Many of the interviews on this blog are by video, but some artists would rather write than talk. So here, in her own words, is an artist interview in conversation with Yonina Rollack. Yonina pays tribute to the earth and its inhabitants, creating playful images that are both drawn from reality and an extension of her own inner world. Here she talks about her origins, how she developed into a printmaker, and the art of making magic.
“I was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I come from a family of art appreciators and grew up around lots of makers, so I’ve always felt encouraged to explore my creative side.
“As a teenager, I loved visiting the fine arts department at the library. I specifically remember looking through the ‘Illustrators Annual’ catalogues and feeling motivated to develop my own style. I started drawing regularly and posting some of my drawings online. I was somewhat shy and sharing my art helped me feel more connected to people. When I started university, I was reluctant to pursue a fine arts degree until a friend encouraged me to take a summer printmaking class. I completely fell in love with the process of the medium and community spirit within the printmaking department.
“I make art that combines the known world (figures, animals, nature) with imagined realities. I like to come up with playful characters or scenes pulled from a subconscious narrative. I work in a variety of mediums including screen print, relief printmaking, and digital media. I have recently been getting back into sculpture as well.
“I love what I do because it encourages me to be an observer of the world and find magic in the mundane. Considering how to place something into a new context or portray it through my own lens helps me retain a curiosity about my surroundings. I find colour really motivating – stumbling upon a juicy colour combination gets me excited about art and life in general! During a recent canoe camping trip on McLennan Lake, I was infatuated with the colours of lichen growing on all the big rock exposures. The pictures I took ended up being a big inspiration in the colour palette of the artwork I did for the Garrys latest album.
“I find it challenging not to let my own expectations get in the way of enjoying the process. I can be quite a perfectionist and that can become a mental block in getting started on something new. At times, it seems the more I’m labelled as an artist, the more apprehensive I feel about actually making art! Social media contributes to these expectations too in the pressure to constantly post new content or the temptation of comparing myself to others. To combat these challenges, I find it useful to stop scrolling and make a collage!
“I hope that my art can help bring a little magic and brightness into someone’s day.”
To view and purchase Yonina’s delightful artworks you can click to go to her artist’s gallery page.