Woodcut printmaking and paper artist Hannah Gebhart was selected to design the 2022 Smoky Hill River Festival Print.
According to Salina Arts and Humanities, a native Salinan, Gebhart is a Des Moines-based woodcut printmaking, paper artist, and founder of DinoCat Studio. Growing up, she spent her spare time at the Salina Art Center, taking as many classes as she could fit in every summer. Gebhart credits those early experiences with her Salina art teachers and mentors for the inspiration to become a professional artist. After graduating from Central High, she went on to receive her BFA in Graphic Design with a concentration in Printmaking from Drake University.
“Sun-Kissed” is a multi-block linocut print created by carving each color (yellow, blue, green, and black) on its own block and then printing the layers on top of each other. The festival print was inspired by the scenery of Central Kansas and how the natural elements connect to the Smoky Hill River Festival. Sunflowers radiate joy, positive energy, and good vibes – just like the River Festival. Gebhart states, “I absolutely loved going to Artyopolis as a kid. My parents would pretty much set me loose in that area of the festival and let me go wild.”
Gebhart’s practice centers around the tactile process of creating her artwork, carving scenes out of wood blocks, and building images up from dimensional folded paper. While her background in graphic design plays an influential role in her creative process, Gebhart says that she favors the hands-on process of printmaking and paper art. She explains, “Working with my hands to create something out of raw materials has always fascinated me, and I’m constantly challenging myself to try different techniques, methods, and subject matters to ensure my design style continues to evolve and grow.”
“What first attracted me to printmaking was the physicality of the relief process,” says Gebhart. “I enjoy using gouges to cut through the material and methodically pulling each print by hand. There is something sculptural about the hard edges and bold lines of traditional black-and-white reduction printmaking. As I’ve become more experienced with printmaking, that attraction has now evolved to using new methods and practices to see what stories I can create.”
“My printmaking explores whimsical themes and aims to draw a viewer into a unique experience,” she explains. “I create from my imagination rather than what I see in front of me. Each piece tells a story but leaves room for an individual to create their own story based on their interaction with the work. What began as a hobby to infuse my life with more creativity has turned into an exploration of what can be done with simple tools, accessible materials, and a desire to create meaningful work for others to enjoy.”
Her work will be featured in the upcoming ‘We Are Makers‘ bi-annual publication, showcasing makers from all over the globe. Upcoming shows include the Waukee Arts Festival, the Beaux-Arts Fair, and the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina.
The Festival Print is currently available for a donation of $100 or more to the Smoky Hill River Festival. For more information, call 785-309-5770 or visit riverfestival.com.