Posts Tagged ‘ Palm Cockatoo ’

Luddite: New Woodcuts by me (till 26th June 2010)

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Well the show has been going for about a week and a half and has a bit over a week till it finishes. For those who aren’t in Brisbane or simply haven’t gone over to the Doggett St website then I thought I’d put up pictures of what’s in the show. It should be said too that if there is anything that catches your eye or might look good on your wall, I have prints for sale of almost all of what’s here and you can contact me for more information.

I know everything is in the eye of the beholder and all that stuff but I figured I would also give some thoughts of what’s here too. All of the prints (except three done in the first half of 2009) were carved and created between July 2009  and June 2010.

Title: The Machine Breaking Riots of 1811-1816
Year: 2009
Size: 30cm x 30cm

These are my hands, at my typewriter which still gets used regularly to send letters to friends. It sure beats email and is the centerpiece of my prints focused on antiquated technology. I am astounded how many people have reacted to this image in such a positive way, it’s great. The title is a signal towards those British individuals that brought the word ‘Luddite’ into the common English vernacular. I also have my friend Heinz to thank for inspiring this image… even if he did so by accident.

Title: Hello, Hello?
Year: 2009
Size: 20.5cm x 38cm

This is the Palm Cockatoo from North Queensland, Australia. It’s the largest of the Parrot species in this country and is distinctive not only in appearance but in its personality. I saw a documentary on it last year and was fascinated by it. Look it up! It has rhythm and a matting call that remarkably sounds like the word “Hello?”

Title: Evensong
Year: 2010
Size: 22cm x 31cm

When I sit at my makeshift school desk come work table and spend hours staring at a block of wood, I look up to adjust my eyes and out the window, this is what I see. The view looks out north-west and for a few weeks a year the leaves all drop off this tree and I can see the currawong birds that stop in to say hello. The currowong’s song in the early morning and twilight is really beautiful.

Title: Salute
Year 2009
Size: 40cm x 32cm

This is my tribute to all things punk rock and metal. And as you can maybe tell by the cuff, anyone can make a statement if they know what they want to say.

Title: Adam
Year: 2009
Size: 28.5cm x 38cm

This is my friend Adam. This is from a photo I took of him with his band Turnpike. He’s a really awesome person and I just wanted to revisit this image. From memory, I did this all in one day.

Title: A Song For You
Year: 2010
Size: 28.5cm x 38cm

Inspired by a bet between two people that one of them could collect one million hand-made pictures of giraffes in one year. This is me experimenting with texture and detail… and the fact that I love carving pictures of animals. When I was done, I scanned the print in and sent it to the fellow collecting the pictures. It’s hidden somewhere amongst all the other giraffes here: http://www.onemilliongiraffes.com/

Title: My Fixed Gear
Year: 2009
Size: 28.5cm x 38cm

This was a woodcut made for one reason that didn’t work and I was left with a fellow on a bike with nowhere to go. So I went back, gave him a new bike and a shock of colour and off he went. I’m still not sure where he’s going but I recently found out that he’s coming back to Brisbane soon. The fellow on the fixed gear has a name too, it’s Jamie Stewart. He has a band called Xiu Xiu

Title: Lost At Sea Pt.1 (From the Series ‘Lost At Sea’)
Year: 2009
Size 18cm in Diameter

This print and this series mean more to me than one brief paragraph can explain. The three images are inspired by a tattoo I have on my right forearm, also in three parts. Many years ago, instead of getting a wedding ring, I got a tattoo. It symbolised her, me and us, it was below the water, on the waterline and in the sky above. It was about finding and it was about searching. 10 years after I get the tattoo, I made these prints. The same ideas only updated.

The compass in the center of the image above is also tattooed on my left forearm. It’s part one… where are you going? Do you know?

Title: Lost At Sea Pt.2 (From The Series: Lost At Sea)
Year: 2009
Size 18cm in Diameter

I love tall ships, I have since I was a child. They make me think of being free, away from cities, they make me think of my godfather and that makes me happy. This particular ship was the third woodcut I ever did (on a skateboard no less) but I never took any prints from it so I came back to it and this time I got an edition from it.

