The SNAP print shop is buzzing with activity, artists milling around the space and working on projects, snippets of conversation floating through the air. However, away from the creative fervour of the main area, several smaller studios house artists working in relative peace – including Caitlin Bodewitz. Her tiny studio’s walls are filled with transparencies, sketches, hand-painted color swatches and screen-printed vinyl records. A small shelf contains paints and sprays, as well as plastic containers filled with the various concoctions necessary for printmaking. And, of course, several of her pieces sit on display, including a small floral print that instructs you to “bloom where you are planted.”
Bodewitz, who sells her work at several boutiques throughout Alberta and British Columbia, is certainly blooming now, and has recently been expanding her practice to include larger projects – specifically wood wall murals. Bodewitz was a participant in this year’s Vignettes design festival, and her 20-by-8-foot wood mural was a focal point in one of the fest’s pop-up restaurant spaces.
Growing up in the small mountain town of Powder King, B.C., she developed a love for nature. “I attribute everything that I make to my upbringing and my love for those kinds of spaces,” she says. However, for her Grade 12 year, Bodewitz headed to Calgary to pursue athletics and became a member of the University of Calgary varsity team. A larger high school with a more developed art program meant exposure to different techniques and styles of art, but it was when she was pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Calgary that she was introduced to printmaking – and fell in love with it. “There’s all these different methods where you can make all those marks, but apply it to your art piece in a singular way,” says Bodewitz. “You can get very sketch-like, you can get very graphic, but all through one form. It was liberating.” [sense of community] again, especially since many artists default to having an individual studio space,” says Bodewitz. And, though she’s no longer living mountainside, her love of nature remains at the centre of her art practice. It’s evident in everything from her choice of material – she never prints on paper, instead using birch or recycled objects destined for the landfill – to the biodegradable tape she uses for securing her screen printing stencils.
And, while Bodewitz’s contemporary Canadiana pieces generally focus on secluded, serene mountain landscapes and wild creatures, she’s certainly not the type of artist who thrives in seclusion. “I think if anything, what I really seek value in is community,” says Bodewitz. “In terms of being surrounded by like-minded, ambitious, creative, wonderful humans, a lot of magic can come from that.”
This article appears in the December 2016 issue of Avenue Edmonton.