If you build it they will come
Founders of Articulate Ink build their own careers after graduation
It’s one thing to fall into a job after finishing your degree. It’s another thing entirely to create your own.
Yet that’s exactly what Karli Jessup, Michelle Brownridge, Amber Dalton, and Caitlin Mullan did. After graduating from the printmaking program at the University of Regina, the four printmakers established Articulate Ink, a printmaking collective in the Creative City Centre.
Finding the money to create, sustain, and buy the necessary items to furnish their studio wasn’t an easy task. The materials, such as a press, screen printing essentials, and inks, don’t come cheap.
“[We] were lucky enough to befriend an old printmaker in the city, Phil Ambrosi, who hooked us up with a Kelsey table top press and some type,” Jessup said. “As well as dipping into our own pockets, we received some very generous donations from our parents to get an etching press and some second hand screen printing equipment.”
Now that they have plenty of commissioned work, studio-mates, and some bursaries, they are able to keep up with the expensive supply demands. However, they each still work full-time jobs.
“It’s been hard to juggle full time jobs on top of Articulate Ink,” Jessup said. “It’s hard to find a balance and we have had to sacrifice some sleep to get things done.”
The biggest motivation for them to press on is that there simply was no space for them to continue working as printmakers, a problem that a number of printmakers encounter.
“There are a few options for positions in commercial print shops in the city, but there isn’t anywhere that you can make art in a printmaking studio besides the university,” Jessup said.
It was in a university course taught by Marian Donnelly, CEO of the Creative City Centre, where the idea for a print studio was formed. With Donnelley’s help, Jessup said, Articulate Ink was able to come to fruition.
“Marian has been very generous to the four of us,” Jessup said. “We would not be where we are if it was not for her.”
And since then, they’ve just kept expanding, and continue to expand.
“Right now, we have three members that rent space and equipment from us and it has proven to be successful,” Jessup said. “We would like to expand a bit and have interested parties be able to use our equipment on a drop-in basis. We also want to get our online store up and running.”
The success of Articulate Ink, Jessup believes, isn’t limited to just them. She said that though they were told in their first year they had to go to another centre to “make it big,” she’s found the room to grow in Regina.
“There are plenty of opportunities in Regina to grow as an artist, so don’t feel like you have to go to a larger centre in order to be successful,” Jessup said.