This is part of an ongoing series on the how, where, and why behind some people making and doing awesome things in the Midwest.
Cameron Peterson is a printmaker and is half of Funhouse Press along with Annette DuBord. Together, out of their tiny downtown studio, they produce a variety of paintings, monotypes, lithographs, linoleum cuts, and more.
Zach: Tell me who you are and what you do.
Cameron: Well, I’m Cameron Peterson and this is Funhouse Press. It’s really Cameron and Annette DuBord. We do printmaking. A lot of the printmaking we try to make is all acid free and we use water based inks and we create images using the oldest mass media method there is.
Zach: How did you begin in printmaking?
Cameron: I was planning on being a painter and I had to fill in a 2D course and I just became more interested in printmaking. I started doing quite a bit of monotypes, which are more like reverse paintings and I was able to make pieces better than actually painting.
Zach: What is it about printmaking that you like?
Cameron: A lot of time, like doing linoleum blocks, I like the cutting part of it, using my hands. A lot of it too, with my monotypes, the expressionistic quality, that actual layering of colors I can get through using ink versus paint.
Zach: Walk me through a typical piece from start to finish.
Cameron: With monotypes, I ink up the plexiglass and then I remove the ink I don’t want to print. Then as the layers build up, I actually cut stencils to block the ink so then I can have actual images in my pieces. Then with linoleum cuts, what I do is put an image on the block and I cut away the areas that I don’t want to print. Then I ink them up and run them through the press.
Zach: What are you working on right now?
Cameron: I’m working on sponsorship prints and I’m actually working both the linoleum technique and the monotype technique together. I’m also working on a little line of what I’ll call poster prints. One’s for the band Urho and one’s for a food truck called Need for Feed.
Zach: Why do you feel compelled to do something creative?
Cameron: Why do I feel compelled to be creative? Because I think I would go crazy if I wasn’t creative. I enjoy making things and putting things together. I think actually, I might think a little different as in when I make a piece I don’t think I’m creating it. I look at a piece as more of a puzzle that I’m putting different layers on, so I’m actually putting a little puzzle together.
Zach: Do you think your work has changed much since you started?
Cameron: Yes, I started out being completely an abstract artist and now I put little realistic things in my art. But the realistic things aren’t really meaningful. I put it in there as more of a jigsaw type thing so when people look at it they can kind of take away their own story. It’s mismatched pieces of reality.
Zach: What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?
Cameron: Seeing people smile. Or going over to a friend’s house and seeing my work hanging on their wall. It’s a little egotistical but it’s quite rewarding. I like the work. It’s also rewarding to get an edition done and hand it to a person and have the work be done.
Zach: What’s the most difficult part of what you do?
Cameron: Finding time considering I work a full time job at the same time. Coordinating things is probably the most difficult part of my job.
Zach: Describe your workplace.
Cameron: My workplace I would describe as an escape. A lot of times when I come here I’ve already lived a full day, so I kind of imagine this as a kind of modern folk art. So I let parts of myself escape while I keep parts of reality in it. I kind of view my space as kind of a haven rather than a destination.
Zach: Did you grow up in a creative home?
Cameron: Not really. I didn’t start making work until I was about fourteen or fifteen years old. I didn’t like English and my mother passed away around that time and I would actually skip my English classes to go and sit in the art room and make art. And the art teacher would always chase me out.
Zach: What do you hope people take away from your work?
Cameron: I hope they take away what they want to take away. Art is a very perspective thing and even as an artist, if people look at your art they can probably take away several different things because they’re coming to it from a different perspective.
Zach: What's on your playlist right now?
Cameron: Anything. I go up to Grand Forks for their concerts in the part and during that time I usually latch on to one of the artists there. So right now it’s White Buffalo that I like quite a bit. But old standbys are Pink or Ozzy Osbourne and then if Annette and I are working in the studio together our choice is usually Coldplay or Lifehouse. Kind of all over the place.
Zach: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Cameron: Ummmm, probably stuff I still want to learn. I have a lot of stuff to learn from artists in town like Jon Offut or Brad Bachmeier or Deborah Mae Broad. I still have stuff I want to learn from them. I wish I would have learned more of the business sense of things than the complete creative part of things.