Colby Minifie can't sit still.
Despite currently appearing Off-Broadway in Lincoln Center Theater's Epiphany and her series regular role as Ashley Barrett on the Amazon Prime superhero series The Boys, the actor still finds time for another artistic endeavor. She takes a moment from a show, carves it into wood, and then makes a lasting print—transforming one work of art into another.
Minifie made her Broadway debut understudying the Boy and Girl in the 2005 production of The Pillowman and then attended New York's Professional Performing Arts School as a teen. Though always a performer, when pursuing undergraduate studies at Macaulay Honors College, she turned more towards studio art. "With acting you need people...with this, I can spend my time alone, doing things with my hands," she says.
Art isn't just a hobby for Minifie, though. It keeps her mentally healthy as well, she says. "I've been working as an actor for 18 years, and I can look back and delegitimize every [acting] job I've done by being mean to myself and being hard on myself. Theatre is so ephemeral...I can have, like, success amnesia. But with art, I make something and it exists in the world. It's tangible, and I can say, 'Look, I made that.'"
It also makes a pretty great opening night gift. Minifie takes a production photo, sketches it out on a piece of wood, then does a line carving of the image, and in a relief printing process, uses the carved wood block to make an ink print of the image. Check out the time lapse video above.
Minifie has made these prints, not only for the cast of Epiphany, but also for MCC's Punk Rock, as well as her two most recent Broadway shows, Long Day's Journey Into Night and Six Degrees of Separation. Her earlier prints were all done completely by hand, rendering her left arm almost unusable after pressing 77 prints for Six Degrees. "When your opening night gift starts to impede your performance, maybe cut back a little," she laughs, explaining that for her Epiphany print, she teamed up with friend Archie Archambault who has a letterpress at his Lower East Side storefront Archie's Press.
The actor-artist is serious though when she says she can't sit still. In addition to her wood-carved prints, she paints, does pottery, quilts, embroiders (she even did the embroidery on the jacket she wears in Epiphany), and is currently in the midst of restoring an AirStream trailer.
Catch her in Epiphany at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater through July 24...before she's off to something else.