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Q&A with Tyna Ontko | 2014 GAP, Visual

Artist Trust

Tyna Ontko, 'heavy handed', stone lithography, cut paper sculpture, cast plaster, cyanotype, 10’x7′, 2014

Q:  What kind of art do you make?
A: Primarily based in analogue forms of printmaking and photography, with an emphasis on using the multiple of print in an installation format, I’ve been working with imagery centered around the body’s relation to the nature of industry, the industrial object, and labor. Much of the subject matter for my current work consists of parts of the human body interacting with imagery taken from nature, as well as man-made tools, presented as abstract bits of industrial information. While building things made to last seems to be a practice of the past as everything comes across as disposable in the present era, the urge to give purpose to what things we hold dear continues to memorialize objects and our interactions with them.
Q:  What did you use your award for?
A: I used my 2014 GAP Grant to purchase supplies and pay studio rent toward an installation piece titled Heavy Handed. The work consisted of 10 hand printed editions of lithographs, around 80 hand printed botanical cyanotypes, and 10 plaster casts of my hands. It was installed in the Winter of 2014 at Two Shelves Gallery in Seattle, WA and has since also been featured in the Summer 2015 rendition of Out of Sight at King Street Station.
Q:  What was the impact of this award/Artist Trust on your art career/life?
A: The impact of my GAP Grant allowed me to continue participating in the greater printmaking community in the Pacific Northwest, as well as expand my social sphere, especially pertaining to my involvement in the 2015 Out of Sight exhibition. I also used the work I made with this grant to apply for a handful of residencies, two of which I received in the Winter and Spring of 2015. I have my 2014 GAP Grant to thank for many opportunities both here in Seattle and abroad!

Tyna Ontko (Seattle) is a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, where she received the Outstanding Graduate of the Fine Arts Department Award. Her body of work consists of hand-printed editions which are then cut out, and re-assembled in mass, forming site-specific installations which develop and change over time. She recently attended a residency at Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle working toward an installation titled Heavy handed. This work was recently shown at Davidson Galleries as part of the exhibition Cut from the same cloth. Tyna is part of the printmakers collaborative, Print Zero Studios in the Inscape Arts Complex. She attended a three-month residency at the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD, in October 2014.

Tyna received a 2014 GAP for dues for studio space, as well as project materials for new work. Her work emphasizes the relationship between the intrinsic human nature of the individual in tandem to a community. She uses multiple printmaking process, separating the print from its commodity reputation, then rejoining them within a story-like context. She believes the uniqueness of our present culture of digital mass customization in art is identical with its embeddedness in the context of tradition.