Music + Mysticism, Or Why I’m Printmaking with Purpose

anne pick holding reduction-printed flowers

Music + Mysticism, Or Why I’m Printmaking with Purpose

My name is Anne Pick and I use the reduction block printing technique to create music-inspired, hand-printed posters. I knew from a young age that whatever I did in this lifetime, I wanted it to involve music. I started collecting screen-printed, limited-edition posters at concerts, and 20 years after attending my first show, I learned how to print my own. I am a printmaker and lifelong music and art lover from the Pacific Northwest, currently living in Portland, Oregon. 

Education and Career

I attended the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communications from 2004-2008 and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a focus in Electronic Media. I also received a certificate in Film Studies. I grew up watching romantic comedies with my dad and loving the storytelling of film and television – almost as much as I love music. 

As many of us recall, 2008 was rough. Graduating from college amid a recession was bad enough, that fall my dad suffered from a stroke and passed away that November. I stayed home in La Pine, Oregon, with my mom and returned to the pizza restaurant I’d worked at in high school. Eventually, I was also hired as the Calendar Editor at The Source Weekly, an alternative weekly newspaper, in Bend, Oregon.

From the Calendar Editor, to the film reviewer, to the music writer, I worked my way to one of my dream jobs – I was even the Calendar Editor twice. I left the paper to work full time at a digital marketing agency, where I built websites and wrote blogs and SEO website copy. I still kept my toe in the journalism pool though – as the music writer I got to speak to the writers of the songs that were helping me through dark days, I got to go to shows for free and it expanded my music taste making me a true eclectic listener. Meanwhile, I collected beautiful concert posters year after year. 

Portland, Printmaking and Space Fox

I left Bend and moved about 3.5 hours northwest to Portland in 2019. My grandparents lived in Portland, my dad was born there, so we had always visited. I lived in the city where my family had settled nearly a hundred years ago, which felt really special. For the first time in years I wasn’t writing newspaper articles or delivering pizza in the evenings, so I knew I wanted to take an art class. When I started looking, there was nothing that appealed to me more than block printing. I took one workshop and then dove head-first into learning this new skill. 

When the pandemic shutdowns happened in 2020, I was doing freelance digital marketing work from home. I used this time to focus on learning block printing. I also learned how to screen print, but that is definitely too many chemicals for a small apartment, at least in my experience. I tried all different kinds of methods, printing with multiple blocks, challenging myself to learn one technique after another. 

During this time in Portland, stickers were incredibly popular and during my walks throughout my southeast Portland neighborhood I saw incredible works of art stuck on phone poles, stop signs and hidden on fence posts. I learned how to digitize my block prints and started sticking my new street art persona “Space Fox” everywhere I walked in Portland. 

Printmaking with Purpose

My journey led me back home to Bend for a couple of years, where I started vending in maker’s markets and focused on perfecting my full-color, reduction-printed posters. During this time I was able to upgrade to a Woodzilla press, which changed the game for my printmaking process. I also split my time vending between Bend and Portland, and had small solo art shows in both cities in 2022. 

I came to block printing and art as a continuation of my healing. I left an emotionally and financially abusive partnership at the beginning of 2018 and have used block printing to tell my story and process my feelings. One steady theme in my art is the contrast of bright colors against the darkness – fireworks, outerspace, stars, concert lights, neon – the light fighting to be seen through the darkness. Just like me.

I have always believed a better world is possible and it’s through love we’re going to create it – by being strong and facing our fears – first alone, then together. My purpose with printmaking is to inspire others to heal from the abuses and traumas and blockages that are holding them back in life – to show up as your authentic self, because that’s when we’re strongest.

My mantra posters – Dive Deep Within, Explore Inner Space, Feed Your Own Fire First, Who and What are Meant For You Won’t Pass You By – these have gotten me through my darkest days and they are the designs people have connected with most. I have always adorned my walls with posters — from The Lion King in the third grade to my own Strength tarot card featuring the lion; what can I say, I’m a Leo. I’m hoping that seeing those messages of hope, the determination for the growth and expansion of the soul, makes a difference in the world.

Into the Future

I started block printing because I wanted to become a concert poster and band merch designer. I’m off to a good start – at the end of 2023 I completed my first band  t-shirt design for one of my favorite synth pop bands, Glass Spells, who is based out of San Diego, California. I just finished an album cover for my friends TEB (Travis Ehrenstrom Band), based in Bend, OR, and it’s awesome! 

I will be vending for the rescheduled last day of Portland’s Folk Festival this Sunday, February 4, at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. I’m looking forward to my past lives crashing at this festival as I’ll be slinging my original art concert posters and bands I interviewed in my music journalism days will be on stage. I am looking forward to all of the music, art and growth to come in 2024 and beyond. I’m just getting started. 🙂

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