I use the Japanese watercolor woodblock method almost exclusively, employing it as a vehicle for the historical and socio-political subject matter that I’m interested in. Topics I’ve explored include the early colonial settlers of Massachusetts, the secretive U.S. NSA programs revealed by Edward Snowden, attitudes about money, and LGBTQ history. Japanese woodblock printing, also called ukiyo-e or mokuhanga, can be a difficult burden for a 21st-century western artist to carry, given that the Japanese brought this technique to unattainable heights of perfection in centuries past. Nevertheless, mokuhanga is non-toxic, compact, portable, versatile, and beautiful, and thus is an excellent choice for contemporary art making.
Annie Bissett began her art career as a freelance digital illustrator, working with clients such as National Geographic Society, The Wall Street Journal, Time-Life Publications, and a wide range of magazines. In 2005, she studied with woodblock artist Matt Brown and soon afterward began pursuing printmaking full time. Her woodblock prints have been exhibited in a number of printmaking venues including Boston Printmakers Biennial, Los Angeles Printmaking Society, the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, the Print Center in Philadelphia, Print Center of NY, and the International Mokuhanga Conference in Kyoto Japan. Bissett’s work has received critical attention in Printmaking Today, The Stranger and the Washington Post, and her work is featured in April Vollmer’s book Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop. She has been an instructor at Zea Mays Printmaking Studio in western Massachusetts since 2009.