For Lazare, 29, printmaking is an almost Zen-like activity where she can hone in on the highly detail-oriented process at hand.
Cara Lazare calls the art of printmaking “very meditative.”
“I can get lost in the carving process,” says the Ferndale-based Jewish artist who specializes in printmaking. “I don’t have to think about the outside world.”
For Lazare, 29, printmaking is an almost Zen-like activity where she can hone in on the highly detail-oriented process at hand. As a lifelong artist, Lazare grew up drawing and was inspired by her mother (also a lifelong artist) to get creative.
“I was the kid who was drawing in the margins of paper instead of writing notes,” Lazare recalls.
As she became old enough to attend Central Michigan University, Lazare knew she wanted to pursue art as her career. “I started out as a painting student,” she says. “Then I took one intro printmaking class in college, and I was hooked.”
Instead of painting, Lazare spent her days in the print studios. She even became a print assistant for her professor at the time. “I haven’t looked back,” she says of the artform.
Now, Lazare sells her printmaking throughout Metro Detroit. She can be found at different pop-ups and art events, where she sells items like bookmarks with repetitive blocks or sustainable totes stamped with her handmade prints.
An Organic Style
While her designs look almost geometric in nature, Lazare says they are far from symmetrical. “There is this organic aspect to it,” she says of her process. “Everything is drawn freehand. There are things that are a little bit different from the next, which I really like because it’s not all perfect.”
She calls her style simplistic, even though her work is very detailed. “I like the simplicity of black on a neutral tone,” she explains. “I like the calmness, nothing too extravagant.”
Printmaking involves several steps that Lazare completes over a period of time. She always carries a notebook with her, which she’ll sketch in when she gets inspired. “I start with a lot of intuitive drawing,” she explains. “If it’s something that I really enjoy, I’ll go back and redraw that drawing on my linoleum block.”
To find inspiration, Lazare often turns to architecture. “I love the repetitive aspects,” she says. “A lot of times there are geometric and there are organic styles, so I definitely pick up on that.” She’s also inspired by florals and anything with a “really good pattern to it.”
After her sketch is redrawn on a linoleum block, she’ll begin the carving process, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days or weeks. “When it’s finally completed, I’ll roll ink on it, put it on a piece of paper and run it through my printing press,” Lazare says.
If the work is satisfactory, she’ll then create an edition of prints. However, it’s not always on the first try.
“If I carve something and I mess up, I can’t go back,” she explains. “Trying to find the best way to get a clean print can also be frustrating. It’s not always going to be perfect right off the bat, so it takes time.”
A Surprise with Every Print
Lazare usually works with a small printing press, which is more modern, but some printing presses are of older variety and require more manual work or troubleshooting. “They each have benefits and issues,” she says of different printing presses.
Oftentimes, Lazare will print by hand to get the intended result. “I use pressure from my hand, which could be considered as an older method of printing,” she explains. “If I have a big enough piece I’ll even step on it to get enough pressure. That’s always fun.”
The best part of printmaking, she says, is what comes out during the process. “When you’re pulling up the print, it’s really just a surprise,” Lazare describes. “You don’t truly know what you’re going to get.”
Lazare, who has also taught various art classes at Friendship Circle’s Soul Studio in West Bloomfield and grew up attending Temple Israel, also in West Bloomfield, likes to rock climb when she’s not working on her printmaking and enjoys tending to her collection of indoor plants.
In addition, she’s in the process of creating her own website where people can buy her art. Yet for now, she says “pop-ups are the best way to reach me to get something.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/caralazareart.