Artist Interview: Rachel Singel
June 3, 2016
Rachel Singel, young artist and educator
Lorenzo de Castro: Printmakers may be reluctant to leave the printshop where they always work. Presses, tools, machinery: all is in its place, ready to be used. What do you find in an international residency to drive you away, out of your ‘comfort zone’?
Rachel Singel: I believe travel is one of the most important things a person can do. It widens one’s views about life. You are able to see how others live and work in the world. Also, you have the opportunity to exercise new problem solving skills. I believe that this it is so valuable in learning more about craft and developing an artist’s practice.
LdC: Rachel, you first came to Venice to do a residency as a young artist. This year you came with a small group of students as a young professor. Did you have this goal in mind when you etched your first plate in the Lagoon?
RS: When I first came to Venice, I was immediately drawn to the plants that were growing under the water along the edges of the canal. I have always loved natural forms. What has made me appreciate the city even more is the chance to meet talented artists from a number of countries. I am excited to be able to bring students here. I hope it will give them the opportunity to find inspiration from a city that has so much to offer.
LdC: You never missed coming to Venice every summer for the last four years. How did the exposure to classical art and culture impact on you, as artist and individual? Did you see anything similar happening to your students?
RS: Venice has such a rich and diverse history that is present in everything from the sculptures to the designs that adorn the facades. I personally never cease to be impressed by the labor, dedication, and determination it took to build Venice. My artworks are heavily influenced by its current fragile state. I hope that by seeing and researching Venetian art and architecture, students will be able to better understand its origin, its present, and its future.
LdC: In three points: what does make Venice and Italy special to you?
RS: What makes Venice special for me first and foremost is the sea. The water runs through it city, it rises up and goes down with the tide. It is as if the city breathes.
Of course, there is also the Venice Biennale, which is an event to see new creative ideas on an international level.
Finally, there are the people, both from Venice and around the world.
Rachel Singel is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville➤ She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia➤ and her a Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from The University Iowa➤ She plans to return to Venice every year in the Summer.