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Sylvia Moritz Interview

Sylvia-Moritz-Etching

Sylvia at work in the intaglio workshop at Camberwell College of Arts

Straight from her successful degree show at Camberwell College of Arts, Sylvia Moritz talks rolling up sleeves for the battle with etching and why modern art could do with a little more muscle…

Your Citysphere series deals with issues of overpopulation and urbanisation. Are you hopeful for the future of our cities or is your work more of a call for change?

Cities are places of amazing unpredictability, with negatives and positives constantly outweighing one another. So in that respect, I like to think of this series as more of a mode of commentary rather than criticism, documentation rather than dramatisation.

Sylvia Moritz Interview - Dencity (Detail)

Sylvia Moritz – Dencity (Detail)

40 x 40 cm etching. Limited edition of 10 – all sold out.

I read that your work is inspired by artists like Georg Bohle and Matthew Borrett – that’s some serious detail! What do you think attracts you to intricate detail in your own work and others?

Quite simply it’s an appreciation of craft and labor intensive work. Detail equals involvement. It acts as a gateway that allows onlookers to get totally lost within images. Patience is a lost trait, and it’s visible in the amount of simplicity in today’s creativity. While this can be very beautiful, I believe there needs to be more muscle in modern art.

Georg-Bohle

Georg Bohle – City 19

2014, 192 x 98 cm, Black fineliner on paper. Zoom in for some incredible detail on his website.

Matthew-Borrett

Matthew Borrett – Sleeping With the Window Open

Pencil drawing from Room Series see the complete series of drawings on the artist’s website.

Can you see your work continuing to grow in physical scale like the cities themselves?

While I’d love to make even larger etchings, ‘Capacity’ is a half meter square, so that’s a lot of metal to be inking up and winding through the press all day.

That said, I always end up drawing beyond the sketchbook. I once wallpapered an entire room with a friend, and together we drew every wall, floor and ceiling with marker pens. The project was called Disappear. (video below)

Did you grow up in a city in Austria or more rural surroundings?

Unlike my drawings, I grew up in very rural surroundings in eastern Austria. It’s one of those towns where everyone knows everyone, with quite conservative viewpoints. So it definitely acted as a trigger for me to leave and visit big cities.

Can you describe what you love about the etching process?

I’ve definitely inherited an appreciation of hard physical labour from my father, who is a mechanic. We’re never shy to roll up our sleeves when needs be.

In most art forms, whether painting onto a blank canvas or digitally printing onto inkjet paper, the gift of having white space is something that’s taken for granted. Commonly, etching plates get dirty and leave a muddy tone in the artwork, removing this takes a lot of cleaning, so when I run the plate through a press and unveil my print, I’ve really come to appreciate just having spotless clean white paper!

Sylvia Moritz - Capacity

£500

Buy online

Sylvia Moritz – Capacity

Framed etching in limited edition of 10. (50 x 50cm).

I recently went back to do an etching class and was struck by how many factors can alter the look of the original drawing. Do you enjoy the unpredictability of the process or is it a battle to keep to your original vision?

It is definitely a battle, a war zone at times. These unpredictable factors can really add character to a print, but when you’re producing a numbered series, and every print has to be identical, you work more like a machine than an artist

Sylvia Moritz Interview - Etching

In mid-battle at the intaglio workshop at Camberwell College of Arts

You describe yourself as primarily a graphic artist. Are you just as happy working on a design project for client or is your personal creative work where you feel most at home?

A lot of design projects have shaped my illustrative style and a lot of aspects of fine art prints now inspire my design work. I aim for a colourful future with multidisciplinary design and art related projects.

Sylvia Moritz Interview - Graphic

Yep, it’s not all black and white, there’s some brilliant color designs over on Sylvia’s Tumblr site

I’m always on the lookout for artists I’m not familiar with. Are there any Austrian artists or designers whose work you admire that we might not be familiar with?

Austria has an incredibly vibrant art scene, but I haven’t visited for so long. However, I have to pay great respect to my tutor Brian Hodgson, who taught me so much about intaglio printing. His beautiful, delicate drawings can be seen here.

Brian Hodgson - Orientation

Brian Hodgson – Orientation

© Brian D Hodgson – see the complete series of drawings on the artist’s website.

Congratulations on your BA in Graphic Design at Camberwell. What’s next in line for you after college?

Thank you. CitySphere has recently been exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, and of course the Camberwell degree show. Right now the dust is still settling on what has an overwhelming response to my work. I featured in Creative Review and have received very kind messages from a few art exhibitors.

Sylvia-Moritz-Working

Meticulously working on an etching plate for the Citysphere series.

All of this momentum will hopefully lead to new artworks in the coming months. I’m currently finding a new intaglio workshop to print, now that I’ve graduated. Alongside this, I often daydream about the next part of the world I will visit and study.

So concludes our Sylvia Moritz interview. Thanks Sylvia for taking the time out from the post degree show flurry to to share your inspirations and working practices. Enjoyed looking into your work and all the best for the next chapter in your creative journey around the globe!

For more links and info check out our Sylvia Moritz page.