Katrina Blannin British, b. 1963

Katrina Blannin was born in London where she currently lives and works. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1997 she has shown her work extensively in the UK and abroad, co-directed artist run project spaces, curated exhibitions and written about contemporary painting. In 2021 she completed a Painting by Practice PhD at the University of Worcester, teaches at UAL Camberwell and UCA Canterbury and works both on the editorial board and the mentoring programme for Turps Banana, London.

A recent project has generated 20cm – 70cm square monotypes: handcrafted prints on acid free Fabriano Rosaspina Ivory - 285gsm printmaking paper. The prints, produced from the summer of 2016 in the printmaking room at the University of Worcester, are part of a Painting by Practice PhD project, and the specific method of production was developed by the artist.


For some of the monotypes the handmade ink is the artist’s own recipe adapted from the traditional Japanese nori (rice) paste and alcohol-based formula that has been used in Japan for hundreds of years, and uses high quality powder pigments. For the larger black and white prints an Intense black Charbonnel ink is adapted through the use of gin and extenders to produce a deep black which contrasts with the ivory colour of the paper. The ink is rolled out evenly over a custom-made cardboard plate onto which the paper cut-out design is carefully placed. The water-soaked printmaking paper is then laid over this and the whole thing is then run through the press. This fast-drying collograph technique lends itself to the idea of a monotype. It is virtually impossible to recreate an image exactly due to the evidence of mis-registration and eye to hand control – each final print is therefore unique.

Part of being a painter for me is research - not for teaching purposes but for the furtherance of the work. I believe that artists' studios are not sealed laboratories where we hope to cook up an original idea but a distinct and necessary part of the world - an embedded aspect of the society that we all inhabit. You could argue that all artistic practice is social enterprise.

Anyway, whether in the studio or outside it, the 'originality' of our artworks is

generated from our informed choices: what we read, who we talk to, who we

are - we are all part of the 'human' context - none of us are alone. So when I

initially encountered the phrase 'human abstraction' my first thought was

'that's all of us - we are all human - it's us doing it' whether our artworks are

non-representational, representational or something in between. And of

course when dealing with the 'visual', and involved in the creative process,

are we not all 'abstracting' - all of the time? Even photography 'abstracts' -

as soon as 'something' is rendered 2D and is no longer the 'real world' - a

photograph becomes an 'abstraction'.