Sonja Petermann, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of December 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Sonja some questions about her work and studio practice:
Tell us about your background
I live in St. Louis, MO, where I’m from. I received my B.F.A. with concentrations in printmaking and drawing from Ohio Wesleyan University. Since moving back to St. Louis, I’ve worked at multiple local print shops, including the Firecracker Press and Island Press.
How would you describe your work?
My work is quite perceptual and I rarely use color, save for the hue of the paper. Typically, I work from the figure, often within an architectural framework. By prioritizing interesting composition and mark-making more than realistic rendering, I am able to bring out intense contrast and textures for a more expressive piece.
What is your process for creating a work of art?
It’s hard for me to determine exactly where my process begins because my life and my work are constantly influencing each other. Even though my work is not highly conceptual, topics I studied in school or am generally curious about often find their way into my creative process. I read, journal, sketch, and take photos in preparation for my projects. Though I think a lot about my subject matter and compositions, I really let myself go when I begin to work on a new piece or edition. This way I can react to the piece as it evolves and avoid becoming close-minded when things go in a different direction. In addition, I usually have multiple pieces in progress at the same time. It’s a great way to continue making, even if you’re stuck.
What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Paper! Paper is amazing.
What are your goals for this residency?
Currently, I am exploring collagraph, one of many print processes. In the beginning, I’ll explore which materials and tools make which marks and tones. The print above is an example of what collagraph can look like (this piece is a work in progress). Once I have refined my methods, I will begin printing a series of prints relating to memory. My goal is to finish this series.
What’s next for you?
After this residency, I will return to St. Louis where I have a job waiting for me as well as a space I hope to turn into a studio. Still, I will continue applying to residency programs.
Where else can we find you?
Instagram is the best bet: @sonjapetermann . I have a Facebook account, but I rarely use it these days. Website coming soon!