Title: Lost At Sea Pt.3 (From The Series Lost At Sea)
Year: 2009
Size 18cm in Diameter

…again, the wandering spirit. The wise old turtle who may just outlive us all. I love turtles as much as old ships and even stormy seas will pass if we wait.

Title: D.Black
Year 2009
Size: 18cm x 14cm

This is another friend of mine who also happens to be a great musician. This is me starting to experiment last year with colour and multiple block registration. Of course I didn’t want to make my task too hard so I went with these two colours and am happy to say that it worked nicely.

Title: Bird On A Wire
Year 2009
Size: 20cm x 55.5cm

People don’t look up enough! They should look up or around more often.

A few months back, I agreed to collaborate with a friend of mine who is a terrific illustrator in his own right. We tossed about different ideas and tried to work out what would inspire us both equally. One idea centered around crows and in my collecting and researching of ideas for the image I stumbled upon this gang of nervous birds.

Well the co-lab is still in full swing but it now has nothing to do with crows or birds of any kind. However I thought this image was strong on it’s own and so ran with it. The background is also a monoprint done on glass. Again, more experimentation in the continuing search to work out what on earth I’m doing within this medium.

Title: ’32 Coupe
Year 2009
Size: 52cm x 22cm

Again, it’s me and antiquated technologies. The theme of the show wasn’t prevalent until I had a few works laying around and I started to see a pattern emerge. This woodcut was as hard as it looks, I didn’t have a fancy tool or some trick method – I hand-carved out every single line with a v-shaped gouge and think this could be the closest I’ve come to a perfect woodcut so far. I really do love this one a lot. It might be obvious to some that part of this piece was inspired by the wood engravings of Barry Moser. He’s a truly gifted artist in this medium and he gives me something to aim for with my own expression of illustration through relief printing.

Title: My Favourite Mix
Year: 2009
Size: 20cm x 14cm

I did a series of seven prints of this cassette, each one a different colour (blue, green, orange, purple, red, black & yellow). It was a little offshoot edition to the main print run which was of 60, hand printed onto small envelopes which held an actual cassette. These all went to my friend Heinz who did the limited cassette release of his music and from what I remember, he sold out of the cassettes in about a week. This was a fast and fun project and I enjoyed being a part of it very much. It doesn’t hurt that the music in the tape was also really really good.

Title: Anchor
Year: 2009
Size: 26.5cm x 40cm

This is one of the few woodcuts that I actually had in my last show in July 2009. I did have an initial small run of 3 prints which were black on Japanese rice paper. Since then I returned a few months later when I had come across much better paper and had spent more time practicing my printing. I made this one off print with a blue/black mix of ink and wanted to show it again because I love the image. Now what need to practice is how to label the prints that I make… that seems to be more confusing than making woodcuts.

Title: Bruce ‘Utah’ Phillips
Year: 2009
Size: 26.5cm x 40cm

This like the Anchor was from last year and the previous print I had displayed was the one off Artist Print. Again, around the same time as the Anchor. I came back to Utah because I wanted to add more to him. I carved out a second woodblock so as to give him a background and he looks much better for it. This print hasn’t sold in the current show so far and that’s fine with me. I think I’d like to send it to Colorado where there is a small museum dedicated to Utah and all the amazing things he did with his life.

Title: I Will Protect You
Year: 2009
Size: 40cm x 29cm (just the owls. paper is 70cm x 35cm)

I wanted to test my skills and these Owls were a big leap for me. I still can’t quite believe how well they worked out. The print above is an open edition where each print is done on a different type of paper and no two papers are ever repeated. It was the start of an idea seeing as I knew that this image wasn’t finished…

Title: Owls
Year: 2009
Size: 80cm x 50 cm

…and so here is the second installment of my owls, with passing clouds and a background landscape from multiple blocks. Somehow in my mind I think there’s a third or fourth installment to this image. I’m going to keep experimenting until I decide on the perfect surrounds for these two, kind of like the changing seasons perhaps?

