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Southport student creates her own monsters and mutants

09 July 2014

Bridie Farrell

Kathryn uses traditional printing to create unique artwork.

A Southport student has used a 300-year-old printing method to create her own mutants and monsters for her final year art project.

Kathryn Poole, a 25-year-old fine art student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has created a series of intricate lithography prints that explore the bizarre world of genetic mutations and monsters by re-imagining creatures from existing species.

In her work the former St Mary’s College in Crosby student has designed parts of existing animals and their biological mechanisms and merged them together by swapping anatomies between each of them such as printing a jay’s wings onto a beetle.

Kathryn, who originally studied human biology before switching to fine art, said: “Looking at the structure, patterns and shapes of various species, I wanted to combine vegetation and wildlife to challenge the ideas of rationality and order whilst making a comment on the representation of genetic modification in contemporary media.”

“Looking at the structure, patterns and shapes of various species, I wanted to combine vegetation and wildlife to challenge the ideas of rationality and order whilst making a comment on the representation of genetic modification in contemporary media.”

Lithography was invented in the 1700s and is a delicate printmaking process. It works by etching onto stone and then using varying strengths of acids to get the desired effect before a printing press is used to pull the image. This technique allowed Kathryn the same precision as drawing with a pen.

The artist began her work by visiting the National History Museum, Liverpool World Museum and Manchester Museum for initial inspiration. She was also lucky enough to meet the zoology curator in one of the museums who allowed her to visit the spirits room where a number of animals are preserved.

Another inspiration she has drawn from is the work of American sculptor and installation artist Mark Dion. Her work is very reminiscent of his projects Systema Metropolis and Strange Travellers which have a subject theme of zoology and ‘challenging scientific authority’.

Kathryn has also recently been handed the Hermione Hammond Drawing award with a £500 prize. She is also the co-founder of the Old Bear Press publishing company, which has been included in several different international artists’ book fairs.