Interview: Steve Lovett

Who are you? 
Stephen Lovett (also called Steve)

I have been teaching at Manukau School of Visual Arts 
since the school opened its doors in 1995. 
My BFA and MFA (from Elam) were done 10 years apart, 
which seemed enough time to process the learning and respond, 
grow get over the experience in my art practice. 

In New Zealand print is a strange entity, 
weighed down by an encumbered history and distorted 
by an approach that conceives of the medium as a means to produce multiples. 
Printmaking and/or print-media are ably suited to do task. 
But this task is often what print is seen as being for, 
as opposed to being a contentious medium that implicates us all in the processes 
by which we are and our actions in the world are represented to ourselves and to others. 

I have collected printed images and ephemera all my life. 
Printed images and texts are incredibly powerful and utterly ubiquitous. 
They inform and reinforce our views of the worlds we inhabit and move through. 
Printed images have the power to confirm and contest who we think we are, 
or think we may be and how we are in the world. 
That’s how I became interested in making printed images. 

Steve Lovett, I Worked, 2011
I am presenting the first of two new bodies of work 
at the Papakura Art Gallery from 26 November - 24 December. 
The second body of work will be show in early 2012 
at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. 
These new works look the performance of print 
and are focused on questions of the value and location of art labour. 
After that I am setting aside time to develop a writing project 
focused on the contemporary print practice in Aotearoa New Zealand 

Steve Lovett, Along The Edge, 2011

What is your favourite thing(s) about printmaking? 
I’ve said this in various conference papers in recent years, 
printed work carries with it the potential to be engaged with
 the sharpest and most decisively critical edge 
of cultural, political and technological debate and action 
because that is the defining character of the medium from its birth in the west. 
Constantly in flux print is driven by technologies 
that ‘fall out’ of industry to be inflected and infect by artists. 
Recognising this history and context for contemporary practice, 
the real foundation for print what we potentially engaging with 
is one that always a contentious practice. 

Steve Lovett, Print Object, 2011

Describe your most memorable printmaking moment. 
There have been many, since I’ve been making images for ages. 
But most recently I’ve been printing some monochromatic hexachrome separations 
with metallic and transparent grey inks on both gessoed board and cotton rag papers. 
Nice technical accomplishment. 

IMPACT & in Melbourne this year was excellent. 
The keynote paper by Paul Coldwell that examined print 
in the context of folio to installation was fantastic. 

Steve Lovett, Performed Obseved, 2011

What or who influences your work and/or subject matter? 
There are lots. 
In the film The September Issue the Vogue creative director Grace Coddington 
notes the importance of keeping all receiving channels open to new information. 
For me what this sets up is a relationship between the isolation and solitude of making 
and need for a constant engagement with the world. 

Steve Lovett, Float, 2010

Can you offer some print-related advice to share with other NZ Printmakers? 
Um, look at lots of different stuff. Reads lots. Listen to new stuff. 
Work as much as you can in ways that you don’t know how to control properly. 
If I can see that something has been made already in a certain way, 
then I’ll make something else. Let stuff fail. 
Throw stuff away, give it away, destroy it, create room for new stuff. 
Keep moving. Keep making. Get excited and make stuff.

Steve Lovett, Work History, 2011

For more information about Steve, or view his online gallery, see: