Posts Tagged ‘ woodcut prints ’

Inspiration old and new

There are some great exhibitions showcasing woodcuts happening in Brisbane at the moment. The most noteworthy being the Woodcuts of Albrecht Durer at the Queensland Art Gallery (at Southbank) and Cressida Campbell at Phillip Bacon Gallery (in Fortitude Valley).

The Durer Woodcuts feature his series titled ‘The Apocalypse. The show ends this Sunday! Read below for the actual story…

BlogPics

Durer-7-2

Durer-14-3

Durer-15-4

Durer-28-5

Durer-29-6

The proposed Acquisition plaque below the didactic refers to the fact that the Qld Art Gallery owns 11 of the 16 woodcuts in the series and they are trying to buy the final panels to complete the series. As we all know, collecting that final pieces of the puzzle/collection is always the hardest.  There’s more on the QAGOMA website

Across town in the valley is the latest exhibition from Sydney printmaker Cressida Campbell. Campbell has over the last three decades developed her own printing technique which mixes white-line woodcutting with watercolour painting to create very beautiful images. Also on display are some uncut woodblocks. I loved seeing the sketches but it lead me to wonder why on earth they hadn’t been carved. Still, here are two of my favourites and you can see the whole exhibition going to PHILLIP BACON‘s website. Go check it out!

CC1

cc2

You Call It The Studio, I’ll Call It The Kitchen Table

Recently Charlie Hillhouse (of Small House Books) dropped round to take some photos for the folks at Mild Manners. I was in the middle of finishing the last woodcut that will be in next week’s show. This is where I spend most of my days off. Around meal time it’s the kitchen table – the rest of the time it’s where all the projects that are strewn around the house are worked on.

StudioVisit_1

While most of the time is spent carving the woodblock, once a woodcut is finished up, I head downstairs to the spare room which doubles as my makeshift printing room. On this day I was going back and printing a woodcut I hadn’t touched for over a year and had not gotten around to editioning. Everything is pretty much DIY. A jig from some left over timber. Inking glass that’s from an old picture frame. A drying rack that was once a clothes rack. Whatever gets the job done really.

StudioVisit_2

The vast majority of my prints are printed by hand (I don’t actually own a printing press). This means that when using a baren (the little bamboo disc beside the print there) I usually need to make a few passes of the print – ink the block, apply the paper, ink the block, re-apply the paper and so on.

StudioVisit_3

This is the fun part where I get to see if the woodblock has worked and eventually with the right amount of ink, the image starts to come off the block

StudioVisit_4

And if everything goes according to plan then I’ll end up with a rich image with just enough wood-grain to complement the carved lines and add some texture.

StudioVisit_5

So while I might take days, weeks or even longer to carve out a woodblock, I can usually have a few prints made in a couple of hours. A satisfying way to end the creative process.

Thanks to Charlie for the snapshots of me at work.

South Of The Border – East Of The City

I don’t head down to James St in the valley often enough. This is my loss seeing as that means I don’t get to go hang out at Jamie’s Espresso nearly as much as I’d like to. Jamie, Carmella, Bo and the lovely ladies who work there are a super bunch.

Well I’d like to thank them for giving me the best reason to go hang there during the month of May as some of my woodcuts will be adorning their walls. This will be a preview of sorts of new works leading up to my solo show in a couple of weeks (just down the road at Ksubi).

Painting El Pajaro

Here is me putting the finishing touches of paint to a print that will be hanging there. I’ve gone and expanded on a series of prints I started in the summer of 2011/2012 of Mexican Loteria cards.

Loteria: is the Spanish word for lottery. Loteria is a Latin American game of chance, similar to bingo but using images on a deck of cards instead of plain numbers on ping-pong balls. The deck is composed of a set of 54 different images, each one in a card.

To start the game, the caller randomly selects a card from the deck and announces it to the players by its name, sometimes using a riddle instead of reading the card name. The players with a matching pictogram on their board mark it off with a chip or other kind of marker such as small rocks or pinto beans. The first player with four chips in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row, a squared pattern or fills the tabla first shouts “Lotería!” (Lottery!) and is the winner.

The Prints will be hanging at Jamie’s from this Thursday 2nd May and I will be hanging out at Jamie’s Thurdsday night from around 5pm if you want to come down and check it all out/catch up/have a chat!

In the real world Jamie’s is at 49 James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. In the not so real world, Jamie’s can also be found here: http://jamies.com.au

Print in Print

Firstly a quick thank you to all the terrific folks who came along to the Wasted Dream group art show over the last week and checked out not only my prints but all the great artwork on display. My good friend Murdoch absolutely killed it with some of his new drawings. There were two of them that were my favourites!

Here’s what I had on display…

3

So last night we pulled down that show and tonight there’s something a little different happening across town.

My friends at Mild Manners are making the Ksubi artspace in Fortitude Valley their new home for 2013 and they’re kicking off proceedings with a group show (check it out here or here) and publication launch (care of Small House Books) tonight from 6pm. I’m in said publication and you can pick up a free copy at the show or if you keep your eye out, probably around town.

Koma Mag

Koma Mag-2

The reason for my inclusion is that I’m going to be having a solo show at the Ksubi artspace soon and so this is a nice little lead into that. I’ll be sure to put up full details of my show once it’s all ready to roll! Until then, Maybe I’ll see you tonight, maybe I’ll see you round town…

Holding Onto An Unknown World – Artist Book No.5

So I’ve been hinting through facebook and updating the site here over the past few days (check out the new Artist Book page in the top right corner)  about my latest creation/distraction – I’ve made another artist book!

This one was the most fun of the five I’ve made so far and the easiest (a good thing to finally be able to say). Creatively different from my previous books but also looking back over my shoulder a bit and giving a nod to two recurring themes that are now impossible for me to miss with my woodcuts.

This book is officially called a ‘Do-Si-Do’ book. I’m just calling it a double sided book because there’s a front book and a back book…

Artist Book 2013-3

The front is showcasing many of the portraits I’ve done over the last four plus years. I love doing portraits and they are still the hardest of all the subject matter I’ve tried my hand at. I hope to do hundreds more over the coming years.

Speaking of trying my hand… The second side is filled with woodcuts themed around hands. I still don’t know why I do woodcuts of hands so much but it is fascinating to me. This is how we physically touch the world we see and how we give and take so much of what’s around us. The hands are so many different things and I guess I’m exploring just some of what those things might be.

The book itself incorporates 27 woodcuts produced between 2008 and 2013. Entirely designed, compiled and hand-bound by me – I’ve decided to limit it to only 20 hand-numbered copies.

Artist Book 2013-1

Because I’m addicted to making things as special as I can, I’ve also carved out an exclusive woodcut that is in the back of the book. I have no plans to make this original print available elsewhere so I like to think it’s a pretty nice way to either introduce people to what I do or for those who already know – collect together some of my art that I’m really quite proud of.

The images that make up this book can be encapsulated in a quote I’ve paraphrased from elsewhere and adorned on the back cover of the book “The people you never quite know. They’re the places you wanted to go.”

Artist Book 2013-2

Most importantly, you can get your hands on this book two ways. You can go to my ETSY SHOP and buy it there and I’ll send it to you or if you go into the bookstore in the Gallery Of Modern Art at southbank, you can have a look through it and buy it there!

Thanks.

My Year In Woodcuts

This was 2012…

January

Draw

Draw

El Corazon

El Corazon

El Nopal

El Nopal

LVC

Lee Van Cleef

February

Eye_Block

Eye Spy

April

skateboard-1

skateboard-2

Sk8 Or Die (I Used To Skate Once 7)

May

guitar

Guitar Print Framed

Giant Sounds (Woodcuts from a guitar)

July

Thanatos-1

Thanatos Pt.1

Thanatos-2

Thanatos Pt.2

Thanatos-3

Thanatos Pt.3

Arrow

Salute #3

August

HumanWarhead_Print

Human Warhead

September

Tall Ship 2012 AP

Tall Ship (Mk.3)

October

Web_TP

A Spiders Home

November

SLW Test print

Do Something – Sol Le Witt

Music Box

Music Box

December

Currawong 2012

Currawong

Balancing Act

Balancing Act (detail)

WalkMeIntoOblivion(Gira AP)

Walk Me Into Oblivion ( A Tribute To Michael Gira)

And some of them even made it here: ETSY SHOP

…here’s to 2013!

It was a good year!

Too much working on art… not enough blogging about art. Oh well, thanks for keeping up with my periodical updates about what I’m up to.

Christmas time means more time spent at home which doesn’t equate to lying around relaxing. No it has meant more time to do more carving and printing of which I’ve been trying new things and resurrecting old favourites.

