Sunday, June 24, 2018

Photos from "Imaginarium" Reception at CAC

Just got back from the opening for the show in Wallingford, featuring all of the artwork from The Nautilus and the Ammonite. Here are some photos. If you want to see the show in person, it's up through July 20. Duke Gallery at the Community Arts Center414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086.

"Peace Puzzle Woodcut" more info click here

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Year of the Dog Exchange

This was the first year I participated in the Baren Forum for Wood Block Printmaking's Chinese New Year exchange. I finished and mailed out my contribution at the end of January. The trickle of small prints from the other participants began that month and finished up about a week ago when I received this last one from Leigh Beatty titled Waiting. It turned out to be one of my two favorites. My other favorite below is Cemetery of the Innocent (32) by Linden Langdon.

I like both of these prints because they are not cute dogs. I'm a printmaker who has made a lot of cat prints that are explicitly not cute, and now I'm working my way into making dog prints, and I'd like those to not be cute either. Which is to say, I'd like get a little more to the heart of what these beings are as animals. Yes, they are affectionate household companions, too, but they were bred from fearsome predators, and their relationships with humans are far more complex and interesting than could be ascertained by most cat and dog posters and gift books.

In Beatty's dog print, the dog is staring up at presumably the owner. I guess it is the owner because of the intensity of that almost desperate stare. The title is "waiting", and indeed the dog is in great anticipation of something. Maybe food, maybe a walk, or maybe some simple affection from that person they are most devoted to in the world. Any way about it, this desire is a deeply-rooted yearning, and the red and black colors with the zigzag carpet pattern help to convey the primal nature of this animal's patiently-endured hunger.

Langdon's image is more subdued, but equally serious. I feel there is something otherworldly about this image, as if I could float right through the landscape like an unseen spirit. The dog is turned away, not hearing or perceiving my observation of them. They seem focused on something else beyond my own vision, maybe small and in the grass, or perhaps farther away. This dog is in many ways the opposite of the one above; distant, dark, and self-possessed.

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Heart With Plant" by Santhosh C H

It pumps blood; we know that now. The tightness in the chest, the thumping, faster, slower, everything in motion, even as we are frozen still. Always moving, growing.

I know it is an image of a heart and a seedling. Does the seedling sprout from the heart, or does the heart carry it? We cannot tell from this set of information; a not-quite-solid black background and the illusion of an elegant, asymmetrical, grey shape created by uniform, gouged marks that point in this and that direction. Like a meditation.

Ba bum, ba bum, ba bum.

Monday, June 18, 2018

"Imaginarium" Summer Fellow Exhibition in Wallingford

THIS SUNDAY, Imaginarium Reception: June 24, 2pm to 4pm
414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086

Summer Fellows exhibit in the Duke Gallery of the Community Arts Center. The show will include all of the artwork for my newly released book "The Nautilus and the Ammonite", many works from my other book projects, as well as the debut exhibit of some of my new ceramics.
On view: June 23-July 20

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Happy Birthday To Me


Today is my 40th birthday, and it seems that instead of having a mid-life crisis, I'm driving toward a mid-career crisis. Yes, I'm coming to terms with the inescapable reality that I've landed in that dreaded phase (at least I hope it's just a phase) of being a mid-career artist. As neither a sexy "emerging" artist with oodles of potential nor a truly "established" artist pursued by dealers, agents, and collectors (other than family and friends), I'm stuck working my butt off in the studio whenever I can in between my actual income-driven work and personal life. I'm proud of my accomplishments, confident in my current work and the direction of its future. But the old stuff that hasn't sold has piled up in my house like some kind of benign tumor. Yeah, it's not malignant, but it sure isn't helpful, takes up space, and ain't pretty.

Maybe some of you reading this want to say something about how my old work is good or great or important or whatever. And perhaps much of it is. But to me it is dead. Been there, did that, moving on.

Don't worry, I'm not going to burn all my old art in a bonfire like I've recently mentioned and fantasied about. I'm too old and not illustrious enough for something that melodramatic. But something must be done.

AND SO *trumpet sounds* for all of JUNE, I'm offering any of my woodcuts featured on the Facebook Album "Take My Old Art, Please!"  PAY-WHAT-YOU-WISH + $5 shipping*.

And when I say pay-what-you-wish, what I mean is offer $100 or $1 or ONE PENNY. You will not hurt my feelings. I promise I won't talk smack about you later. So long as you are moved by it in some way and desire to possess it.

Or maybe you want to give it as a gift to someone you think would love it. Maybe you have 10 friends who would like 10 of my prints as gifts. Pay me $50 to ship 'em all plus ONE PENNY and they are yours. Get some of your holiday shopping done. I seriously don't mind if you are essentially asking me to give you art, because I'm not trying to make money. I'm just trying to find a home for this stuff before putting it away for good. This is not a cynical act. I WANT people who like my woodcuts to have them, regardless of whether you have it your budget to buy art or not.

