Sage “Haypeep” Perrott is an artist of many talents and many cats…so it goes without saying that she’s a woman after our own hearts. As a seasoned printmaker and educator, she’s squeegeed, printed, and inked a living out of both doing and teaching her craft. And her craft features grumpy, ghostly cat creatures that are impossible not to fall in love with.
We talked to Haypeep about her printmaking process, her Artist Shop designs, the cats in her home and in her designs, and everything in between. Check out the interview below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I live in Utah with my (longtime) boyfriend, Adam, and three cats. I grew up in West Virginia, and went to West Virginia University for college. Then I went to Ohio University for my MFA. I like cats, mochas, comics, sleeping, humor, and all the typical stuff artists like.
Where did the name “Haypeep” come from?
“Haypeep” is a play on “Hello Kitty” (whose image has been an inspiration to me since I was little). “Hay” as a casual internet hello, and “Peep” is the name of one of my cats. People have trouble with my actual name (spelling and pronunciation), so I have found “Haypeep” works better. It also allows space between my sister’s work and my work. People like to confuse us and our artwork when we use our real names.
What’s it like having a sibling who is also creative? Do you ever collaborate?
I love having a sibling who is creative. My brother also draws. The three of us talk about supplies and approaches on a regular basis. I live in Utah and they live in West Virginia, but we have a constant group chat going. My sister and I have shown together, and I will on occasion help her print things (she has a degree in printmaking but no access to presses). We have done smaller collaborations in the past, and discussed larger collaborations for the future.
You say on Instagram that you have three cats – do they ever show up in your work?
Constantly! It’s not always intentional, either. They are a big presence in my life (see left for feline wonder). I have had Peep for 10+ years, Tanuki for 8+ years, and Goblin for 2ish years. Goblin makes a lot of funny, concerned faces, so I think his general alarm features frequently. I post a photo of him daily on my Facebook as part of my “Daily Goblin” series, which is my attempt at cheering people up for a moment every day. Also, the fatty cat design in my Artist Shop is basically a hybrid of Goblin’s fat body and Peep’s coloring.
I love your style! How did you develop it?
Thank you! I have a lot of influences and people whose work inspires me. I am surrounded by creative friends/people, who I won’t even try to list here. I also love Tove Jansson (creator of the Moomins), Yayoi Kusama, Diane Arbus, Beatrix Potter, and again, so many more. This question is always hard, because I could be here all day listing art I like to look at. The internet has created an amazing endless archive of available imagery and artists.
I draw a lot. Every day. It’s not always good, but I think it keeps me thinking about art and so on.
Humor plays a big role in what I make. I like well-crafted, nice looking things, but I also really like art that can poke fun at itself, or the creator. Also I draw a lot. Every day. It’s not always good, but I think it keeps me thinking about art and so on.
What made you start an Artist Shop!
People ask me for designs on t-shirts fairly frequently. I just don’t have the time to accommodate the requests and still get my other work done. This way, everyone’s happy. I get to work on new images, and people get the t-shirt design they want in the size and color they want!
Have you sold your work on apparel before? And have you ever screenprinted your designs on apparel?
Yes, and yes. But I don’t have the full set up to do multiple colors conveniently, and I only have so many screens to work with. I prefer to use those screens for my paper artworks and so on.
You create your own prints by hand! How did you first get into printmaking?
I did little print related things here and there as a kid. My uncle Kevin Morgan is also an artist/graphic designer, and he has a printmaking influence. Then Bryn, my older sister, went to college and became a printmaking major. I told myself I would do something different when I went to college, but when I got there, I fell in love with printmaking. I still think it’s pretty magical, and it fits how I think about art, and how I draw. I learned the basics from Joe Lupo, who is the print professor at WVU. I liked it all so much that I went to graduate school so I could keep doing it. And so I could teach it.
What’s a typical printmaking day like for you? What equipment do you use?
It just depends. I usually screenprint. It’s my favorite printmaking process, and the one that fits with what I do best. But I also do intaglio and relief, mostly to teach it. I have done lithography in the past, but it doesn’t tend to agree with me. Occasionally, I do letterpress, but almost always with polymer plates.
I use an AmerGraph exposure unit, a Blackline washout booth, squeegees of various kinds, speedball clamps and ink, etc. etc. Having your own print studio is pretty costly, so I use the studio where I teach. It’s a really nice studio, and fully equipped to do just about everything. I have a soft spot for the Sturges (etching) press, though it gets a lot of love/abuse from students.
How do you feel about traditionally created prints vs digital on demand prints?
I think the printmaking world has to evolve, and digital printing is part of that. I do have a special place in my heart for the “traditional” processes. I think this digital on demand business is incredible for t-shirts. I don’t have a lot of time to print all the stuff that people ask for on t-shirts, but Threadless allows me to do that. It’s a win win win win win win…I think digital has a place, just as the older processes do. There’s a beautiful balance in there somewhere. And before long, whatever is the most current form of printmaking will be old, and then we’ll be asking the same question of whatever has replaced “digital” printing as we see it today.
That’s a good point! What’s been the most difficult print or biggest print project
you’ve ever done?
My graduate thesis show was a challenge for me. I decided to do a number of things I had not done before, and also print a lot of stuff. You can see images on my website. I spelled out “Nobody Likes It. That’s Just The Way It Is” in multiple color screenprints, but also built a structure inside the gallery to house “souvenirs” and other printed fun things, which included t-shirts, bags, small prints, cards, postcards, and more. I had a solid year to work on it, which helped a lot, and generous peers. I would love to do something of that scale again– any takers?