Vito Semenas graduated in 2019 from BA Illustration and Visual Media (IVM). His work involves intricately carved and carefully printed linocuts and engravings, that draw inspiration from different mark-making languages and cultures. In this first Featured Grad post, he talks about how he has continued his practice after graduating from LCC.
Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?
I believe visual art is one of defining characteristics of the human species. As far as I can remember I have been always doing some form of visual art. Whether it was experimenting with photography or drawing anime illustrations, art has always been a big part of my life.
The body of my work contains different techniques and styles developed over the time; it can be described as a catalogue of my life. So the answer is yes: I have been doing art my whole my life whether it was intentional or not.
How did you get started in printmaking?
During the first year in LCC, where I was studying Illustration and Visual Media, I tried numerous techniques of illustration and printmaking, just to get to know what would benefit me in professional practice. I even tried to do a digital paintings as this style of art was always fascinating to me. However, I was not able to achieve the results I was aiming at. For that reason, I kept looking for other ways of expressing myself.
In the meantime, my love for printmaking was growing extremely fast. I decided to create a series of lino carvings during the summer holidays hoping that it would help me to prepare and improve my portfolio for the upcoming year. At the time lino printing technique looked easily accessible and most affordable technique if I had to work from home.
What influences your artwork?
An artist might be inspired by one painting, a body of work, or even an entire style of art.
Finding influences and connections between artists is an important to the art I create. For me it is important that the conversation of art continues and new intuitions about art can be made whilst looking from different viewers perspectives. My illustrations are based around the idea of utilising fine line work and geometrical shapes combined with the various allegorical meanings and symbolism to books, mythology-religion, movies, personal experiences and so on. The biggest influences of my style have been my obsession with the patterns and naturalism that could be found in the nature. Sometimes influence comes by examining the descriptive attributes of art other people create. However, finding influences is a sophisticated process that involves studying.
Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated?
My dream and goal always were to set up my own little print studio at home. In the meantime, I was lucky to win the Thames -Side Print Studio New Graduate Prize. I also was nominated for a Royal Academy printmaking fellowship. These opportunities provide me with the access to printmaking studios 3 days a week which is more than enough knowing how slow engraving and carving techniques could be. I illustrate, plan and design my pieces at home. I also carve my blocks at home in order not to waste that precious studio time.
Planning is very important and for that reason I record my work time by using designed apps for time tracking. This comes really handy calculating how long it took me to carve each piece and makes it easier to decide on a sales price.
Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you to yourself, if you could travel back in time?
The time at LCC was the best part of my life. I gained a lot of knowledge, met a lot of amazing artists and field professionals. It also opened the doors to a lot of exciting new projects and opportunities.
I am happy that I tried so many different medias and that would be my advice to everyone studying at LCC: try as many different things as possible! Experiment and don’t be afraid of failure. That would be the advice I would give myself: is to not be afraid of things not turning out the way I was planning, because everything happens for a reason.
Where can we see more of your work?
Most of my work can be found on my Instagram profile and website, which also serves as a e-shop and portfolio.
2019 Final Degree Show UAL, London College of Communication
2019 WOWxWOW- ‘’Monochromagic 2’’
2019 WoWxWOW- ‘’Eternity’s Engine’’
2019 National Original Print Exhibition, London
2019 Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, London
2019 The Masters Relief, Bankside Gallery, London