Once Every 15 Days – 23rd May, Melbourne.

ARTSHOW_poster

How Do You Sleep? Artist Book #7

How Do You Sleep? Artist Book

So at the moment my world is fast filling up with all the things I need to organise for my solo art show in Melbourne opening next month at The Old Bar in Fitzroy.

Now this is a good thing but also it leaves me little time for distractions and I love a good distraction. Add to this some of my friends who have seen what I’ve been working on behind the scenes lately have had very positive feedback and so last week I thought I’d take a bit of time out to make an artist book. Here it is and it’s titled How Do You Sleep?

How Do You Sleep? Artist Book

There is a undercurrent of thoughts that link a lot of my latest woodcuts, that and my somewhat erratic sleeping pattens of late have culminated in the images and contents of this book. I have handmade it as a concertina style book with a hardback outer cover. It’s a nice size in the hand at 21 x 21cm and I have made it in an edition of 23 copies.

 

book making

Above is my work bench over the last couple of days, basically all that paper, tape and cardboard eventually gets distilled down to this (just like magic)…

How Do You Sleep? Artist Book

It’s for sale HERE in my Etsy shop.

Thanks for reading.

Returning To The Board

boards

Skateboard decks – a popular canvas for people to decorate, paint, design or simply draw upon. It was my good friend Matt Brady who I can thank for helping get me into decorating skateboard decks as much as making woodcuts. Long before I got a handle on relief printing as an artistic medium I was experimenting on carving decks. The above photo has at the top the second ever woodcut I tried back in May 2008 and at the bottom the latest one I carved last week – both went a new home at True North in Melbourne last week.

Not carved as a printing matrix but as I sculpted illustration. I have to admit I do not really enjoy illustrating decks. The wood is so hard it hurts my hands (treated Canadian Maple), the wood surface is convex which makes correctly angling the carving blade tricky. Still they look really cool and while I repeatedly tell myself upon finishing a deck that it will be my last, I keep coming back to do more. I love the True North deck above. Like old-school tattoo flash with the tinted woodgrain showing up through the white inked surface.

I have only just by writing this post realised that I have actually done ten decks to date. I can’t help but think that deck No.11 probably isn’t far off…

This was 2013

So this is how I spent 2013. If you didn’t see me, well it is because I was at home doing this!

31 woodcuts in total. 2 artist books, 1 zine, a 10″ Ep,  a t-shirt and 3 exhibtions. An honorable mention for the woodcut guitar that while started in 2012 was finally finished this year.

Also a big shout out to my friends in Harmony & High Tension for asking me to illustrate their records. It was an Honour!

Thanks to everyone for the kind words, comments and all round support towards all this. I hope your year was as good as mine and that next year will be better for us all.

Alex.

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The Outpost Presents: Southern Crucifixion (One Night Art Show)

PosterSthnCrux

Sometimes I do birds, sunsets and the like and sometimes I entertain a more macabre vision for art making. When my good friend Matt at The Outpost asked me to be part of a group show for one night in Brisbane with two artists who do some pretty great work – of course I wanted to be a part of it!

I’ve shown with Murdoch previously and Murdoch has shown with French (all thanks to Nine Lives). This is going to be a lo-key night of metal/doom/punk/horror slanted creativity. Murdoch’s punk band Last Chaos will be playing as well as Doom band Frown.

I will have some new woodcuts on show as well as some favourites from previous exhibitions. In addition to the framed original prints (like that one the left), I will bring along things I’ve made over the last year or two like artist books, zines, t-shirts, vinyl and whatever else I end up hand-making over the next week…

stuff

It will be free entry on the night and this is a pretty underground event so feel free to share this info with your friends (HERE on Facebook) and with any luck I’ll see you there!

Getting Back On The Board (yet again)

So my band No Anchor are playing one more show here in Brisbane before we go on something of an extended break – an indefinite hiatus if you will. Our show which is this weekend is with a Melbourne named Clowns who are definitly in the skate-punk vein of music. Now while No Anchor might not work under that genre title I figured I would make something cool as a parting gift to the folks (well one lucky punter) who come to the show as well as something fun for the night.

NADeck

So I actually have some old boards that I reclaimed a while back. I set about sanding off the old decal on the deck and even had to pause cause I thought it looked cool just as it was.
NADeck-2

Then I used some of my favourite artwork associated with the band, the logo designed by Murdoch Stafford alongside the cover image from our third album Real Pain Supernova. Now I hate carving modern skateboards – mainly because it is not a flat surface which adds a greater chance to screw it up as well as the 7-ply maple wood being as tough as nails to carve into.
NADeck-3
…but a day or two of carving and there you have it!
NADeck-4

Because I mainly just use what is around me to make something, I used my mat black printing ink to cover the board and then coated it with a sealant.
Skate3
I think it turned out great. The purple dye of the woodgrain came up really well under the black coating.
deck
And for one little extra I decided to put the headstocks of my bandmates instruments into the griptape. It is common to make a marking to help identify the top and the bottom of the board and because No Anchor has two bass players I thought it appropriate to use Ian’s Rickenbacker and Donnie’s Peavy.
deck-2
This is the 8th skateboard I have customised and my only wish is that the person who wins it at the show on Saturday actually skates it and scratched the hell out of it. As much as it’s art – to me it’s a skateboard and I hope it is treated like one!

NADeck

 

 

 

 

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Getting Off To A Good Start

So I have been working hard at a new musical project (commonly known as a band) since February this year. It has been a huge amount of fun and I really don’t want to start playing gigs because it’s so cool just getting in a room and writing, refining songs and really just making a lot of noise with really great friends.

