A Talented Twosome Working to Carve, Color and Captivate

While the bold, graphic lines and mid-mod feel of Ink + Craft’s nature-inspired linocut prints may seem appealingly simple, the process is anything but. From choosing the perfect materials to meticulously sketching, planning and executing each print, the process takes tremendous patience and skill.

For Loveland artists Ariana and Matt Broerman, longtime teamwork is the key to successfully navigating their approach to printmaking. The husband and wife duo met at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning while studying graphic design.

“We’ve been working so long together, it’s something we just naturally do,” Ariana says of their creative relationship. “Matt is very much more big-picture, and I’m a lot more detail-oriented. I think that works well for us.”

Both sketch and then brainstorm initial ideas on a computer, tweaking layout and color choices, always considering what they would want to hang in their own home. Ariana says they are drawn to geometrics and simplicity.

“Our work doesn’t look like a lot of other linocut work that tends to be more folksy and traditional,” Matt says.

Together they devise a strategy for carving and printing. Matt transfers the design to a vinyl “linoleum” block and begins the process of reduction printing, aiming for about 10 prints from every design. He carves away each area that remains white, runs the block painted with hand-mixed ink through a press onto paper, then carves out more of the design. He repeats carving and changing colors until the print is complete.

“It’s interesting to go from something you see on screen … to then carving and printing it and have that develop its own unique voice,” Matt says. “Your hand is in every piece.”

Artists in their own right, the Broermans spent decades doing agency design work before transitioning Ink + Craft to a full-time business.

“We wanted to make our own way,” says Matt on the leap to create independently. “We wanted to get our own look out, our own voice out.”

That voice is thriving as they sell prints both locally and online. Art shows in Greater Cincinnati have proven successful, and they often rely on show feedback for inspiration. A recent piece, Winter Fox, was influenced by local shoppers’ interest.

“We had several shows where people came by and specifically asked, ‘Do you have a fox?’” Ariana says.

She and Matt discussed the possibilities, crafted a design—and a new work was born.

To catch their latest prints fresh off the press, visit the Ink + Craft Etsy shop, or find them in person at one of several local art shows coming this month and throughout 2019:

  • Midwest Maker Mart in Columbus, February
  • Crafty Supermarket at Cincinnati’s Music Hall, May
  • Summerfair Cincinnati at Coney Island, June
  • Milford Annual Art Affaire in downtown Milford, September
  • Hyde Park Square Art Show in Hyde Park, October

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