Prue MacDougall Printmaker

Can you expand on your “performing magic” comment in relations to your art?

I work intuitively with my materials, and also from my imagination so that I am not limited by reality. I create situations and ideas that are fed back to me from magical little unreal animals (Chimera) that I have invented. These creatures are so close to their original form that they look realistic, and require a second glance to reveal the magic. Playing with the real and the unreal. Visual magic and magical realism.

Chimera Revisited May 2013 (3)

Expand on your cross Tasman collaboration between Australia and New Zealand – ‘Thinking of Place’

My role in ToP is the Curator and Co Coordinator for the North Island leg of the travelling exhibition.

My work that is in ToP is called   “Landing on Your Feet” a description of the artwork is below:

Here you see a theatrical stage played on the ‘top’ of a World dome with a map of New Zealand on the right. The Southern Cross constellation is one of the striking features of the southern hemisphere sky. To the left hand side is the pointer which directs us connecting the Southern Cross to where the action is. Here you see someone is landing on their feet, travelling from far away hoping for a better future. The Southern Cross is evocative of place or origin to many peoples, appearing on both the Australian and New Zealand national flags. The flying trapeze artist, bearing both flags reminds us of the Empire.

Landing on your Feet

Landing on Your Feet

Your place?

I was one of 15 artists in the North Island Group of Printmakers, there were four groups of Artists, two from Australia and two from New Zealand. The exhibition has 60 artists in total.

What you gained by this particular collaboration?

I became associated with artists that had the same interests as myself. I made close bonds and got involved with something worthwhile. We are planning that this will become a bi annual event.

Tell us about your involvement in SGCI. This year the theme is FLUX – The Edge Yesterday and Tomorrow, and what you will be doing in Portland, Oregon, USA?

The annual Southern Graphics International Conference 2016 is in Portland Oregon this year, which I will travel to. This has been a gradual building of networking of like minded artists. In this year’s FLUX conference, I am involved in two group exhibitions and an open portfolio section.

1)    Trans-Dimensional Exhibition with 20 Artists, I am the only New Zealander in this group exhibition. This group was formed from previous 2015 Knoxville SGCI The Constructed Sphere; Sculptural Printmakers who work extra-dimensionally. I will have both a 3D headpiece made from my prints and a 2D print based on the shadows of the 3D piece.

2)    Aotearoa Printmakers – Themed portfolio comprising of 14 Artists from New Zealand. We created two works with an edition of 20 for this portfolio. One print within this portfolio is a collaborative work, created by all 14 printmakers in the group. Each artist’s prints their image and passes the print on to the next artist, each adding their printed contribution to the print in response to work done before. The second print in the portfolio is of our own work.

3)    Open Portfolio, you take a portfolio of your work for display. This is a great opportunity to discuss/swop and sell your work.

Southern Graphics Open Porfolio Session

Southern Graphics Open Porfolio Session

Discuss your work in relations with the natural world?


‘Juno’ Etching and screen-print, 40.5 x 28.5 cm (image size) 69 x 50 (paper size)

This print was selected for the 2015 PCA Print Commission.

A great deal of my work comes from the natural world. I purposefully select and edit images from photos I have taken in natural history museums and other serendipitous finds. I like to rearrange nature a little.

Comment on both the use of colour and the technique need to achieve this in The Flurry of Migration.

This is an earlier work of mine. I used a black and white solar plate etching with colour chine colle areas. In this work the coloured bird is a counterpoint to the black and white nature of the whole work.

The Living Unicorn

The Living Unicorn,Hand printed solar plate etching on 280 gsm Fabriano paper,

200 x 250 mm

You don’t always work as a printmaker, expand on your Tiara Series?

With my tiara’s I always use my etched prints, whether they are on paper or feathers. The 2D prints are then re-used in my 3D head pieces. The final 3D work creates opportunities to make magical extensions by recording shadow images cast by strong directional light.

Coronet for HIm (3)

Coronet for HIm

Your work often goes beyond the frame, Life Cycle while the work Galapagos Memento is confined by frame, discuss?

Sometimes the image lends itself to breaking the frame as ‘Life Cycle’ does; an open ended concept. ‘Galapagos Memento’ is a comment on how we collect things and often make specie extinct. The frame is referencing Victorian keepsakes and trophies.

Galápagos momento

Galapagos Memento

Can you discuss the artistic relationships that you have been able to build through your print making?


I am one of the Auckland Regional group representatives for the Print Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. The PCANZ is a national printmaking society which unites printmakers and raises the profile of printmaking throughout New Zealand and internationally. Presently I am the curator of a collaborative print that includes 50 artists from the PCANZ to celebrate the PCA Year of Print 2016.

I have my own studio and I am a member of a small collective of 26 printmakers called the Studio Printmakers. The Studio Printmakers studio tends to be the meeting place for our Auckland printmakers and a place to hold workshops. We need more open access studios in Auckland.

I find Facebook a great way of keeping in contact. We also have a very good website that keeps me informed of local print news.


I have some connection made as a result of entering work in different international print competitions. I won one in Melbourne and another in Cadaques, Spain.

Mini Print of Cadaques Spain

 Last year I was fortunately enough to be selected as one of the artists to be part of the The Australian Print Council Print Commission. I have attended and been a part of two IMPACT Conferences in Melbourne and Dundee Scotland. I have built up connections by attending and being part of the SGCI Conferences in the USA. Last year I also attended the Eighth Australian Print Symposium in Canberra, Australia. When travelling I like to visit different Studios, for example the East London Printmakers and the Kathy Caraccio Printing Studio in New York. Recently, I had a Canadian printmaker from the Kamloops Printmakers group, Linda Jules, stay with me.

Prue's Studio (3)

Contact details:

Prue MacDougall

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, March, 2016