In Process #004 - Kristina Chan


In Process is a series of studio visits with artists, makers, dancers, musicians and other creatives.

Kristina Chan is a London-based mixed-media artist and printmaker. She uses photography and laser etching alongside other alternative processes to create her large scale works on wooden panels.

Kristina will be leading a 2 day alternative photographic process workshop on 30 November and 7 December 2018 at the V&A, to coincide with the recent opening of the V&A’s new photography archive. There are a slew of digital workshops and other events in the programme. Kristina’s workshop will look to use the archive to bring together digital photography and analogue printmaking processes.  Participants will be able to look at the archives and learn how to compose and input their images or collages to have them digitally etched as a woodcut — making traditional relief processes digital.  The prints will be engraved and embedded by hand, to produce a set of variable prints and plates that bring both of these techniques together. You can find out more here.

This is the third in a series of posts documenting some of the artists on the Florence Trust residency programme at work in mid-June 2018.


How would you describe your practice in a sentence? What excites you at the moment?

I seek sites where the intersection between function and intention have fallen into decline and disrepair, where untold histories recount themselves, in all their brevity, satire, beauty, and collapse.  Currently, I am fascinated with a discovered train wreck in the midst of the Pacific Northwest, preoccupied by what we build in the name industry and our rejection of its obsolesce.


How did you realise that you wanted to be an artist? What formative experiences shaped your decision?

I’m not sure it was a want, it felt more simple than that: simply that I was compelled to do so.  I tried other avenues, brief stints in design, kinesiology, chemistry, but in the end I always came back to art.  I found ways to bring them all together, each informed the next and I found this beautiful.


What made you choose the materials and techniques that you use? How have they changed over time?

I mix mediums constantly. I enjoy watching their unconventional interplay foster new and exciting surfaces, textures, and outcomes. I had a strange trajectory; I began studying sculpture, bronze and wood installation before settling on printmaking.  In doing so, I think I brought a lot of the attitudes of sculpture and design into print.  I hated the inherent intimacy and small scale that came along with the size restraints of the press.  I wanted the intricacies achieveable with print to be create an expanse, to express these experiences and atmospheres of the sites they depicted.  

I combine constantly.  In the past, I created a 9 meter panoramic cavescape through photolithography, drawing, and monoprinting.  This year I’ve been concerned with the materiality between print and plate, working between photography, screenprint, painting and engraving.

Photography, in its immediacy, captures the discovery of the site. The transformation of the image as a silkscreen, colour applied in layers as the site and history are researched and understood, and finally engraved. The physical relief of the work reminds us of the site itself. The wreck in the woods, the scarred earth and our impact. In this sense, the print and plate become synonymous, simultaneously symbiotic and parasitic; a plate that cannot create the image it is part of, and an image defined by it.


What unusual habit or absurd thing do you love? This could be a studio ritual or something in your wider life…

I like to see everything as a book, pages of a story.  That’s the fragment resonates when I across a site.  When I hear it, I know I’ll make work about it.  I imagine I’ve walked into a story, one greater than my own.  These wrecks, caves, spaces, forgotten and rediscovered, act as spreads torn from a book.  They are so bewildering and out of context that I have to find out more.  The research and work that ensues is a means of pieces back these otherwise minor and lost histories, so far out of context they seem surreal.


What is the book (or books) that you have gifted the most and why? Or what are the 1-3 books that have greatly influenced your life?

Aislinn Hunter The Possible Past

Italio Calvino Imaginary Cities

Gaston Bachelard The Poetics of Space 


What advice—big or small—would you give to an artist or creative, just beginning on their journey? What advice should they ignore?

Ignore nothing. Listen to it all, then make up your own mind.

Find out more about Kristina Chan here: / @kristina_chan_