But as it goes, you tell other friends about the band and then other friends want to hear the band and so forth… Which eventually leads you to making a demo of your songs. Well, the recording side of the demo was made a few weeks ago which left the obvious question of how to distribute what we’d recorded. Sure, putting a digital file up on the internet would have been the easiest and zero dollar option but where is the fun in that? No I was hoping my bandmates would let me make something more tangible – even if it was just for us to keep.

Well making CDs was definitly the cheapest and quickest physical option available so over the last few weeks I’ve been toiling away at making something attractive to house our recording. Here is what I cam up with.

G4

Obviously the woodblock looked a lot nicer before I printed the heck out of it. Still, the little Calavera character that I carved out was mighty tricky simply because he was no bigger than my thumb. Still some handy work with a surgical scalpel got me what I was wanting…

G5

And here is the cheeky little bugger printed:

G1

Then came the task, fun at first but not so after some 8 or 9 hours of printing the coverart onto the custom made sleeves I got from Stumptown Press

G2

And so now (after some handy folding and burning of CDs) my bandmates and I have 50 copies of our first recording. I love making these things and really I hope it never changes so long as I have music to share with my friends.

G3

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Busier Than Ever

There’s so much happening that I might need to break things up into several posts. Heaven forbid I find the time to fill you in more regularly…

So my recent idea to turn one of my latest woodcuts into an affordable and comfy t-shirt was a resounding success and so a huge shout out of thanks has to go to everyone who snapped one up! I had a few extra made up and so there will be another chance to get your hands on one but more of that soon.

Front

Owl-Tshirt1

Back

Owl-Tshirt2

A big thanks goes to Matt Deasy of 7th Disaster for doing such a great job on the screenprinting of these. Really people, look him up for anything you want hand printed!

So a while back I said to stay tuned because I had lots of things happening before the end of the year. Well it’s all happening now.

I recently received the vinyl version of the debut album by High Tension when they came up to launch the album. Sure it looked great on the cd (see post below) but boy doesn’t it look better nice and big on vinyl? Stoked!

HTvinyl

And just last weekend I got my hands on the latest 7inch single by Melbourne band Harmony of which I (again) did the cover art for.

Harmony_1

It is the band’s third 7inch and the prelude to their second album which is out early next year through Posion City records. The band’s guitarist/vocalist/all-round-great-dude Tom Lyncoln is into sharks and so asked for a shark from me. Who am I to refuse? And so it was.

Here are all of the band’s singles, with the cover art for all of them done by me. Happy doesn’t even start to explain what it means to look at all these together.

Harmony_2

Sometimes doing artwork for great bands feels better (even though it is harder) than carving and making prints for myself but none of that comes even close to when something like this happens…

Robb Knaggs Tattoos

This is my friend Robb. Great guy and really talented musician. He recently took off to travel the world but just before he left he told me he wanted something that would remind him of home and this is what he wanted.

Printsml

Obviously the print represents something personal for him but I do find if nice that the Currawongs that hang around my house, gave me the feathers in question and that I captured in this print have unknowingly traveled so far.

CurrawongwoodcutThat also makes two people who have gotten a woodcut of mine tattooed. I think I might have to start planning to be the third.

That’ll do for now. More news soon.

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Have Owl, Will Travel

So over the last month or two I have been working away on quite a large owl woodcut that I designed. This block was interrupted a few times by other woodcuts that came calling but this week I finally finished and printed it. I am very chuffed at how well it turned out seeing as I found it to be really challenging not only in the carving but in trying to push my style in new directions.
Owl_Block-2

Here is the Artist Proof with the block.

Owl_Block

More often than not I usually either print an edition or put it all away and come back to it months or years from now in preparation for hanging in a frame on a wall somewhere. This time however I shared it with folks on my Facebook page and was encouraged by the positive response. This led me to think about cheaper/better ways to share what I’ve made. From this I’ve decided to try something new – I’m going to make a limited edition run of t-shirts of our new avian friend.

This is what the woodcut will look like once it’s hand screenprinted onto the t-shirts.

OwlDesign

…and this is how the t-shirt will look on the front and the back.

Owl_mockup_tshirt

I have decided to set this all up as a strictly two week pre-order. The pre-order period will start Friday 11th October and close Friday 25th October. Go to…

http://againstthewoodgrain.bandcamp.com/merch/limited-edition-owl-design-t-shirt

…and you will be able to pre-order the t-shirt in your preferred size. Please note I am currently only planning for this to be a one off run. Once the two week pre-order period has passed, I will take everyone’s orders and go get the t-shirts printed. Once that’s done I will ship them out to everyone.

So yeah, thanks for reading and I hope you’re interested in this little experiment/offer. I think these t-shirts will look really cool.

 

 

 

 

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High Tension – Death Beat

There’s been a heap of work happening behind the scenes of late. This being the first of recent projects that I can unveil.

Melbourne band High Tension are about to release their debut album and they asked me to do up the artwork. Even before this I think this band are really great and love all the other bands they are and have been in (The Nation Blue/Young And Restless). Over the weekend I got my hands on their finished cd…
HT

HT-4…and here are some of the original woodcut prints that I did up especially for them to use:

HT-3 A little bit of ‘Evil Dead’ styled horror/humor for the inside.

HT-2 And big old “Don’t F*** With Me” Rottweiler on the outside. All stylised and  done up real pretty for the coverart.

This is what the woodcut looked like coming off the block in my studio.
HT-5 I’m most excited about the fact that the band will also have this on vinyl. All formats (digital etc) will be out 25th October. You should go to your favourite independent music store and get them to order you a copy or if waiting isn’t your style then sample the first song off it below.

Trainspotters might note the bass player Matt Weston is wearing my band’s t-shirt in this clip. Bonus kudos for the outstanding wardrobe selection.

More info and stuff about High Tension (that is well worth your time) is over on their Facebook page.

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