Posts Tagged ‘ woodcut print ’

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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Magnetic North

Ahhh… the tumbling, tumbleweeds. It’s been a bit like that around here lately.  After the flurry of activity from the art show in February, I’ve had to have more downtime than I wanted. Last month I found out that my swollen left wrist was actually a ruptured tendon in said wrist. Apart from the fact that I’m left handed, this was a bit of a kick in the pants and has meant a severe curbing of my bike riding, playing the drums, lifting heavy boxes and of course… doing any woodcuts! In fact I haven’t made one woodcut since January and I’m not too happy about it either.

Thankfully there’s no shortage of good books in the world to read! And good music to put on whilst reading. I am happy to say that one great thing that’s happened this week is that I’ve received this…

This is the new album by my friend and talented musician Kelly Lloyd. Last year she had me work on the coverart for her latest solo album (above). She has spent a long time working on this album and before that even longer in her band Screamfeeder. All worth your time as far as I’m concerned.

The album is out in a few weeks time (24th April) . You can find out more and have a listen by heading over to Kellie’s BANDCAMP page.  The cover is inspired by a tune that’s on the album… three guesses on which song it is?

The sound of summer is coming to town!

Had myself a bit of Mariachi fun the other day!

Go check out Mariachi El Bronx

So what have you been up to lately?

Fair enough question when you think about it. One friends ask friends all the time. To be honest I feel like I’ve been saying the same answer for a long time now. This isn’t a bad thing because next week I get to show not only my friends but other people exactly what I’ve been up to.

It was June last year when my good friend Murdoch sent me his ideas for a collaborative piece he’d titled ‘When The Demon Knife Weeps’. Murdoch did the initial illustration and the idea was that I would adapt it to a woodcut. I really like Murdoch’s skills at drawing and illustration and so I was looking forward to the challenge. I was also looking to try something I had not done before with this medium, I wanted to see what would happen if I tried my hand at a large scale woodcut.

At the very start I didn’t really know what I was doing and almost every part of the process of making this woodcut has included me having to research and problem solve to get the desired outcome. Firstly, I have taught myself to make woodcut prints from hardwood. Hardwood doesn’t come large so I had to try a different timber source and many people on lots of different blogs were saying they used plywood. So off I went to the hardware store to buy some plywood sheets. I found the largest piece I could fit into the car (around 85cm by 120cm) and literally stood there in the store for an hour carefully inspecting every sheet they had for imperfections – all while tradesmen and handymen gave me strange looks.

Finally after some scaling issues and a week of drawing, I got Murdoch’s image onto the first sheet and started carving

Plywood is much more fragile than hardwood and required a careful and steady hand. I found myself spending around two or three hours a day, most days of the week working on the block and slowly the weeks went by. In fact almost three months went by (as work and life kept interrupting me) until I finally finished what was to be part one of a three part image.

Now I only have a small book press in my printing room. Most of the time I make prints by hand. I did try this with a test print of this block but that ended badly so I knew I needed help. I called, emailed and finally was put in touch with a wonderful Polish man named Jacek (phonetically pronounced: Yart-zeek). He had a printing workshop called ‘Under The House Of Art’ and he was in possession of the largest, manual etching press in the southern hemisphere. It just so happens that he was 15 minutes drive from my house – a lucky break in no uncertain terms!

In the weeks leading up to finishing the first part of my woodcut, I started to get quotes on paper to print on and what it might cost to frame such large woodcut prints. Needless to say, these aspects of the project were going to cost me much more money than I had and so I needed to rethink how this was going to work. Thinking specifically about the subject matter of the prints and some of the oldest forms of Japanese Ukiyo-e, I decided that the answer lie in making scrolls. It was my girlfriend however that suggested I use linen cloth instead of fragile cotton rag paper. And so then it was a trip to the fabric store to by around 20 meters of finely woven linen cloth.

So, arriving at Under The House Of Art with my plywood woodcut and my roll of cloth, I set about using the smaller of the two presses Jacek owned. I tested my first panel and breather a huge sigh of relief when, by the second print got a great looking relief print.

The woodblock itself looked pretty impressive too!

So by now it’s mid September and I’m starting to wonder if I can get this finished by the end of 2010. Filled with more confidence the second time round, I started on the next panel of my collaborative triptych image. This one was the same as the first and the days and the weeks slowly ticked by. Days off were spent not leaving the house. Weekends were spent bent over with fine carving tools giving me callused hands and all the while I learned new techniques to shade areas, how to use my tools for specific effects and generally enjoyed the meditative task of carving out the images characters.

Soon November came to a close and I contacted Jacek (that’s him in the corner of the photo) to organise another printing session and in early December, I made final prints of the first two parts of ‘When The Demon Knife Weeps’.

