Artists Up Close

Kimberly Lavon INK

Kimberly Lavon is a local Lansing, fine-arts printmaker who creates art to act as a powerful voice against social injustice and discrimination. She graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Lavon’s prints can be purchased in Lansing Art Gallery’s Gallery Shop year round. She has a long history with the gallery, and is active in the gallery’s exhibitions and events.

Her Process:

When creating her prints, Lavon’s first step is to draw and cut her image. She uses mounted tan linoleum blocks for printing. Her blocks typically range in size from approximately 4×16 inches to 9×12 inches. Her chosen method for printmaking is called “Chine-Collé” (a French term for a type of paper collage with very thin paper).

It takes about one to two hours for Lavon to draw and cut her images; she draws on her plate with pencil first, then solidifies her lines with a Sharpie marker and begins the cutting process. When she finishes cutting her image into the block, she uses her own handmade black ink to make about 5-10 test prints on Chine-Collé paper. It takes each print about three days to dry.

If the first round of prints passes inspection, Lavon then prints the same image using other colors. After every print dries, she cuts individual printed images of one color and overlays them on a substrate. She hand glues every individual piece in every individual print. For a complete series, she may do around 50 copies of each print.

The process usually takes approximately a week for Lavon to complete. However, for beginner printers the taxing process can take up to a month to master. She has to be extremely careful during every step of her printmaking process; it is very easy for her to make a mistake such as cutting herself with her carving knife, or accidentally breaking her block during the printing stage. “[The printmaking process is] highly complex, highly involved. You have to be very skilled and trained – classically trained – or otherwise, to use the equipment to make a print,” Lavon says.


Her Inspirations:

Lavon tends to use social and political issues as the inspiration for her prints. For example, her most recent series, “Clandestine Simulacrum,” advocates for female empowerment. She explores concepts of inappropriate behavior aimed towards women (such as catcalling) and turned the ideas into a series of art that revolves around food. The images of food represent specific parts of women’s bodies and how they should not be exploited or abused. The prints from this series are completed, and in the future will be used in a photo-shoot. The shoot will show nude women holding Lavon’s images over their represented body part(s). The idea is to inspire a consent culture and to understand that inappropriate behavior aimed at women and their bodies is unacceptable. “[I am] reducing women to food to illustrate it might look great, you might totally want it, but just because she has it doesn’t mean you can have it.” Lavon uses her art to advocate for her own beliefs regarding women and women’s rights in present day society.

About Printmaking:

Lavon is a strong advocate for modern printmaking and educating the public about its importance and prominence. The printmaking process is taxing and requires strength, mental acuity, and fine-arts talent. She wants people to know that her art is not something that comes from a printing machine, and that just because multiple copies are made, the overall value of the print is not diminished. She compared what she does to the process of making a couture dress; every part from the planning to the fine detail is done by hand. Lavon is open to discussing printmaking, its process, and its importance. If you have any further questions about prints, she would love for you to contact her.

You can find Kimberly’s art in Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center’s Gallery Shop, as well as on Facebook, Twitter (@kimberlylavon), Instagram (@kimberlylavonink), and her website

Written By: Madison Kautman, April 07, 2017