This Nashville Artist’s Prints and Tapestries Are Rich With Meaning


Brunette woman wearing white shirt, smiling slightly

The Nashville artist in her Elephant Gallery studio.

A mosaic of life’s journeys makes its way into the oeuvre of Nashville artist Yanira Vissepó, which combines elements of block printing, fiber arts and, more recently, cyanotype. Abstract and enigmatic, Vissepó’s creations allude to fragments of her personal path—including a pivotal move from Puerto Rico to Tennessee as a child.

Graphic blue, black and white printed artwork

Nashville artist Yanira Vissepó's work explores printmaking, cyanotype and fiber arts.

Black and neutral art print featuring flat geometric and organic shapes

Print on linen with organic shapes in neon yellow, blue, turquoise and black

Hand-stitched details add texture to her block-printed tapestries, typically rendered on cotton or Belgian linen using vibrant, oil-based inks.

Artist studio storage with a slack of print blocks and prints

Vissepó employs a variety of creative tools and processes.

Artist studio with red sawhorse table and prints taped to the wall

She carves her stamps into wood and linoleum by hand, dips them into paint, then impresses their shapes upon paper or cloth.

Early in her practice, the artist gravitated toward block printing on paper and fabric for pragmatic reasons: “I was trying to create from home, and those materials were accessible to me,” she notes. But exploring the medium soon engendered a fascination with pattern making, exhuming childhood memories of seeing Puerto Rico’s ancient Taíno stone petroglyphs. Carving symbols into the rock face, the island’s indigenous forebears “were communicating with a higher power in nature,” the artist explains. In dialogue with this tradition, Vissepó developed a symbology that still anchors her work to this day. From delicate saplings to orbs reminiscent of river stones, these motifs evoke the island’s familiar waterways, wildlife, mountains and sunlight. 

Today at her Elephant Gallery studio, Vissepó carves those same shapes into wood or hard linoleum, pressing directly onto paper to create minimalist silhouettes. Alternately, she’ll layer stamped impressions to render abstract landscapes. For her cloth tapestries, she swaps water-based paints for more permanent oil-based inks, brightening her black-linen backdrops using bold gradient hues for high-contrast intensity. These jewel-like emblems are frequently cut out, layered atop cotton or raw Belgian linen, then embroidered by hand onto the final composition for additional dimension. 

In 2021, the artist embraced her proverbial blue period with cyanotype tapestries exploring her family legacy. A signature Caribbean Sea blue is achieved via this photographic printing process—the hue materializing once chemically treated fabric or paper is exposed to sunlight. Nature remains core to the work; Vissepó presents outlines of rocks, leaves and flowers gathered during trips to her homeland alongside family records and photographs. As with the Taíno carvers of centuries afore, Vissepó has discovered something profoundly healing and human by documenting the ephemeral. “Because flowers die, of course,” the artist says. “But printing gives them another life.”