Crouched over a massive green and gray rubbery mat, printmaker Emily Sekerak carved a thin line into her artwork. Each mark, knick and blemish on the surface will translate to her final prints, so her razor-sharp focus is an absolute necessity.

“Every time you look at it, hopefully, you find something new and exciting about it,” the 28-year-old Newark Ohio resident said of her prints. 

Sekerak, winner of the Best Emerging Artist award at the Columbus Arts Festival in 2023, has invested in printmaking over the last several years and will be back at the festival this June to show off her latest work.

Printmaking is an art normally performed in a studio, but Sekerak blazes her own trail.

“I started out doing it [printmaking] in my own home, a little tiny apartment that I was living in,” Sekerak said. “I wanted to start doing it more professionally. So we [Sekerak and her partner] found a two-bedroom, and then we moved to a house where I have a big studio and a basement now. I’m slowly taking over.”

Her Newark home has provided more than a studio for her: it’s also served as inspiration for some of her prints. She even created a piece of art of all the homes on her street, and made enough to give to her neighbors. 

Unlike many, Sekerak makes multiple originals of her pieces, sometimes as many as 50. They are not digital recreations, but original pieces of art, each made with the same love and sweat as the first. 

“I love sharing my art,” Sekarak said. “When I finally found printmaking I knew that was the medium for me.” 

Noah Fishman and Andrew Theophilus work for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is sponsored in part by the Mellon Foundation and donations from readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.