Naomi Arbuthnot (b.1995) is a printmaker based in Derry, Northern Ireland. She works in a combination of traditional and contemporary printmaking disciplines, including silk-screen, relief, and monotype printing blended with hand-drawn illustration and her work is characterised by thoughtful colour palettes and a bold graphic style.
In the last two years Naomi has come to understand and appreciate the intimacy of domestic space in a new way, realising the nuances of habit, comfort and constraint, which are held within its four walls. Domestic space has had particular significance for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic as people are spending more time at home and including a wider range of activities within their houses, combining work and rest within the same location, and learning about homemaking and cooking in different ways.
Her previous process was to be always observing her environments, from holiday sightseeing to natural landscapes. This technique was used to gather photographic source material for printmaking projects. Over the last year she has re-directed this visual observation and contemplation to the domestic sphere. It’s given her the chance to think about the meaning and symbolism which elements the home environment holds.
It has also been a way for her to process feelings of depression and anxiety. The work Morning Coffee, was the first screen print designed when entering the first lockdown. She was having a really tough time dealing with the situation and was really missing not being able to travel, which is such a huge inspiration for her work normally.
Morning Coffee was a considered homage to the simple process of working on routine. She took inspiration from the person who she was living with who automatically introduced a healthy routine of exercise and work, it all started with a shared morning coffee. Something about this pragmatic approach helped her to accept things as they were and be able to work towards something new.
The specific colour palette for each work is carefully chosen to best communicate the imagery and set an atmosphere for the piece. Arbuthnot mixes colour by hand to get the perfect hue and build up unique colour ways to use in her work.