Jeslyn Cantrell


The process of printmaking first seduced me when I went to France to study abroad for a few months. At the time I was really struggling to find my aesthetic style, but I was not in love with a media that would help me put my emotions on the page. While in France I met a woman studying for her masters in printmaking. We were fast friends and when she handed me my first block I did not hesitate. I found “thinking backwards” (as she would often put it) came naturally to me. It was the first time I was ever able to use a media as an aid in guiding my work.

Influenced by artists such as Beardsley, Utamaro, and Mucha, I am a product of “Japonisme”. As an illustrator, I had previously focused on capturing the image of the places before me. My experiences with printmaking and my experiences traveling have encouraged me to capture the life and emotion within the images. Using pattern, composition, color, and technique I contrive whimsical images that are reminiscent of old storybooks and Japanese prints. The artwork I create lends itself a formal storybook quality that plays through emotions, people, and places I have experienced. Each piece is a growing, changing idea that begins with sketches. This idea transforms into a story told through the process of printmaking.