My name is Kristen Greteman.
I am a printmaker, photographer, and historian with a passion for finding beauty and meaning in the everyday. I began to explore printmaking in 2015. Under the topic of subdivisions, I focused on learning the technique, combining color, and arranging composition on the page. I, first, exhibited this work at the Des Moines Arts Festival as an emerging artist in 2016, winning Iowa Emerging Artist Best of Show.
Over the past few years, my photography and printmaking have evolved, visually, while maintaining similar subject matter around the idea of sense of place. In 2018, I began to incorporate primary source historical material and the idea of “deep mapping” into my creative practice. A deep map contains more information than the standard 2D visual map of a place. Besides names, topography, and distances, a deep map is a method that is often displayed in written form. Deep mapping provides information that includes history, personal experience, archaeology, ecology, folklore, natural history, science, weather, and storytelling over a course of time.
The goal of a deep map is to provide the reader or viewer with an opportunity for greater, multi-layered knowledge of a place that is typically small and rural. This can be described as creating a sense of place, a spirit of place, or local distinctiveness. Others have described the process as an intensive exploration of place. As a visual artist, through photography and printmaking, the method of deep mapping becomes an opportunity to explore the many types of information I can find or record about a place in a visual way.
Inspirations for me include historical maps such as the historical Ebstorf and Hereford maps, the map of Rome by Giambattista Nolli, and the Piri Reis map as well as artworks of the A:shiwi (Zuni) counter-mappers. All of these examples incorporate several types of information through the geography, topography, recorded observations, drawings of humans and animals (also mythical creatures), notations, symbols, and text. Through this combination of information, the visual map becomes not just a representation of geography, but a narrative of the place that presents a chronicle of the history and a collection of the meaning and value embedded there, whether by myself or others.
I grew up in Iowa, and I love my home place. I currently live, work, play, and learn in Ames, Iowa.