Larry Welo

When my career began in 1974, I learned by doing. Northeastern Iowa is a visually stimulating place, and, living there, I drew the things around me. The places that I drew became the subjects of my etchings. It became more than drawing places, however. My survival was determined by what I made. Evolving from looking at places came seeing. Seeing meant that from daily observation and translation through drawing, I developed the skill of looking at the world in terms of two-dimensional design. Ideas are of great importance, and, as an artist, being able to communicate those ideas is of the greatest importance. This is something that I have attempted throughout my career. Looking is something that I was born with. Seeing, and communicating what is seen, is something that has been learned.

There is no other process like etching. The possibilities are endless. Each technique has its own character. They are, in a way, like instruments in an orchestra, able to perform solo or together as an ensemble.

I do not have a set formula for making my etchings. It is important that the process always be interesting and new. I am always thinking of new approaches for creating a composition. Some would say that it is a difficult process, because what you see when working on an etching is different from what you get when you pull your first print (the copper plate with the hard ground on it is visually quite different from the image that is finally printed). For me, that is part of the excitement. Complete control is not entirely possible. One must work within the medium and its unique characteristics.