There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about the work of award-winning printmaker Trevor Price, from his post-modernism colour palettes to Picasso-esque compositions, alongside his love for the former stomping ground of Hepworth and Nicholson that is St Ives. A significant figure in his field, Trevor explains to myCornwall the complexities and ever changing worlds within the life of a printmaker.
Classing himself as a Cornish Londoner, Trevor has spent the best part of his working career moving between the two. Spending his early years in the throes of London’s fast paced lifestyle, honing his craft and getting his name out there, the hard grafting paid off and now, Trevor spends the majority of his time at home in St Ives, a full-time printmaker and ocean lover.
“Printmaking was always the logical choice for me,” Trevor explains, “ever since those early days on a Foundation Course at Falmouth Art School.”
A sense of taking time and enjoying life’s simplicities can be found in Trevor’s creations, capturing human interaction, love, relationships and creating a sense of calm seems to be a specialty of his and he’s never been lost for inspiration, in his own words, “It’s difficult to escape the influences of Hepworth and Nicholson when you live in St Ives. However, it’s always been Picasso.”
For thirty years, Trevor has focused on his medium, building
up a knowledge and experience that warrants notability. His prints are
technically challenging and push the limits of printmaking to new heights,
“There is always this danger of becoming a bit of a bore when talking about
techniques,” he remarks, “but I am passionate about this side of printmaking
and my experience has allowed me to make very challenging prints.”
His current surface choices are plywood and polycarbonate sheets, which he engraves, carves, scratches and melts to get the desired textures. Needles, nails, drills and soldering irons provide precision and he either rolls ink or pushes it into the marks to achieve a desired print, all crafted on a Victorian etching press that dominates his studio, “My wife, my daughters, and my etching press are my loves in life!” He comments.
With so many elements to every print, there’s definitely a need for detail, discipline and determination, attributes that often only come with time and practice,
“As I get older and more experienced, I know where I’m going. I have a clear vision of where I want to end up, however that doesn’t mean I still don’t experiment with my prints, it just means I have less rejects than I did 20 years ago!
“My most recent works take a long time to make. Other printmakers certainly understand the time involved in the making of my prints and if nothing else, they show I have patience.”
His most recent works deviate from his Picasso inspired scenes, taking on some slightly more abstract tones and homages to the ocean. As a lifeguard for the children of the Surf Lifesaving Club, Trevor puts his new-found love for the ocean into his work, a testament to the respect and understanding he now has for the Atlantic, and his plans for new pieces aim to be bigger than his usual style, “Big sea, big prints; that’s the plan.”
Of course, in between his past times, Trevor’s place in the printmaking world is an important one. Working closely with the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, having served as their Vice President for several years, Trevor has long been a figure for printmaking both nationally and internationally. This year’s National Original Print Exhibition saw Trevor heavily involved in the set up alongside setting up another exhibition with the organisation ‘Print Rebels’ which celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder and first president of the society, Sir Francis Seymour Haden.
“I saw my primary role within the society as someone to shout out that original printmaking is handmade, hand printed, a labour of love, a passion, a vocation and a process that has absolutely nothing to do with the reproduction of a painting for commercial opportunities.”
In 2019, Trevor’s printmaking skills were put to the test when he was commissioned by China’s National Academy of Painting in Beijing to produce an original print larger than anything he’d done before, “It had to be constructed from four large separate panels, and 32 smaller sections. My patience was certainly tested!”
The finished piece will be art of an exhibition celebrating the Silk Road, showing at the National Art Museum of China. The work provided Trevor with the opportunity to meet some of the most intricate print makers in the world, “I was fortunate enough to meet some unbelievably brilliant Chinese printmakers when I visited China, representing the Royal Society. Among them was Mr. Chen Qi, I now name him as an influence too.”
Cornwall is never far from Trevor’s thoughts and never will be. His pride for his hometown is as strong as ever. 28 years ago, he joined the Cornwall Craft’s Association as an emerging printmaker, “I was just about scraping a living through my art at that point, and the association was an important platform and helped me to become self-sufficient through my work. I am still a member, and very proud to be so.”
A printmaker full of passion, personality and pride, Trevor Price’s drive to shout about this often-underestimated craft highlights the complexities, intricate techniques and immense versatility this craft offers to its makers, represented so richly in his own work.
“In this world full of reproduction, us printmakers need to should loudly, ‘These prints are made with these inky hands!’”
You can find Trevor’s work at the Cornwall Crafts Association’s Trelissick Gallery and more details at www.cornwallcrafts.co.uk
Daily 10.30am – 5.30pm from mid-February to November
Winter Months 10.30am – 4.30pm
Trelissick Gallery is closed between exhibitions for re-hanging.
Tel: 01872 864514