Focus on an EVAN artist: Polly Marix Evans

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Polly Marix Evans

Polly Marix Evans has always loved drawing, colouring and making. Throughout her 1970’s childhood, she and her elder sister would spend hours producing endless drawings on reams of ‘computer printout’ their father brought back from work. For her 6th birthday she was given a second-hand John Bull printing set which lived in an old powdered milk tin in the playroom cupboard; this was the beginning of Polly’s obsession with printmaking and ink.

Polly studied Foundation Art at Northbrook College in Horsham, West Sussex. Her love of printmaking really blossomed here and led her to study Fine Art Printmaking at The Manchester School of Art.

During this time her work was mainly figurative, and she still enjoys drawing the human form. Her sketch books contain many swift drawings of her own children, friends and other unsuspecting humans. She now specialises mainly in linocut, inspired by myths, legends and fairy tales, the numerous books she reads and ideas that pop into her head when she least expects it.

Polly depicts strong female images, often combined with stylised text, to send an empowering message to the viewer. Polly draws inspiration from experiences in life: the struggle to love and value yourself in a world where the female voice is often ignored or suppressed; the difficulties of recovering after traumatic experiences; the need to set boundaries and say what you think.

Her dark prints often have bright dashes of colour, either printed before the main image or applied with a brush once the main linocut print is dry.

From initial idea to finished print may take weeks, or months, possibly even years! The first design, often a hurried sketch on a scrap of paper, may undergo numerous changes within a sketch book until it becomes suitable to transform into a linocut print. The image must then be reversed, the printmaker can often write in mirror writing almost as easily as normal writing, though there are times when even the practised printmaker makes a mistake and forgets to flip an image or a letter. The lino blocks often take several days to carve, during which time the design may continue to alter as it becomes apparent that what was initially designed doesn’t quite hit the mark, or simply won’t work in lino. Eventually, once the block is completed, a proof can be pulled, with a combination of excitement of seeing the image for the first time, and utter terror that it might have gone horribly wrong wasting endless hours of hard work!

Her simplistic linocuts are printed using traditional methods, so no two prints are completely identical. It is this uniqueness that is one of the delights of this type of printmaking, and what makes each individual print so special. Each block is hand inked, and printed either with a baren or on the small Albion press she inherited from her great uncle last year.

Polly is at her happiest in her inky element, enjoying every printmaking process from initial sketch, to plate or block preparation, to the excitement of seeing the finished print itself.

Polly is a member of EVAN and Cumbria Printmakers. She has exhibited at The Great Print Exhibition at Rheged for the past three years. Her work is also available across Cumbria and the UK. Through her Etsy shop, Polly supplies prints and other merchandise across the world.

She works from a studio at her home in the Eden Valley where she lives with her three school aged children.

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