Andrea Robinson is a London-based artist/printmaker who also works with text, installation, film, performance and poetry. Her print method is primarily screen printing, which she uses experimentally, printing on found materials, collaging these into small works or miniature three dimensional pieces, or to make artist books, as one-offs or in small editions, as well as making works on paper. She combines digital and traditional techniques to create the images for her editioned works on paper, and recently she has been using lino cut and incorporating that into the collage works.
Themes and works
Her most regular theme is her own family history – something that started with a Memory Book, a small artist book about her mother’s family, and continued with Portrait of my Father as a Bird, the mixed and multi-media piece she started to make after her father died, which continues to evolve.
Andrea’s Sea series grew out of the research for Portrait of my Father and a related series of miniature prints called Handed Down Histories – she spent a year taking day trips and short visits to the places on the South Coast where her father had lived or visited, and the photos she took as reminders of these places spun off into their own series of prints.
The Birdgirl series are another spin-off from Portrait of my Father – the first two pieces were created for Enshrine, curated by Rekha Sameer – these evolved into Birdgirl, Contained, created for Correspondence Collective’s Restriction exhibition which took place online during lockdown and is now archived at Clayhill Arts, where the whole exhibition of miniature works is housed in an old set of letterpress drawers. Her piece is a set of four tiny 3D pieces which incorporate hand printed feathers, digital images – and quail eggs.
Comet Trail was made for the Outposted Project – a collaborative map project for which she made a piece about her South London ancestors which also features lino cut comets.
This is Where Everything Happens started life in an online project called 30works, instigated by 12o. Inspired by a prompt it evolved from an altered photograph from the Sea project and became an exercise in incorporating the happy accidents that happen when printing, each new print taking a small change or mark from the previous screen and building on it to make a set of linked prints rather than a standard edition.
Andrea started making artist books around the same time she started screen printing, and in 2018 she was selected to make a new piece for artist collective AMBruno’s Cover project, one of twelve artists making work for their book project that year. Inspired by the story of Salome she made On The Occasion of Her Dance, an editioned book on glassine. AMBruno presented the books at book art fairs including Miss Read in Berlin and The Tetley, Leeds, and the entire selection was purchased by Tate Britain, which has an extensive collection of artists books from the 20th century onwards.
She often works with the things she finds around her – printing on card, cellophane, fabric, feathers, tissue paper, food wrappers, plastic bags – she aims to reuse and recycle wherever she can.
Her installation Portrait of my Father as a Bird included a screen printed ‘wallpaper’ on tissue paper which was pasted directly onto the gallery walls, which were hung with a series of one-off collaged prints which incorporated corrugated cardboard, tracing paper and wrapping paper. The installation also included a short film which was projected directly onto the wallpapered walls. Some of the stills from the film later found their way into another series of collaged prints (Helium Raven comes from this series) which in turn led to her next project Handed Down Histories. She often re-purposes her own work and returns to themes by moving her ideas and images through a series of different media to see how they change and what new resonances they pick up along the way, but almost always comes back to printmaking for the final pieces.
Andrea sees printmaking as being a lot like baking – you have to follow the recipe, learn the proportions and methods, prepare carefully, but after that it is about instinct, working with what you have to hand, responding to the environment and being ready to go with whatever happens – even if it isn’t what you expected, it might well be better.
Andrea tends to work in the living space in her flat, on a small formica-topped kitchen table she inherited from her grandparents. Although her work space is a bit cramped, she is surrounded by books, plants, music (she shares the space with her musician partner), inks and artefacts, so she has everything she needs for inspiration within easy reach.
She is a founder member of print collective The Friday Group, artist member at Sprout Arts and Woodfield Pavillion, both in South London, and gallery artist at Water Street Gallery in Yorkshire. She exhibits regularly at venues throughout the UK and internationally – most recently in Fringe Arts Bath Festival 2021 and at the Cervantes Institute in Bordeaux. She is very happy to have work selected for the upcoming PMC exhibition which takes place from 30 April at Linden Hall Studios, Deal.
Her prints and artist books are held in private and public collections and archives, including Scarborough Museum, Tate Britain, the British Library, Chelsea College of Art, and the V&A. She was Sprout Artist in Residence in 2020.
Correspondence Collective/Clayhill Arts https://www.correspondencecollective.com/
Outposted Project https://www.theoutpostedproject.com/southlondon