I was a baker before I was a lithographer, and lithography reminds me in many ways of sourdough bread baking. The most simple ingredients (flour, water, salt) are given life and transformed into an absolute wonder through the hand of the baker and his humble understanding of the materials. Baker and printer are alchemists.
I discovered stone lithography in 2014 as I was looking for a means to produce small editions of my pencil drawings. I am grateful to my old master Mike Healy for suggesting this medium to me. I immediately fell in love with the process, which in itself connects me to the same raw life force which informs the contents of my work. It is both simple and complex, and requires the artist to enter an intimate dance with the elements: stone, water, grease – and time. As with bread, it requires observation and sensitivity, an awareness of materials and the life within them. Drawing on the stone is my favorite part of the whole process, and is of incomparable sensuality.
PROCESS AND FLAVOUR
I have found that the same way the sourdough makes sourdough bread what it is, the unique qualities of the stone make my artwork. The process itself of stone lithography has therefore become much more than a simple means to produce multiples of my work, I see it now as a constitutive part of my visual world. It has enabled me to take my work further stylistically, i.e. to create greater adhesion between the contents and the form of my work.
I do love making multiples. Back when I studied metalwork, I already was making series of objects. When I bake bread, I love to bake in large quantities. I get a real satisfaction out of producing multiples of the same, and I truly enjoy this aspect of printmaking. I started making editions of 20 or 25, but as I have been gaining technical confidence I have been moving towards larger editions (50), which were always my original intention.
Last but not least, my great grand-father Henri Lamy (which I knew) owned a print shop in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, which his own grand-father had founded. Les Imprimeries Lamy, at 39, rue Censier in the 5th arrondissement, used to produce commercial lithographs for the railway and trade. The print shop was located on the ground floor of the building, while the upper floors accommodated factory workers and members of the Lamy family. My grand-parents used to live in this building, my mother grew up in it and I lived in it until I was 7 (the print shop itself had closed in the 1960’s however). It was with great emotion that I walked passed the building again in 2016, feeling a deep historical connection with my ancestors, and the peaceful sense of a closed circle.