Mason artist Laura B. DeLind, a retired anthropologist and MSU professor, started making art about 30 years ago as a way to balance her work in academia. She was completing her dissertation and felt stuck, mentally, and turned to printmaking for relief.
“I needed something to stimulate the right side of my brain,” DeLind said. “I found the process spontaneous, expressive, and joyful, which is why I continue doing it.”
DeLind, this week’s Summer of Art artist, specializes in linocut printing, which uses images carved out of linoleum blocks to print on paper. She works primarily in black and white, usually portraying natural imagery like plants and animals.
“I love high contrast and the challenge of working through the problems presented by positive and negative space,” DeLind said.
DeLind grew up in New York, where she had easy access to all types of art.
“I was surrounded by dance, music, literature, painting, sculpture and museums,” DeLind said. “Materials and opportunities were everywhere.”
DeLind encourages everyone to explore their artistic side, even if they aren’t interested in a career in art.
“Creativity should be encouraged in all its forms,” DeLind said. “It is not a matter of drawing a straight line or singing on key, it is a matter of feeling compelled to create and respond to the world around you.”
Since retiring, DeLind has devoted more time to her printmaking. She travels to art shows and competitions and offers printmaking workshops at Grove Gallery & Studios in East Lansing. Educational outreach programs are important to DeLind, because so many schools are cutting back on arts education.
“Art and artists catalyze curiosity, thoughtfulness, perspective, emotion and beauty — all necessary for our daily lives and for society as a whole,” DeLind said. “We need art and artists just as much as we need scientists and computer programmers. Perhaps we need them more.”