This week we chat with the lovely Marieke aka SPOUK. She is a one person design and screenprinting practice, focused on creating sustainable screenprinted products and limited edition posters and zines.

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What inspires your designs, do you have a creative process you go through? Do you have any favourite designers that you take inspiration from?

For me, it’s important to keep exploring and reflecting on what I see. If I experience someone’s work and react to it strongly, I try and reflect on what causes that reaction. Getting inspiration is not just looking at things you love. It’s asking of something why you love it, hate it, why it leaves you indifferent, makes you sad or gives you joy. And through that process, learning what to do with the answers you get.

You have lots of prints, do you have a favourite one ?
I like different prints in different contexts. As a product, I really like the gift wraps I made, both for how they look and how useful they are. I keep planning to make more, and am currently also developing a workshop for designing and printing them with other people.

Do you like any other creative method? – if so which ones? 

I was trained as an illustrator with a love for graphic novels, so I tend to switch back and forth between design-me who does a lot of abstract printmaking, and illustration-me that draws comics about queer witches working in charity shops. Sometimes they overlap, as I am, after all, one person.

What is the biggest challenge of being an artist? 

1) Believing that you’re an artist. 2) Figuring out what role your art plays in your life. 3) Doing taxes. 

What does your art mean to you?
I believe art is a reflection of the world, as mediated through people. However, that’s easy to say when you look at history, and a lot harder when you look at your own art and life! For me, art is a tool to reflect on the world I live in, to tell stories with, to remember. It’s similar to how inspiration works for me: my art is me asking the world what about it makes me sad and gives me joy - and through making art and putting it out there, searching for an answer.

Any advice for anyone that is thinking of starting their own independent brand?
Starting an independent brand is different from making art. ‘Professionalizing’ your art by starting a creative business comes with a caveat; your art becomes intrinsically linked to the (social, financial, cultural) capital it/you can generate. As such it requires a whole new skillset and a different mindset that you need to develop over time. I also want to emphasize: if you decide not to start an independent brand, it does not make you any less of an artist.

 Any big plans for the future? Any cool collaborations lined up that we should watch out for?

No big plans, but a lot of tiny plans! There are some (currently) unfunded research projects that I’m working on. I want to reuse more textiles for printing, which the textile workplace I volunteer at helps out with. I want to talk about printmaking with constraints (time, money, means, knowledge), and talk about how to increase the accessibility of tools and knowledge, to lower barriers and expectations.  I have a very cool screenprinting commission that is halfway between a painting and a screenprint that I hope to finish in 2022. I also have some graphic novel ideas about a queer witch working in a charity shop, as mentioned above, which somehow combines so many of my wildly divergent interests in one comic concept. 

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You can find some of Marieke's work here at Dept.store.