Yeah, I just happened to see that my new shirts are up at Threaded Canvas!!
(I’ve been kinda busy)
Anyway, I’m especially happy to see my Darkness linoleum block print on there because I will be launching into a NEW series about the poem after finishing up some jobs…AND IT IS NOW A CONFIRMED SOLO EXHIBITION FOR SUMMER-FALL 2015 WITH A VENUE. I’m going all out on this one. For those of you who haven’t read my earlier posts, I did a series of traditional prints to illustrate Byron’s poem back in 2001.
Now, 14 years later, I want to show myself and one very special fan how far I’ve come.
Back in 2001 (yes!! the Stone Age) I illustrated the poem Darkness by Lord Byron. I made and bound a single book that contained a series of linoleum block prints, copper etchings, and monoprints illustrating each scene in the poem.
This linoleum block print, on the inside front page facing the title page, is a man eating a serpent. It is in reference to these lines from Darkness:
–the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl’d
And twin’d themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food.
I am currently revisiting this series with new works which I will eventually make the subject of a solo show. As the book’s creation was in 2001, the pieces in this solo show will all be dedicated to my wonderful father, who introduced me to this powerful poem.
The print looks curved because this is a photo of the book page. I have no other copies of the print and no good way to photograph it again, as it has been damaged in a flood. The exploding planes at the top of the picture were achieved by me physically cutting the top of the linoleum block apart and then printing from the pieces!
I promised back in my Plague Doctor post that I would post my 30 day NaNoManGo project, The Ocean concept sketches, soon. Today seems just as good a day as any! These are daily concept sketches for my developing comic “The Ocean,” done in November 2013. As you may be able to tell, the comic will deal with the Black Plague during medieval times.
And for the rest, you’ll just have to wait and see…
I’m honestly not sure when this is from…at a guess, 2001 or 2002 at the latest. I used charcoal to draw the woman and managed to get a nice rocky texture for her skin by using the sides of my charcoal stick. (it happened as an accident the first time, like most of what I do.) I added to her sense of confinement and hopelessness by stitching the matboard around her with embroidery floss.
I thought she was sold for the longest time, but then she turned up again the other day. I guess she’s imprisoned by my horrible storage techniques. I’ll try and remember to actually take her to my next show.
When I drew The Ruby Machine I was sitting in the hospital waiting on the results of an operation my mother was having. I was not only severely cramped for space, I was also out of the vellum bristol type stuff I generally try to use when making comics the traditional way. Then I thought “I’m planning on toning and lettering this comic in photoshop anyway, so why not just use any old paper and scan it in?
So my cheapskate method of using typing paper folded in half to draw one panel at a time was born. Here’s some progress shots I took of the process. The one above is from the hospital, I made those roses while I was waiting too. Some of the others are from continuing my cheapness at home. I still have these papers jammed in the bottom of my collage-paper box somewhere, where they are getting even more wrinkled and messed up as I type. Hooray!
See that little black fish blockprint on the right? That’s the real-world form of these little guys:
As you can see, he’s pretty cute in color too, huh? I’ve intended to use COPIC markers to add color to a few of my “Bait” block prints before now, but haven’t done so. Perhaps in time for the art crawl!
Incidentally, my “keyfish” idea started out with a simple photomanipulation of three objects in my house, a soapstone fish and two pendants from a broken necklace, a big key and a heart-shaped lock. I photographed everything and combined the keyhole with the fish, and history was made. I like this little fella and intend to make some sort of more developed digital artwork out of him!
Following on the nature theme of Art in the Wild [tomorrow!] and the recycling theme of the Earth Day Art Crawl, I was going to make more animal skeletons! I still might, but last night my creative process was curtailed by massive local flooding and I’ve been bailing water, moving possessions, disinfecting contaminated textiles, and shoveling mud all last night and today.
However, I can certainly show you the process by which I construct my skeletons.
I cut each individual bone from white card stock left over from hand-trimming all the digital prints I sell. Then I decoupage them into the form of a skeleton onto materials like recycled metal and plastic lids and pieces from broken furniture!
“The Crowd” is another very popular piece, appearing in The Horror Zine, two collaborations on deviantART, and also as promotional material for a recent horror novel, “Starers” by Nathan Robinson.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me what my deep meaning is here and propound several theories of their own, very in-depth and well-thought out theories at that. I myself was just portraying a kind of archetype I’ve always had in my head, that of the faceless, menacing crowd closing its ranks against outsiders, free from personal culpability and devoid of compassion and empathy.
Some happy news, my comic The Ruby Machine, as well as the linoleum block version of my print Daedalus, will be featured in the fifth issue of Hello World zine compilation by Bombshell Comics. This issue features a lot of neat artists and a poem by my good friend Lauren Tharp!
A couple of months back, I got back into linoleum block printing again after an absence of more than a decade to participate in Hand Prints. I started with five different designs: Eurydice, Daedalus, Tentacle Raccoon, Bait, and Angel Rex. They were easy enough to create digitally (my current primary method of making art), but things changed once I faced the task of carving them, inking them, and getting them onto paper. It was quite the logistic challenge to figure out where in heck to do the printing and what I needed to do to make each piece come out all right. I took some photos of my workspace during the process.
I cleared half my kitchen table and made different stations for each activity. From the foreground: 1) rolling ink onto the brayer, 2) inking up the plate, 3) pressing paper onto the plate and burnishing and 4) wetting the paper.
As you can see I have an incredibly exact method for measuring out 8×10 inch sections of paper for printing.
I used the same method to measure out 5×7 inch sections.
To cut the paper all I used was a metal ruler and a cheap mat knife. I also have an old Xacto knife I use for that stuff.
A random glass casserole dish I can’t remember ever using makes a lovely surface for spreading ink. I have no idea where I got the cardboard either, but I think it used to be an appliance box. I found that putting paper onto the plate and then holding it in place with my hand while burnishing it really hard with the slightly convex top of my pepper grinder worked best.
I used a bathroom towel and another random casserole dish for wetting and then blotting the paper for the 8×10 “Eurydice” prints. They needed damp paper for the solid black sky to really come off the plate well. The 5×7 “Angel Rex” and “Bait” prints were much crisper and better using dry paper, as I discovered.
At the time my youngest son was still in a bassinet in our room, so his un-used crib doubled as a drying rack.
Millions of Rexes!
(My oldest son served as my cheerful and handy assistant.)
I’ll post images of the actual carving process next time around!
This quote from Myra Hindley struck me. (She ripped off Yeats.) She tried to justify the Moors Murders as an attempt to explore the foul rag and bone shop cellars of her mind. I found the phrase (and her appropriation of it) to be suitably disgusting for her.