A Day In The Life — how our technicians are staying creative
Our technicians are expert practitioners in their own right, and provide vital on-campus support to students. While they can’t get on campus, they’re finding other ways to make the best of lockdown. We caught up with printmaking technician Léa Dalissier to find out what a typical day in the “new normal” looks like for her…
21 May 2020
London-based artist Léa Dalissier is one of three printmaking technicians at UCA. She works primarily in drawing and screen print, creating multi-layered images that explore technology, ecology and activism. Through her work, she hopes to allow for contemplation and a chance to slow down in an anxious and fast-paced world. As a technician, she’s currently supporting from afar, running drop-in sessions and technical clinics on printmaking, via Zoom. And she’s also working on some exciting projects of her own….
Léa, who has a BA (Hons) Illustration degree and a Masters degree in Print, has exhibited in a number of galleries and venues in London and Paris. In addition, her work is held in collections at the V&A, Royal College of Art and the National Archive collection.
We asked Léa about her career so far, and what a typical day is like for her at the moment.
“Drawing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It was the bond between my father and I when I was a kid — he used to be an animator, illustrator and graphic designer and taught me everything I know about art and music. The other big inspiration in my life came from comics and anime — my brother and I shared a manga collection of about 1000 volumes when we lived at home back in France.
“I came to London to complete my Illustration degree. That’s when I discovered printmaking, and more specifically screen-printing. It was a thing of magic to see how all those layers of different colours gradually made up an image, I was in love and I have been screen-printing ever since.
“A day in the life… That reminds me of the Beatles song of the same title — and how appropriate with its crescendos, its ups and downs, its tales of news… It is like a slice of life at the moment. Music is very much with me in the time of Covid-19 and lockdown, it is the first thing I turn on in the morning after I’ve fed my cat and poured myself a coffee in my favourite mug. I never skip breakfast — it’s one of two of my sacred rituals.
“It has been strange not physically going into work. As a printmaking technician, my primary role is to support students and help them with their projects, so not being able to do that in person is somewhat unsettling. And it is challenging to find a rhythm that sticks when home is all I know right now, so I have to remember to be kind to myself and to focus on the things that I am achieving rather than the things that I am not doing.
“I usually dedicate my mornings to admin tasks and research. I catch up with emails from students, tend to my social media, edit a couple of pictures or a video to post on Instagram. If I have any pending orders I will wrap and get them ready for shipping. I have been working on my online presence to develop my artist business selling my screen-printed editions and cards as well as offering commissions. I have actually sold more artwork in the recent weeks than I did before! It’s very touching to feel that people have been keen to support independent artists and small businesses in this crisis.
“I also have a couple of collaborative projects that I am working on, so I spend a lot of time researching for visual references. If I have some time left before lunch, I might look for art applications and commission opportunities.
“I have lunch with my partner around 1pm. We usually watch a cartoon episode or play a short game. He bought lots of board games ahead of the lockdown by chance. My living room has become my all-in-one haven. Depending on the time of the day it’s an office, a studio, a workshop, a dining room or a play zone. I make space wherever I can and constantly transform it.
“Afternoons are for hands-on creative work. I either lose myself in drawing, water colouring, screen printing or carving wood for relief printing. I have also been working on a series of videos for UCA students to show them how to make prints at home. It has been really fun experimenting with home setups. I am still working out some kinks — as you can imagine it’s had its challenges, but they’ll be ready soon!
“I live in a flat in one of the Peckham Rye estates in London and have a little West facing balcony. That’s my other ritual, every day before dinner I watch the sun set on the whole of London — I feel very lucky. It’s been sunny recently and the sky fills up with peach, lilac and cobalt hues; it’s a true moment of peace.”
What are you doing with your lockdown time? Perhaps you have the spare time to take part in our weekly creative challenges — you can check out our blog with details on all the briefs we’ve set so far.