Pia Van Nuland

Artist Interview
May 23, 2021
Pia Van Nuland

Like most people I use my cell phone camera to capture impressions from travels, hikes or every day situations. But for me it's like a sketchbook that I can read through when I am back home in my studio.


Using Photoshop, I then create a kind of an ideal, sharpened reality from these snapshots. So the composition of my picture is always ready when I start working on the printing plate.


The template has to be mirrored before I print it out on a 1:1 scale and transfer it to the printing block with chalk.


The first cut is the most important in the entire process because all other cuts are based on it. I choose a central focal spot and first of all cut out the contours of the subject. The chalk lines are always only a suggestion and never stop me from finding new, better lines. I especially love this part of my work and try to get into a flow where the knife moves along the white lines almost by itself.


Every line that I cut has to be found and is irrevocably gone at the same time. In contrast to painting, I take away material and thereby create white, sometimes I think of it as reverse painting. I have to cut a separate printing block for each color, sometimes up to 10 different printing blocks.


Now I'm starting to mix the colors. I transfer samples to my color book and note the mixing ratio. When the color selection is done, I do a test print on the material that I want to use for the finished picture. I usually print smaller pictures on handmade paper, large formats on linen. After the test print, I often trim something until I'm satisfied.

The printing itself is done by hand or sometimes with my printing press.

Many of my pictures have become so big that I have to work on the floor of my studio. Once a color has been printed, it must first dry before another layer can be applied on top. So I work my way from light to dark until I get to the master printing block, the last plate with the contoures. I then hang the finished picture in my studio, and only if I still like it after several days I will print the rest of the small edition. Very often I have to change some little things and the process starts all over again.