Barbara Zalecki’s prints of animals, sumo wresters and flowers are full of character, movement and patterns. We talk to her about her featured artist exhibition, which is on at the gallery until April 3, alongside our group show.
What can visitors expect to see at your featured artist show?
The prints I’ve put in the featured artist show are mostly animals and they are quite big.
How did you make them?
They are drypoint etchings, hand-finished in colour with printing ink. I do drypoint (incising lines to hold ink with a drypoint needle or tool) on aluminium plates. I used to work with acid on copper or steel, but I don’t have the facilities to do that these days, so my style has had to adapt. I work in my shed in the garden.
What draws you to make prints of animals? How do you choose which animals to make prints about?
I do like patterns, so I tend to choose animals with patterns – zebras, a tiger, a giraffe, a ram with patterns on his horns. They are a little bit graphic. I suppose that comes from my illustration background. I just like animals, and the shapes they make. I do make prints of other things as well, but even with my prints of sumo wrestlers, it’s because I like the shapes and the patterns they make during their stances.
Your work is colourful, but also quite minimalist in the use of colour. How do you come up with the colours you use? Do you aim to go for colours that contrast well?
When I work, I go almost on a different plane - it’s very instinctive. When I step back and look at what I’ve done, I think, I wonder why I did that or why I chose that? It’s not something that’s pre-planned, it’s very spontaneous and instinctive. It’s hard to put into words. I suppose they are almost like posters, very graphic colours and shapes, which must be the illustration side filtering through, although they are all handmade prints.
You work in other mediums as well as printmaking, don’t you?
Yes, I work in watercolour, and I make Tiffany-style mirrors and lamps. I also make animal portraits in aluminium or copper-foiled glass.
Barbara’s featured artist show is at Greenwich Printmakers until April 3, and her characterful prints are available at the gallery all year round. For more information, see her artist’s page.