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BSDA Artist Interview: Darek Bittner

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 · 2 Comments

Darek Bittner is an artist and designer working primarily in collage and letterpress. A grouping of his collages are now available on Buy Some Damn Art.

Mad Tom Knotch 4

Mad Tom Notch

You are a collage artist, printmaker and designer. How do these different practices relate to one another?

Each medium is an opportunity for me to explore my different interests. Having several different ways to work helps to keep things fresh. After a few collages it’s nice to go make a print. Each medium requires a unique approach and pace of work. Collage is faster and more reactive, whereas printmaking is slow and decisive. Switching between mediums helps me prevent my art from becoming formulaic.


Letterpress print (not in show)

What elements link your work across collage, print and design?

I like the idea of arranging found shapes and colors to underlying rules, and then consciously going back in and breaking those rules. The trick is finding a balance. It feels awesome when I get it right. Each piece I create is me going after that experience. I gauge the success of each work by how the piece makes me feel during its creation, regardless of medium. What links my work across each medium is the same emotion I am chasing down whenever I make art. That
emotion ties into the whole High Peaks theme. If you think of every work of art I ever made as a book, the setting would be the High Peaks region of Upstate New York. It’s like taking your boots off after a long day hiking, the feeling never gets old, but you got to work for it each time.

Cold Snap

Cold Snap

Where do you look for source materials for collage? What kinds of images do you look for?

I pick up a good deal of trash off the street. The spring time is awesome because the curbs are not yet swept, the snow is melted, and paper is plentiful. Spring is also the best time for yard sales where you can find tons of used books. The annual library book sale is also a gold mine, old office supplies are great too. I never use newsprint or anything that will fade too quickly. It’s also important to juxtapose found paper with artist papers from the art supply store. A pack of Color-Aid is a worthy investment. I’m always looking for stuff that has to do with the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York.

Ore Bed_updated

Ore Bed

Letterpress can be viewed as old-fashioned and laborious, yet here you are, a young artist, doing creative stuff with it. What is the appeal for you?

To me the Vandercook represents the grand finale of print design. The press I print on is well over half a century old. I seriously doubt my desktop inkjet printer will still work in fifty years. Printing wood type on a Vandercook is like pairing a fine wine with steak, whereas printing an inkjet poster is like waiting in the drive through line for fast food. Just because I print on an old press doesn’t mean my prints should look old too. I like to keep it contemporary.

Keene Valley

Keene Valley

What’s it like as an artist in Portland, Maine these days?

Portland is the best. It’s a very small city packed with creative talent. It’s impossible to keep up with everything going on in town. Everyone is buzzing with energy and doing their thing, which makes it easy to stay motivated. Also our craft beer scene is world class. Feel free to come for a visit!


See the artist’s website for more of his work.

Tags: Art · Living w/ Art

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