In your past life, you were a ____ ?
Bird of some kind.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
I made my Partner, Riv, a leather-bound cocktail notebook. I made it with Rive’s BFK Warm White paper and soft, brown-black, leather form a worn-out leather jacket. I’m not an expert at book binding, but it turned out pretty damn nice.
What color crayon are you in the crayon box?
Black. I typically print with black ink, wear black clothing, make black stained frames for my Artwork, and stain my furniture black.
What’s your favorite thing about CPC?
First, the Aquatint Box. It’s part of the reason I chose to move to Chicago. Not a lot of studios have aquatint boxes anymore, and my work relies heavily on Aquatint Spit-Bite.
Second, the creative community. I love cooperative Printmaking studios because they inspire creative collaboration. I have a small etching studio, instead of a living room, in my apartment. Even with small projects that I could complete at home, I oftentimes choose to work at CPC because I am continuously inspired by the other Artists’ creative energy and shared focus and passion for Printmaking. Out of all the studios I have worked in, CPC has one of the most positive, comfortable, casual, communal environments, while also being a clean, organized, and professional work space. It’s a top notch studio, to say the least.
To purchase any of the work you see above, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out Bryn’s work in person during our open gallery hours every Friday and Saturday from 12-5:00pm. You can also visit Bryn’s website and follow her on Instagram. Read other Member Spotlight interviews here.