After the month of June, the album will be deleted and all of the remaining featured artwork that didn't sell will be packed away in a portfolio deep in my basement for my kids to deal with after I'm dead.

*If the piece/s you want is/are larger and matted OR if you live outside the USA, shipping will be higher than $5. Contact me and we can work it out.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Unexpected Requests for Permission to Use My Art

This past month I had a couple interesting requests for permission to use my work, both of which I happily agreed to. The first was from a metal band in New Zealand that came across a woodcut I made and posted on this blog back in 2011, Gorilla and Baby Goat. I originally made that print for fun and for a friend who specifically requested it. The band happened to be making their debut show at a vanue called Fifty Gorillas and they were also playing with another band called "Goats Az", so the image worked.

The second recent request was not nearly as unusual, though still rather cool - it was from a prof who wanted to use my woodcut of the goddess Freyja on the syllabus for a class she was teaching on Norse Mythology.

Good to know my work is getting out there and appreciated through such varied channels.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

"Hand, Human"

Hand, Human
Reduction woodcut with 2 blocks, 2 colors each
6" x 9"
Limited edition of 30

I made this print for Baren Forum Exchange #76. While contemplating the theme "Humanity" I kept thinking about the time I was at the Columbus Zoo and a gorilla put her hand up on the glass, and I was struck by how much it resembled my human hand. Googling images of gorilla and other great ape hands, I kept finding scientifically cataloged specimens, cut off at the wrist and set on a table to be photographed or illustrated and labeled. So for this print I decided to make an image of my own hand severed at the wrist, set on a table, and titled as a sample specimen. I thought of doing it as a black and white woodcut or engraving, but that seemed to narrow the concept to a one liner. Instead I wanted to use color bright complimentary colors (that are commonly found in many of my reduction color woodcuts) to give the piece another dimension to interpret. The unnatural, flat purple hue on the hand emphasizes the graphic depiction while obscuring the race of the individual, and the yellow can seem both cheery and garish or alarming.

The broader concept will be to create a small series that includes other primate hands (at least the great apes) depicted in the same way and then exhibit them as a set.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Relief Monotypes of Animals by Kids

These are scratch foam relief prints with the water-based block printing ink that the kids painted on with paint brushes. They then printed on paper just by rubbing. They were made by my K-2nd grade Animal Kingdom art class at the University City Arts League.

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Moving North" by Gail Priday

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More of Gail Priday's artwork, including several stunning color woodcuts, can be found on her website

This is a serigraph, not a woodcut. I was driven to feature it here at least partially because I'd recently been captivated by prints of cross sections of trees such as those of Bryan Nash Gill. Here we have what initially appears to be that, but it is not. It is a stylized representation. Upon closer look, it reads less and less like tree rings, and more like an illustrative landscape with a line of evergreen trees above layers of sediment. But then there also seems to be a strip of snow over a blue sky and a circling, rushing river. Behind the cross section we see more falling snow and coniferous winter arrives, a broad view of this witness's biosphere is written into the grooves of its trunk.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

"Goldfish No. II" by Elizabeth Norton

Orange reflections behind the floating green against a backdrop of peach read like sunset. The roots are visible and tickly. Our companion swiftly sinks downward, out of earshot. The secrets we exchange this moment are forever embedded in this flat space, connecting us as one for all of time.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Another illustration by Alan Bold

One can peel away layer upon layer, scoop out countless ladles of water from the body of water spread out before us, but to what end? What discovery? Better to stand still and confront what is in front of us in this quiet and fertile moment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Southern Landscape by J. J. Lankes

What ever made us think we could somehow separate? As if our minds could escape our bodies, or our bodies escape any sphere-or-otherwise-shaped-ship hurling through space? We are not merely embedded in the landscape. We are part of it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Nautilus and the Ammonite Pre-Sale Campaign is Launched!

Almost three years in the making and now The Nautilus and the Ammonite Pres-sale Campaign is LIVE! For those who don't know about it, check out the video above. I have 6 weeks to raise funds needed to print a first edition of 500. Check it out and please share with any potentially interested friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, word of mouth, etc. - it all helps. Thanks so much! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Collages with Linocuts by 6th Graders at Kearny

These are collages made from magazines and linocuts. The linocuts in black and white were posted Monday , and hand-colored versions were posted earlier today. This is a project I lead at 3 elementary schools through the Wagner Free Institute of Science's SNAP(Science, Nature, and Art in Philadelphia) Program. 

Wildlife Linocuts (hand colored) by 6th Graders at Kearny

Here are the hand-colored versions of the black and white proofs I posted on Monday. This is a project I lead at 3 elementary schools through the Wagner Free Institute of Science's SNAP (Science, Nature, and Art in Philadelphia) Program.