Lya Finston

Past Fellow

Lya Finston is an artist and printmaker raised in Cranford, NJ and based in Chicago, IL, where she works as a circulation assistant at Ryerson Library of the Art Institute of Chicago. Finston is also involved with Hoofprint, where she helps print lithographic editions for the shop’s various published artists along with creating her own work. In May 2018, Finston graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in Studio Art and German Studies.

Services Offered:

  • Exhibition Opportunities
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Printmaking Commissions


Project Statement:

Lately, I’ve been making work that revolves around the relationship between the osage orange and thegiantgroundsloth.​Theosageorange​isa​ treewithlarge,bumpy,greenfruit​thatIdiscoveredwhile living in Ohio. I was immediately struck by their alien appearance. The osage orange continues to fall today despite the fact that nothing eats it anymore, deeming it an anachronistic “ghost of evolution.” Paleontologists speculate that it was eaten and dispersed by giant ground sloths during the Pleistocene era. The osage functions like a fossil in this way, serving as a prehistoric relic of past life on Earth. This fruit’s unique state of obsolescence fascinates me, inviting the creation of alternative histories surrounding its continued presence. My theory is that the ground sloths still live among us, and that’s why osage oranges continue to fall. I also believe the osage has magical, medicinal properties. I strive to harness the reifying power that I find inherent to lithography and intaglio’s graphic quality due to their commercial, mass media history and imposed cultural memory in order to confuse reality and the supernatural. With the help of the letterpress, intaglio, lithography, and screenprinting facilities at Spudnik,I’dliketoexplorethepowero​ fthepresstorealizemytheories.Duringthefellowshipperiod,I’ll make an installation that incorporates digitally animated prints, etchings and lithographs on paper that I make from hand-beaten pulp with osage orange tree bark, fake newspaper articles printed on the letterpress, and 3-dimensional screenprinted sculptures.