Q&A with Reanna from Lino Print Club
Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of welcoming Reanna Keer-Keer to Two Temple Place to run a life drawing and linoprint workshop inspired by Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles. Reanna is the founder of Lino Print Club, running accessible print workshops throughout Brighton, London and the South East. Below they discuss their practice, experience, identity and belief that workshops must be accessible and inclusive to all.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m an artist printmaker, largely self-taught and I work predominately in small-scale linocut and woodcut. Visually, colour and line are what really makes my brain pop! I’m always on the look out for the weird and the wonderful in art, particularly anything from my queer and disabled communities. I also run Lino Print Club, facilitating accessible print workshops around London, Brighton and at festivals.
How did you first get into printmaking, and specifically lino printing, and what do you love about it? What is your experience being self-taught?
Not having any formal art education, for many years I didn’t know where to start – the art world can feel pretty inaccessible to a novice. When I came across printmaking 6 years ago, it felt less intimidating to me as it’s a bit of a lesser known art form. At a Print Taster course at City Lit, linocut was love at first print – it just felt right! I still have my first ever print framed and proudly on display. Everything about the process, from the therapeutic nature of the carving to the magic moment when you reveal your print, flowed really naturally. I was hooked and printed like mad at home, with a lot of YouTube, Facebook groups and books to help (Nick Morley’s ‘Linocut for Artists and Designers’ is fab). I did a couple more weekend courses too – the Art Academy in London Bridge has amazing printmakers as tutors, who I’ve been so lucky to work with.
I really value the relief print process and the way it transforms images – as I often tell my students, linocut can make even the scrappiest drawings look great! I find that this magical transformation prevents me from being overly critical of my work at every stage, which can stall the creative process. I also feel like printmaking is at the nerdier, more scientific and precise end of visual art, which is right up my street!
You have run a variety of printmaking based workshops including botanical printing, lino print life drawing and collaborative zine making. What made you decide to set up Lino Print Club and what do you enjoy most about running creative workshops?
Lino Print Club really started at DIY Space for London, a queer and punk space with a print collective that was brilliantly anarchic at the time. As soon as I got involved there, I was encouraged to start running linocut workshops, and they very much forefront skill sharing and accessibility. A friend of mine, Deena and I often co-facilitated, particularly on our popular Life Drawing and Lino evenings; latterly, we branched out together to start running Lino Print Club all around London.
There’s been so many different Lino Print Club workshops now at gorgeous venues, from botanical printmaking at plant shops with greenery hanging from every rafter to crazy 40-person zine making at Brainchild Festival, I love that variety! I’ve had lots of fun doing workshops with children too, who pick up printmaking amazingly fast. However, what I most enjoy about running workshops is helping people get back in touch with their creative side, and then the work they produce is so often stunning. I’m really lucky to have met and worked with so many budding artists.
I moved to Brighton recently – any creative people locally do drop me a message on insta if you want to collaborate @linoprintclub .
How, if at all, does your identity impact your work as an artist and creative facilitator?
I’m disabled, neurodiverse, queer and genderfluid – enough intersections to keep anyone busy! This makes me passionate about accessibility and inclusivity in my workshops; I try to make them a relaxed and anxiety-friendly space, where people can experiment, have fun and learn to love their mistakes. I’ve really valued working with amazing life models who are pushing the boundaries of gender presentation, @jigglechick87 (on insta) for example, and am always seeking like-minded collaborators (if this is you, please get in touch!).
I’m very much disability-positive and always on the lookout for queer and crip art. I like to celebrate my weirdness! Lately, I’ve been feeling an increasing pull to explore my gender through printing. It’s much scarier getting into the personal subjects with what you create, but hopefully ultimately more rewarding. People say write what you know, I’m going to start to try to print what I know.
You emphasise accessibility during your workshops. Could you offer some advice for other creative facilitators in prioritising inclusivity and accessibility?
A few things that have helped are:
1. Have a checklist of questions you ask venues (stairs, accessible toilets etc.), try to pick the most accessible venues and publicise the information in advance on your event.
2. Visibility! State clearly and near the start of your event description that accessibility is important to you and that you have your own access needs, if this is the case. That prioritisation and personal experience makes people much more comfortable.
3. Ask people to let you know about their access needs, both in advance and at the start of sessions, and give opportunity for this to be done privately. Then do your utmost to meet those needs and, on the rare accessions that you can’t, explain why.
It was so great hosting your Life Drawing and Lino Printing workshop at Two Temple Place as part of our Unbound exhibition. Could you tell us a little bit about this experience for you?
Being invited to run a workshop at Two Temple Place felt crazy because the venue is so stunning! Add to that all the beautiful female-led work in the Unbound exhibition and it really was a unique opportunity.
There was a long build-up to the event so we could tailor the workshop to the exhibition, with lots of help from the staff at Two Temple Place. The life drawing gave us the opportunity to play with what can happen in exhibition spaces: with the help of our fabulous model @lilyholder, we wanted to corrupt the formality of how women are presented in gallery spaces and challenge conventional images of women’s bodies. We then printed onto fabric to echo the fabric linocuts being exhibited by Enid Marx, which was a challenge for me as I work predominantly on paper. We had so many ideas and it was also a lot to get done in one evening - thank goodness there were so many talented people helping that night - I felt really supported, but also rather busy! The printed bags the participants made by the end were so varied and beautiful, and from the feedback people seemed to really enjoy the evening. I’d be raring to do it all again!
Finally, what are you up to at the moment and do you have any upcoming projects you’d like us to share?
Many of my prints are plants and nudes, I find curvy shapes and structure in nature so appealing, but I’m moving more recently into the semi-abstract and things inspired by my identity and intersections. My artistic approach is definitely still morphing slowly and in it’s early stages. Like a lot of artists, I have to squeeze my practice in - I also work as a tutor and I spend a good chunk of time just keeping myself healthy - so part of the challenge is carving out the time and energy to focus on art.
I’ve had a bit of creative block of late and am trying to share that without shame - in the social media age, it’s easy for us all to feel that we have to maintain an illusion of constant productivity. I’ve found that when you start teaching something, that can occupy a lot of the creative energy you were using for your own practice. Now we’re in lockdown, like many of my creative friends, I have found focussing on big art projects really tricky too. So, I’ve been learning to paint to edge my way back towards longer printmaking projects, and making rubber stamps with a lovely quick method shamelessly stolen from Two Temple Place’s own Georgia @cactusandspoonprints. That said, I’m going to be focussing in on producing more of my own original print work imminently as my brain has been boiling over with ideas lately, so watch this space!