This is a close up of a piece I finished last week. I’d show you the whole print but I don’t want to do that just yet – some things need to be kept secret, at least for a little while. This print (which I’ve titled ‘Balancing Act’) was a large and challenging print for me at a metre squared. From trying to capture fine detail on Marine plywood to creating a mottled and vivid coloured background – which has turned into a series of monoprint styled inkings – what I planned to do and what I ended up doing has changed constantly. I wanted to add fine text to the print too, 3mm lettering to be exact. I tried my letterpress – didn’t work. I tried writing the text on – didn’t work. I tried alphabet stickers – didn’t work. Nothing gave me the effect I wanted. Then I remembered the ancient technology of Letraset.  No stationary stores had any anymore. The fellow at Officeworks said he’d not ever heard of the stuff. My outdated technology was proving elusive. Finally at a discount art supplies store I found several packets of what I was looking for. 10 hours and several sessions later and the print now had its text. So far it’s an edition of two, we’ll see if that number increases anytime in 2013.

Balancing Act

With the delays in the previous print, I spent a few days getting distracted with this one. When in doubt of what to do next… do another print of my Currawongs! Well, they’re not mine but they do come and sing and sit in the tree over the back deck every day and I’ve grown fond of their visits. Here are some that I have  previously done of them. It is a two block print (20 x 30cm) with the branch hand coloured in gouache. This one is not editioned as I pretty much did it for myself so it’s a one-off.

Currawong 2012

Back in 2011 I did some Mexican themed woodcuts. Recently the original print of the one below left me to go to a new home. Leaving me with the task of re-printing and painting some new prints. I made two and spent a good few hours again battling with the gouache to get the colours I wanted – mint green being a real bugger to nail down. Still I got it and am happy with how they’ve turned out!

El Corazon

And going way, way back. In 2009 I surprised even myself with my attempt at creating a realistic woodcut of two owls. I originally wanted it to be full colour and I even tried once with watercolours (my first attempt at hand-painting a woodcut) but I ruined the paper and it didn’t work out – and so the owls stayed black and white.  A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I decided I wanted to try to have a seconds shot at the owls. Now armed with a much better knowledge of paper, gouache and printing techniques, it was a lot less ominous a task and with a four-hour painting session one morning – I completed my two owls just as I had originally intended. Somehow though I think this print is still not finished… only time will tell on that one though.

Owls

So that’s how I’ve ended my year. Apart from two small group shows it has been me and my carving tools at the kitchen table. I do think that I now almost have enough to have a solo art show in 2013. Putting on art shows is way harder than making art if you ask me so it still could be months away. I’ll start the wheels in motion though for something in at least Brisbane and Melbourne.

Also, if you’re like me and don’t check the blogs as reguarly as you’d like, you will also find photos, updates and snippets of what I’m doing on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/againstthewoodgrain is where I hide so if you like anything here, you can go like it there as well.

Thanks to everyone who has bought, looked at or gave me feedback on my woodcuts over the last year.

All Over Bar The Shooting

Well last Friday and Saturday, myself and six of my friends set ourselves up in a DIY warehouse space, usually home for underground gigs and band rehearsals. We hung our works around the room, set up a projector at one end of the room to play our favourite westerns and spent the night hanging out with all our friends both old and brand new.

Above are the woodcuts I had on display. I side-stepped the often expensive job of framing all my works with the help of some foamcore, bull-dog clips and a few bits of balsawood – setting up what I think was an aesthetically please display.

I have to send out a big lot of thanks, not only to the wonderful folks who came and bought my prints but all those who braved the unwelcome inclement weather over the two days of the show.

As far as I’m concerned, it was the most fun I’ve ever had at an art show and the Spaghetti Western theme played a big part of it! When was the last time you got to sit in a gallery, surrounded by some awesome art, having a drink and watching ‘A Few Dollars More’?

Here are all the works I contributed. They will appear online for sale HERE in the next day or so. Make sure you check back in.

Title: Lee Van Cleef  (2012)

Colour Woodcut on Kozo paper

45cm x 18cm

Edition of 10

Title: Two Horses Too Many (2011)

Woodcut & Gouache on Rives Etching Paper

36 x 15cm

Edition of 5

Title: Draw (2011)

Colour Woodcut on Kozo paper

36 x 15cm
Edition of 10

Title: El Corazon (2012)

Woodcut & Gouache on Rives Etching Paper

20.5 x 29cm

Open Edition

Title: El Nopal (2012)

Woodcut & Gouache on Rives Etching Paper

20.5 x 29cm

Open Edition

Title: Who Are You?

