Hillary Zell is a local designer, printmaker, and currently works as assistant director at Studio Two Three, a co-working studio space in Richmond, Virginia. The nonprofit art studio aims to provide people of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to find and develop techniques in various types of printmaking, bookmaking, and other crafts. Studio Two Three offers studio membership, internships, classes, workshops, and community outreach events with their S23 To-Go mobile printmaking studio.
When I snuck by to visit Hillary on a wintry Thursday afternoon, the studio was bustling and loud, as everyone was preparing for Studio Two Three's annual Winter Print Sale. She welcomed me in as she worked on some prints for the event, explaining her role in the organization and telling me about her own artistic practice.
Hillary is in charge of all daily operations at the studio, and facilitates field trips and workshops. She also does a lot of freelance work and has recently begun teaching Printmaking at VCU. She wears her Handyma'am drapron almost every day to the studio, and explains how it’s been great for storing her printmaking tools and writing utensils. “It’s also the perfect catch-all for the paint and ink that’s always all over my hands,” Hillary says, laughing.
Hillary’s printing practice began in her college years, where she studied printmaking, and book and paper arts. When she has free time, she likes to work on monoprints and silk screening. “Screenprinting is a process that's really easy to digest, which is why it's fun to teach and fun to do. It's all a process, and it all depends on your practice — and it's fun to mess up," Hillary says, as she runs around the studio working on her prints.
Of Studio Two Three, Hillary says, "Being here really formed me into the printer that I am today. I often tell people that Studio Two Three really makes up most of my identity." Hillary explains that her time at the studio has provided her with access to an incredible community of artists and allowed her to develop a wealth of new skills and forge new opportunities for herself. "A lot of people can tell the same story," she says. "Studio Two Three makes it fun to be an artist, and I've been able to grow into a real adult human and maker here." Hillary talks while she works, standing over a large screenprinting set up. "I get to help other people make things," Hillary says, "and I feel like I'm really accomplishing something when I get to facilitate those interactions and discoveries. I get more of a thrill out of it than just making work for myself.”