Title: WWI – Curb Your Enthusiasm (From The Series: Feel Free To Laugh)
Year: 2010
Size: 24.5cm x 33cm

Title: WWII – The Biggest Loser (From The Series: Feel Free To Laugh)
Year: 2010
Size: 24.5cm x 33cm

Title: Vietnam – Big Brother (Eviction Special) (From The Series: Feel Free To Laugh)
Year: 2010
Size: 24.5cm x 33cm

There is a hell of a lot I could say about this print and the other two above it in this series. I won’t bore you with long rants or diatribes though I do feel like saying one or two things that motivated me to make them. As you’ve seen above, I’ve done lots of birds, sunsets, people etc… all lovely or pretty pictures in some way. I decided to challenge myself at the start of the year and purposefully spend days and weeks carving out blocks of images I found distasteful, off-putting and essentially ugly. I’m not a fan of war, I don’t think most people are. But lots of people have come to a very violent end fighting for a lot of things we take for granted today. I wanted to (in my small way) make people look at these images, maybe read the titles, maybe laugh at the titles… and then ask themselves what was so funny? Some things are worth fighting for and some of the things we occupy our modern-day leisure time with are not the worthy spoils of others sacrifices…

Well there you have it, The end-point of my two years making woodcuts so far. I also have, hanging at the gallery, some of the woodblocks that these prints came from and one or two more personal prints that are to be seen more so than disseminated on the internet.

I’m part of a different art show next week, I Used To Skate Once 6. It’s a huge group show with 60 different artists. I’ll post up more details about that in the coming days. I’m also planning to have a co-lab show with a friend in November. More large mountains to climb and challenges to get my head around between then and now though. I’m off to try my hand printing onto fabric for the first time now, wish me luck…

Alex.

Totally, Totally immersed

It’s funny how, say for example you talk to someone about a red car and then for days, all you see is red cars, no matter where you turn. Well that selective process of identifying the things that capture our thoughts and imaginations has taken a firm hold of me in regards to woodcuts, woodblock prints, relief prints, everything and anything to do with this medium of expression and art.

About a year and a half ago, I was looking for new and interesting design ideas for illustrating cd artwork. My interests were sparked when I looked back as far as Eric Gill. I ended up going further back, back to Albrecht Durer and was amazed at the history, the skill and craftsmanship and a whole lineage of art I’d never heard of or been taught about in my years of regular schooling.

These days I wonder what it would be like to go to art school and learn about woodcut prints but I know I don’t have time to stop and formally learn how to do… what I’m already too busy doing. When I set this blog up in June, I didn’t personally know anyone who was doing this. In a few short months I’ve discovered a handful of people in my town who dabble and create woodcuts, I’ve found a history of people from Australia who made wonderful work (Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor, Adelaide Perry, Cressida Campbell), joined a printing collective and scrolled through dozens and dozens of amazing blogs filled with inspiring work from people dotted all over the globe.

I also recently joined a woodblock forum called Barenforum, an extremely interesting if not slightly bamboozling forum to someone as novice as myself – what with talk of various techniques and multiple block colour schemes and such. Baren however did recently lead me to have my first international sale of one of my prints. That was really exciting for me.

My latest discovery is an artist named Lynd Ward. He was an American Artist who came to prominence in the 1930s with his wordless woodcut novels. I have been overwhelmed with options of late of what to do next, what to learn and what direction to take. Should I do traditional Japanese prints in multiple blocks, should I try reductionist prints, woodblock etchings etc. I’ve felt overwhelmed until a few weeks ago when I finally found Lynd Ward.

Book2

Book1

I just got these books recently and I know that this is the direction I want to take myself in. This to me, and my way of seeing things, is my high-water mark, this is where I want to strive to get to. I’m going to stick to single block images for a while and try to improve my skills. At the moment, just trying to empty the contents of my brain onto various woodcuts is taking almost all of my spare time and I’m really enjoying it.

Funny enough, I don’t want to put up everything I’m doing because that will leave nothing when it comes time to show people in my town in a gallery. That said, I’m proud of what I’m doing and I want people outside of my town to see it. A few weeks back I finished a woodcut that was my tribute to technology. In the same vein, I finished another technological favourite of mine at the start of last week, the Hot Rod.

Roadster

and a few days later I did a North Queensland Palm cockatoo. Easily the most interesting and entertaining of birds I’ve ever come across.

Palm Cockatoo

Today I’m starting the view from my worktable, the place I do all of my carving at. After that? Who knows, I’ve got about another four blocks in the planning stage at the moment. I honestly don’t think I’ve felt this driven at any other time in my life.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 280 other followers