Alongside new and previously unshown collections of hand printed work by Amy Vik, visitors will also see the work of co-collaborator Pop Nasty (Fito Valencia) whose style merges between animals, characters and organic matter in a naïve style, as well as the paintings of Pavel Rodríguez; artist and principle organiser of El Centro Cultural Calpulli, situated in a vibrant flower market to the east of Mexico City centre. In an attempt to map out their artistic connections through the urban jungle of one of the world’s largest cities, ‘Amy Vik presents: Graphic Migration’ celebrates a collection of shared memories; from the presentation of found and re-worked photographs, to echos of folklore and collective experience, told over generations.
After a childhood of consistent praise for my artistic abilities, receiving high grades in my GCSEs and A Levels, and the logical progression of studying at University, I decided to take a big step back. Entering the world of work as a recent arts graduate on the tail end of a recession was bleak. Countless job applications behind me, I decided to pack my bags and head for warmer climbs. For a while, I didn’t even think about creating art.
Fast forward 5 years and I find myself walking the cobbled streets of Oaxaca City, Mexico. I felt something stirring, something that had been hibernating within me for a long time. Seeing printed artworks pasted on the sides of buildings, peering out from street corners, shouting at me as I stumbled past… I was intrigued. Visiting studios and speaking to local artists, I saw the city alive with art in a way I hadn’t experienced in other places before. I had dabbled in printmaking at University but here it was, in the streets, living and breathing. I left with such a strong impression that as soon as I got back to my apartment in Mexico City, I decided to embark on what I would later coin my “Graphic Route”; my personal journey through printmaking, something no University lecture hall or group studio could even begin to assimilate.
Embarking upon my Graphic Route has been cathartic and healing in a way I never knew possible. My own work hinges on a meticulous process of studying, reworking and refining old photographs from their original found state into a hand carved and hand printed graphic reproduction. I find this process evocative of the construction of our memories - we play them over in our heads, we focus on the more vivid parts and we forget others, we distort and we reinterpret, we too often fall foul to our own personal propaganda, justifying what we want to believe and leaving aside what we would rather forget. Rediscovering my creative practice has not only been playful and enjoyable, it has been a powerful way of reaching a deeper personal understanding, of finding acceptance and of showing vulnerability. My Graphic Route saw me forging connections with other artists in Mexico City, where I was introduced to the concept of ‘Graphic Migration’ - the life of your work as a graphic artist in distinct landscapes and what that interaction means for different people. From Mexico and now back to the UK, my work has acquired a new context and an altered trajectory, but what inspires me remains the same.