Woodcut & Gouache on Rives Etching Paper

29,5 x 13cm

Edition of 5

Title: Sugar Skull (2011)

Colour Woodcut on Kozo paper

20 x 35cm

Edition of 3

Title: Make Something (2011)

Colour Woodcut on Kozo paper

29cm x 29cm

Edition of 10

Title: El Mariachi (2011)

Woodcut (Test Print) on Butcher’s Paper

32 x 39.5cm

Test Pressing

I’ve Made (Another) Book!

Well everything art-wise for the last two months has been all about the group show I’m a part of in a few weeks time (see posts below). I’m currently half way through my last woodcut for the show and what better time but to create a great big distraction. One in the form of another handmade book so I can show off some of the work I did last year.

I would almost say that this is becoming an annual thing for me, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re only three weeks into 2012. In 2009 I made my first hand-bound artist book. I only made 5 copies of it though. In 2010 I made a much smaller sized one and there ended up being 31 copies over two editions of that made (with nine copies still somewhere amongst my books and records). In the middle of last year I made a deluxe book but seeing as it took ages to put together and wasn’t cheap to make, I only made seven copies, I couldn’t work out what I should do with them so I ended up giving them away to people who had bought some of my artworks.

I love making artist books, they are not only challenging to plan, construct and make but it’s nice to look back over what you’ve done recently and it does give you a sense of accomplishment. I always try to do something different each time with the bookbinding side of things and the one I’ve made this time could almost be considered a back to basics artist book. It’s a 16 page double-sided concertina layout with full colour reproductions of some of my favourite woodcuts that I made last year (well Dec 2010 to Jan 2012 to be precise). Also included in the book is an original hand-coloured woodcut that I’ve done exclusively to go with this book.

The original plan was to make a book that I could have to sell at the Wasted Dream art show in February but as everything came together last week I (again) didn’t know how many copies to make. So this time around I’m trying something a little different. Rather than making something and hoping others are interested (because I’ve already got my copy to keep so I’m happy) – I’m going to only make copies of the book for people who really do want one or for folks who are interested in the art I make but maybe don’t want to spend lots of money on a big print.

So I’ve set up a page where you can go and look at the book a bit closer and buy it through paypal. It’s $35.00 (Aus) and there are postage or pick up options available. Here’s the catch though… The book will be available to purchase for one month (24th Jan – 23rd Feb). After that I won’t be making any more. I’ll make the books over the next few weeks and at the end I will edition them accordingly and either post them out or (if you’re in Brisbane) bring them to the Wasted Dream art show. That means that there might only be three books made or maybe 30? I don’t know yet but this way no one misses out and I get to move onto more woodcuts (insert a short attention span).

Wasted Dream II:The Showdown 24th & 25th February 2012

Above is my flyer for a group exhibition I’m going to be a part of next month. I’ll be distributing these flyers around Brisbane over the coming week. For me it’s more than just a group art show it’s a chance to exhibit my art with some of my best friends and other friends whom I admire a lot. This is the second of these DIY art shows that my friend Mikel has put together and this time we’ve added an extra dose of Spaghetti Western to the mix.

We’ve made a facebook event page. Go HERE for all the details.

I’m planning on having either nine or ten new works in the show. Eight of them are finished. Two are half done at the time of writing this. A few images of prints are already out and about or elsewhere on this blog. Sometimes for me the actual woodblocks are very different to the finished prints.

This one is my update on the theme of Mexican bingo cards (of which E has a whole set). This block looks nothing like the finished print that I have completely hand coloured with Gouache.

…and then there’s this block. If you’ve seen ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ then this should be familiar to you. Still after a few goes at different versions of the print, I’m still yet to get anything that looks nearly as attractive as the woodblock itself. Luckily I still have a month to rectify this situation!

In other news, I’ve made another artist book and I think it looks pretty great. Make sure you check back in next week because I’ll post up all the details about it and how you can get yourself a copy. As with most things I do, I’m not a big edition kind of guy so I will only be making a limited number of books – I do hand make all of them myself and there’s only so many hours in the night. I do however have a plan this time so that no one misses out.

Lastly, I’ve still got a long list of art-related things I want to do and finish off but I think I’ll be taking the weekend off from art. The one photo I’m not going to post up is my swollen left wrist. An unfortunate side effect to too much carving over the last week or so. Stupid human body slowing me down.

Cheers,
Alex.

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