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Print and be grand

Laura Moloney of Ballyea.  Photograph by John Kelly
CLARE student Laura Maloney has won the RDS Printmaking Award. The award is open to students of art courses and the work of the finalists were included in an exhibition in the RDS.


The Ballyea-based student has just finished a degree in Fine Art and is about to do her Higher Diploma in education.

Speaking about printmaking, which her degree was focused on, she said,“I guess it’s one of the oldest art forms there is. It goes back years. All the old masterworks would have begun with printmaking. There are so many different types that when people ask me about it, I wouldn’t know where to start, there’s so much to explain. Your most basic form would be like a wood cut, where you carve a design into wood, roll it up with ink and run it through a printing press and you get as many images as you want.

“My own work is kind of a combination I came up with on my own in college, it’s a combination of mono prints and embossments. The work is very difficult to photograph because it’s quite subtle, it’s kind of ghostly in appearance, you’d really need to see it in person.”

Laura enjoys the thinking involved in the art form and how much activity is involved.
“You’re in the workshop the whole time, you’re making your prints and there’s lots of problem solving to it as well. Like when I said I came up with my own method of printmaking, that didn’t just kind of happen, there was a series of obstacles that I had to keep on trying to overcome to find a solution for what I was trying to do. I love being in the workshop and working with different types of ink and trying to see different results you can get. I think that’s the main thing, I like being active, I’m not really a person for sitting in front of an easel, I get a bit bored with that.”

Speaking about the work she won the prize for, Laura noted, “I won it for a collection of work, a series of prints called fluoxetine hydrochloride and that’s actually the chemical name for Prozac. The work is about anti depressants and the effect they have on people.”

The treatment of depression with drugs is a controversial subject and it’s something she’s very interested in. She feels Prozac is overprescribed.
“I started looking at anti-depressants in third year in college, back then I was looking at the idea of a pill that could contain happiness. That was what it essentially was and I was looking at how ludicrous that idea seems. When I did research into it I found out that Prozac was initially marketed as a blood pressure pill and when it didn’t work for that, they noticed that some people seemed more happy than they were before they started taking it, so they remarketed it as an anti-depressant. There’s no real evidence to support its effect, if anything it seems to cause more problems than it solves.”

While she worked on printmaking for the last four years it will be more of a part time activity in the future and she is joining Limerick printmakers. She is working towards another exhibition towards the end of the year.
“I’ve a show coming up in Galway in December with a gallery called 126 and they asked me to be part of their graduate show so, I have that to look forward to making work for”.

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