Interview: Esther Hansen

Who are you?
Esther Hansen
Print and Paint Teacher at Pukekohe High School for the last 11 years.
2006 MFA graduate (1st Class Honours) Whitecliffe College of Art and Design.
I am an artist and secondary school art teacher, MFA supervisor, and writer.
Specialising and dabbling in; printmaking, drawing, installation,
early photographic techniques, painting, and art review & critique.

What are you working on now?
At the moment I have revived my interest in drypoint etching.
I am currently working on a series of hand-coloured drypoint etching
for a group show in July called ‘To Mend The World’ at the Temple Gallery in Dunedin. 
The exhibition coincides with an Art and Theology conference of the same name. 
The imagery is taken from family and personal photography and found imagery.
This series is made up of silhouette shapes of women from various time periods
used as 'windows' into difference scenes.
I have been composing digital drawings that I turn into dry points.
My work is also influenced by Marianne Hirsch's theory of post-memory
in relation to my mother’s survival of internment in Indonesia during WW2
and the death of my Danish father in 2008.  
My work is about mending the world for my parent’s generation and the ones to come.

Esther Hansen, Mum With Gun, 2010
Digital Drawing

Why Printmaking?
My passion for printmaking has grown out of Star course at MIT that I took part in
when I was in Form 6 (Year 12), where we learnt about zinc plate etching and aqua tinting.
From that moment I was hooked and did art papers while at Waikato University.
  I’ve done a steady stream of evening classes and summer schools since then. 

Esther Hansen, Anne In The Blossoms, 2010
Drypoint etching, hand-coloured.

What is your favourite thing(s) about printmaking?
What I love most about printmaking is the rhythmic / meditative repetition of the process
 and the magical 'ahhhh' moment of looking at a print when it comes off the press.
I also enjoy working friends and students on weekends for workshops by being in the same space,
sharing ideas, getting feedback it makes the whole processes richer.

Esther Hansen, Thursday, 2010
Drypoint Etching

What or who influences subject matter?
My faith as a Christian has influenced my subject matter.
I’m spending my life trying to work out what it means to be a follower of Christ
and by extension this comes through in my approach to making art.
The Chrysalis Seed Trust and csartspace have been really helpful in providing opportunities
to network and view the art work of other artists who are exploring their faith.
This also opened the door for me to a global community of artists
through organisations like CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) in the USA.

Esther Hansen, Why Should I Whistle, 2010
Drypoint etching, hand-coloured.

Can you offer one small piece of printing advice to share with other NZ Printmakers?
"Learn from the best" 
Printmaking in New Zealand has a strong community base.
It involves people who are passionate about a raft of print processes
and willing to share their time and talent are helping new people learn all the time.
My journey in print has been about relationships, in doing courses and workshops
I have met the most interesting artists, not elite or pretentious but the best, most honest artists.
I took a summer school course at Tarawhiti Polytechnic in 2001 with Carole Shepherd.
Her encouragement inspired me to do my Masters of Fine Art.
I did evening classes with Elizabeth Serjeant at Artstation in Auckland for a number of years
and I am so grateful for her knowledge, skill, and sense of humour.
Recently I have done a course at Solander Gallery in Wellington with Graham Hall.
His teaching on drypoint etching techniques has radically influenced my way
of making marks on the plate. He is a fantastic Printmaking teacher.
I am grateful to Allie Eagle for her imput and encouragement through the csartspace website.
I was deeply honoured when Paulette & Vincent at Solander Gallery gave me an opportunity
to show my prints as part of their Christmas show called RED last year. 

I am thankful for the mentoring I have received and continue to receive,
and hope I can spark a life-long love for print in just a few of the students I teach every year.