During this printing session it would take around one to two hours to get a good print. Much fussing had to be done and checking and rechecking and inking and aligning so as not to waste the fabric. Truth be known… about half the fabric I bought ended up on the reject pile (now hidden in the back of my wardrobe). After two days of printing the downstairs area of my house looked like an overcrowded laundry and I had locked in two artists proofs and an edition of one for display/sale. I was now two thirds of the way through this piece.

2011 didn’t start the way most of us in Brisbane had planned. On the 11th January I was sent home from work as the Brisbane river rose an rose and eventually flooded my workplace. After a week of helping my friends and others with the aftermath of the flood, I was told that I wouldn’t be going back to work anytime soon. A problem on one hand and gift on the other as I sat down and decided to start the final part of my triptych. Where as the first two had taken a few hours a day over several months. I shut out the world and in a workman like way, sat down from 9-5 every day for three weeks and carved. My forefinger and thumb bruised in the first week and by the second the indent from the tools became an easy groove to sit them within. Either way, by February I sat at my kitchen table with the completed woodcut in front of me. I felt happy but manly I think I just felt relief at, seven months later, not screwing it up but in some small way I was really proud of having the perseverance to complete what was becoming the most remarkable piece of art I have attempted to create to date.

However, even with the prints physically made, I still had a lot of work ahead of me. Now I needed to make ready for public viewing. More trips to the hardware ensued and with the help of my Japanese Bookbinding book, I set about turning my large pile of fabric into scrolls. I have to at this point send out immense thanks to Eileen who foolishly said “I’ll help!” and set about pinning and hemming the sides of the cloth and working with me to finish them off. You’ll find her personal textile creations here. Neither of us realised that this task alone would take another two months as no less than 40-metres of sewing occurred. Yep, every part of the process was another lesson learned. Come April however I had this to show for all the hard work and… well to be honest I stopped counting the hours after the first panel hit 100 hours.

The final part of the puzzle was what to store the finished scrolls in? After investing so much into making them, I wanted to make sure the elements, dirty hands or accidents didn’t ruin them. More research ensued and again following the example of traditional scrolls, I enlisted the help of Naut from Naut Cases to custom make me storage/display cases. Made with beautiful birch paneling and a sliding (cigar case-styled) lid – I picked three of these up last week. This week I am spending my nights lining the cases with gold satin-backed shantung and with any luck this weekend the project will come to a close and next week I’ll get to show you in person what Murdoch and I have made.

WHEN THE DEAD HEART BEATS is on at Nine Lives Galley from Thursday 9th June, kicking off from 6pm. It will feature over 20 new works on paper by Alex Gillies & Murdoch Stafford.

A Night With Friends Not Wasted

I turned on my camera today to find only nine photos from the group art show I was a part of last night. That’s most likely because I was having such a good time and catching up with lots of friends who came to see everything on show.

Held at Burst City, usually a DIY venue where many a punk rock show is held, yesterday was a lot of fun turning the room in to an art gallery. The rain loomed over us day but held off for a few hours, long enough for the show to be a great success. While there was no official premise for the show or the artists involved, the fact that really creative people with obvious talent but fringe cultural tastes were given the chance to show their work was great to be a part of.  That’s right, there wasn’t one painting of a vase of flowers to be seen anywhere in the room.

With everyone happy and possibly a little talked out, the night ended with a few snaps of some of some of us and our work…

Michael Fullard:

Jade Green:

Murdoch Stafford

…and me:

Left to right: Jade, Murdoch, Mikel, me, Michael, Damien

I’m sure you’ll find more accounts of the night over the coming days here:

Murdoch Stafford: http://murdochhardware.blogspot.com

Mikel Voidhanger: http://shatteredhell.blogspot.com

Jade Green: http://jadeisgreen.blogspot.com

McKenzie Briggs: http://crookedfeathers.blogspot.com

Here are the works that I had on show, two photographs and nine woodcuts. I made five sales and so really, I’m totally chuffed with how things went.

Seeing as the show was for one night only, I guess I should say that if there’s anything in the above photo that you want to know more about or want to see in person, then let me know here or through an email and I’ll be happy to fill you in!

I have to thank Will who runs Burst City for letting us put the show on and Especially Mikel who’s idea it was to have an art show in the first place and really, made it all happen. I’m hoping this is but the first of more shows of this kind!

Luddite Book at GOMA and Canvas Print

A little update because things have been quiet round here. I’m still working on the triptych of woodcuts that I started back at the beginning of June. In fact I’m only half way through this project. I hope to have them finished by the end of the year, so things are probably going to stay quiet for a while yet. Recently though I went and did some test prints of the first completed part of the triptych. This was both scary and fun. Thankfully I had my friend Jaceck (and his press) to make sure it all worked.

In other news, a while ago I mentioned that the handmade books I’ve made were available from the Brisbane Gallery Of Modern Art. The other day when I was there I decided to take a photo of my books on display. It was great to hear that they only have four copies currently left in stock.

…and this is the limited original print that comes with each copy of the book and will not be available elsewhere.

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