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Suffolk artist's unusual body of work

PUBLISHED: 16:05 13 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:49 20 February 2013

Lisa Clarke creates a print for Laura Vincent

Lisa Clarke creates a print for Laura Vincent

A year on from her father's death, Suffolk body printer Lisa Clarke tells Laura Vincent how - after abandoning her artwork - she began a new printing career

A year on from her father's death, Suffolk body printer Lisa Clarke tells Laura Vincent how - after abandoning her artwork - she began a new printing career

Lisa Clarkes bold and adventurous prints certainly differ from your usual run of the mill portraits. As truly personalised artwork, they are creatively inspirational and impossible to ignore.
Termed as body printing, Lisa creates art by using the natural form of the individual and water-based acrylic paint, which is applied directly to the body before printing on to a canvas. Although Lisa has tried applying the paint with brushes and rollers, as opposed to using her hands, they leave marks on the skin and give an unnatural texture to the print. Each piece can take anything from three hours to three days, depending on whether it's of the full body or head and shoulders andhow manydifferent colours areinvolved.
Yet don't be misled into thinking the prints are an easy task. After having experienced being printed myself, I appreciate the wonderful skill involved.

I dont think people realize how in depth it is. You have to get the thickness of paint right on the different parts of the body and roll the face and body on to the canvas whilst lining up the layers of the print. Its been trial and error.
Lisa uses her particular printing technique, as drawing the figure freehand is very difficult, so if you actually print it you can't go wrong, the proportions are exact. I also do it because each print has anonymity. I could print 10 different women from all walks of life and every woman would look the same. It bridges the gap of peoples social prejudice and for this reason I feel the prints are particularly special."

Lisa prints single people, couples and even whole families (she has a family portrait of herself and her four children). She has developed an art concept that is truly intimate, none of her projects more so than the most emotional - a lady who was going to have a mastectomy and wanted a print beforehand.
However, after the death of her father in 2009 and the beginning of an ongoing investigation due to suspicious circumstances, Lisa abandoned her artwork and concentrated on being a care worker. Ive been keeping my head down and dealing with life. My dad is dead and as much as I miss him, its not going to bring him back. He was part of my inspiration and even though he is not here physically anymore, he is still with me mentally.
The last piece of work I did was the last time I saw my dad and I've not liked it because of the association with his death. I'm going to paint it out and do something fresh on top. So although it's still there, there will be a new beginning on top of the old.
At this milestone, oneyear on since his death, Lisa's print of me is the first shes donesince then and ithas helped her realise her passion for art once again, telling me it was fun and I remembered why I used to do it.

Her story is testament to the incredible capabilities ofpeople to survive adversity and achieve growth and renewal through suffering, to then flourish into new life. Lisa is a talented artisan whose craft of printing bodies on to canvas is something special and this is just the beginning. She is back and here to stay.

SeeLisas official website Prices vary from 50-450.


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