Creative Crush: Fawna Xiao

Creative Crush is a monthly series featuring amazing creators that we love. 

What do you do?

I make one-of-a-kind, non-editioned, abstract screenprints of landforms and landscapes.

When did you first discover printmaking?

I discovered what printmaking actually was my first year of college. The university sponsored a show of rock posters, and I just wandered through it - mind totally blown. I didn’t start actually printing until about a year later. I hit the mini-jackpot and in a spurt of optimism decided I would teach myself how to do that super cool thing called screenprinting that I had seen a year ago.

Why did you decide to pursue printmaking?

I think everyone that tries printmaking falls in love with it, just a tiny bit. It is immensely gratifying - beyond popping bubble wrap gratifying. The reason why I stuck with it beyond the initial gratification is that it just made total sense to me and also opened up a world of possibility in a way nothing else ever has. I connected with the process and the potential simultaneously.  

How do you combine screenprinting and inspiration to make fine art? 

Screenprinting is not necessarily immediately connected to fine art. I combine it with inspiration to make fine art by ignoring its bad habits and odd reputation. Screenprints tend to have a very recognizable look which is a disservice to the art form because I can’t think of another one that is more versatile and more capable. I take great pride in telling strangers that my work is all screenprint, especially when they assume that it’s a rice paper collage or a watercolor painting - not because of anything against rice paper or watercolor, but a great pride in the art of screenprint.

What do you do to overcome a creative block?

This sounds strange… but I give myself a rule, or perhaps a better way to put it is a problem to solve. When I get stuck doing the same thing over and over (that statement alone amuses me because that’s essentially the definition of printmaking). So for example - I got stuck in a rut so I decided the only color I could use was black. How do you create depth and foreground and background with just one color – and beyond that, the color to end all colors? Black literally sucks all of the light in. Or I’ll tell myself I can only make prints that are 2" x 2". Or I’ll print on wood instead of paper. Sometimes I need a box to burst out of.

How do you define creativity?

Creativity is creating something out of nothing.

What’s one thing you have to do everyday?

I have a project called Moment of the Day, where I literally make sure to write a moment from every day that I find to be beautiful, funny, sad, poignant, etc. It’s a reminder to look for emotion and beauty every single day and to celebrate being alive. It is an incredibly cheesy and unscientific project, but I like to think of every day as an adventure in 24 hours - and in order to move onto the next one, I have to achieve a purpose in the current 24 hours.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist who is just starting out?

Ignore the art world rules. You can be nice AND successful, and you don’t have to be what the galleries and magazines tell you to do to be cool.

Follow Fawna on instagram and see her latest work here