Artist Interview: Allison Klein – All In The Fine Prints, Or A Degree Of Collage

June 4, 2023




Allison Klein was one of the featured artists in Open Studios Joburg 2023.


What sort of training have you received and how important do you think it is to seek training (in terms of learning first principles and refining technique)?

I studied a Fine Art diploma at the Wits Technicon. I chose printmaking as my major subject, but I was also passionate about drawing and conceptual art. I do think that studying at an institution makes it easier and quicker to learn art-making techniques and to hone one’s skills, but many successful artists are self-taught.


What is your principal medium, and why did you choose it? 

I am a fine art printmaker by training, but I enjoy mixing and layering the various processes of print, drawing and collage. This allows me to make unique pieces that are part of the same “series” but can standalone as artworks.


Describe the techniques you use most? How complicated are your methods, and why is each step necessary? 

I work a lot with monoprint as a base and layering over with linocut or silkscreen. These processes require the correct materials to be used and because the paper needs to be wet, you do need to use a printing press. The most complicated part is the registration of the different elements over one another, so that the image looks cohesive. I love experimenting with this form of layering.


What technological tools do you use in your work? 

Printmaking uses very old technology such as the etching press, but I like to use Photoshop to plan most of my work.


Who is the single other artist whose style you most admire, and why?

I’m not sure I could just choose one! My influences are diverse. They include Japanese printmakers and many artists from our history. Contemporary artists that I admire are Wangechi Mutu for her beautiful, bold collage work; Diane Victor for her phenomenal drawing skills and Conrad Botha for his graphic style and daring subject matter.


Galleries and other traditional means are only one way of marketing art. What do you believe are the most important other routes, and what is the most important insight you have gained in that area in your career? 

It is important to support galleries and to self-promote using tools like Instagram, but I think that people become much more aware of the artist’s process and value when they visit open studios and attend art fairs. This allows them to see a large variety of work and to talk to the artists and promoters.


Why do you create? What are your stated goals in producing art? 

I spent many years working in a variety of commercial but creative fields just to make money and I never stopped feeling the pull back to create my own work. Art-making has given me the space to find my own authentic voice and I hope to gain some notoriety in the local and international contemporary art scenes.