Once again this year’s Harris Open Exhibition showed a wealth of artistic talent from Preston and the surrounding area. One of the pieces that stood out was libellula frondossa, a detailed print of a dragonfly by artist Kathryn Poole. I wanted to find out more about the inspiration for her beautifully rendered work and Old Bear Press, the printing collective she has set up with fellow artists Heather Chou and Deb Neely.
Who are you and where are you based? I am a 24 year old artist based in Preston.
How long have you been drawing? I have been drawing since childhood but really started to focus on the technical aspects at around 14 when studying for my GCSEs.
I see you are studying at UCLAN, tell me a bit about your course. What drew you to print making? I am a final year student on the Drawing and Image Making BA which allows artists to explore the medium of drawing within a contemporary framework. Within the first year we were introduced to a range of new modules including printmaking where I began to learn the processes of etching and lithography specifically, as they allow you to draw directly onto the plate. I also like the idea that I am creating images with applied chemistry.
What inspired you to set up Old Bear Press? Heather Chou and I attended a couple of artist’s book fairs with the university and decided it was something we wanted to do professionally. We set up Old Bear Press together with Deb Neely because we share similar work ethics and we all specialize in artist’s books and printmaking.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Tell me a bit about your background in human biology. I studied human biology for 2 years at Queen Margaret University before deciding I wanted to do art. Subsequently I am interested in anatomy and natural history. I spend a lot of time in national museums and art galleries looking for new specimens to draw and I have worked with some of the scientists at the university. Last summer I had an internship with the archaeology department and also worked with one of the microbiology lecturers.
Have you exhibited elsewhere? With Old Bear Press I have been to the Manchester Artist’s Book fair, Volume Artist’s Book fair in Birmingham and the 2D Art fair in Liverpool. I also had work shown in the 2013 Project in the Hanover project space, the West Lancashire Open exhibition, and Point, an online artists’ book exhibition. I took part in the 20:20 project created by Hot Bed Press and will be taking part of the upcoming Journeys with Artlab Contemporary Print Studio.
Do you have any plans for when you graduate? I plan to do a Master in Fine Art and also keep developing Old Bear Press.
Have you found a lot of support for artists in Preston? There is a very supportive network within the university departments that I work in, especially with the printmaking department, the Artlab Contemporary Print studio and the AA2A (Artists Access To Art Colleges) scheme that UCLan is a part of. The AA2A runs a residency scheme with a number of universities nationally, allowing 5 artists a year to work in the studios.
All images copyright: Kathryn Poole