Posts Tagged ‘ art ’

Skyscraper National Park

Ok, so the past few months of artwork made has been accumulating so I have decided to make another artist book to collect everything together. I have made only one copy so far. 46 Pages, 22 Scratchboard Etchings. I am planning on making an edition of 20 copies over the next month.

Book 1

I have decided to set up a pre-order over on my etsy page while I go about making the books.

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/AlexGilliesWoodcuts

The reason for this is that I have two versions of the book available. One being just the book and the other being the book and an original artwork that I make especially for you. All you need to do is tell me the subject matter that you would like and leave the rest to me. A few weeks later, once completed, I will post it all off to you.

Book 3

Book 6

There is more photos and video over on the Against The Woodgrain instagram page. Now to get with the sorting, cutting and binding of it all. The fun part…

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It’s All In Black ‘n’ White

Snake_Etsy

So a while back I posted about how I had recently found the etching/drawing medium of scratchboard – mainly to supplement my inability to make woodcuts easily while I live in New York away from my home & studio back in Australia.

Well not much has changed geographically but I feel like taking the time to update here, my initial impetus, to say that drawing on scratchboards has dramatically changed my artistic desires and inclinations – not only my composition skills and speed of which I work. Thankfully there is no monetary motives to me creating, so I do exactly what I feel like unhindered. But like any new path you find yourself on you end up exploring the possibilities, testing yourself and as always trying to find the best way to get that thought, that idea, that (barely in focus) picture in your head out and onto the page.
Molis

Eagle

I have said it before but I can’t draw (in the traditional sense). I have had no schooling in making art and put a blank white page in front of me and all you will get in return is my paralysis. While I do pull most of my inspiration from the modernism of early 20th century European art (Futurism, Dada, Bauhaus, and in particular Der Blaue Reiter and German Expressionism) it is not what I feel compelled to try to make. There is a certain realism that I am drawn to when I create that stands in contrast to my inspirations. It is as if, no matter how strange or beautiful or disturbing something of mine is – it could equally exist in the real world – as if it was a photo as much as any other document.

Woodcuts have for a long while given me an “in” to creating but of late I have started to consider the how and why of it. Scratchboards in particular have gotten me thinking. I don’t actually have the answers to the amorphous how and why but this much I have worked out.
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SNP_etsy

I draw/carve/scratch/print because it gives me a positive feeling of worth. There should be nothing surprising in that though.

I often draw the thoughts I don’t have another outlet for, be it verbal or otherwise. Sometimes I simply draw the things I want to think about but don’t want to talk about. Even the time spent creating gives me the space to better understand what I am trying to clarify in my own head. And….   sometimes it’s just a picture, nothing more.

I find the ability to erase, modify, update or reset, detrimental to saying what I want to say. I question and second guess just about everything I do so working in mediums where the cut can’t be undone, the area removed can’t be replaced means that moving ahead is the only course of action. I trust my first impressions and there is a strange honesty in one’s ability and intent when your first attempt is your only attempt.
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There is something inherently foreign to me in the way a painter or illustrator add to an image (each line, each layer building upon the last). I have always been drawn to the idea of taking away. Stripping back until you find that perfect spot where you can illicit the maximum reaction/emotion/dialogue with the minimum amount of information – equal to a sculptor I suppose.

I love going black to white. Finding the negative space, coming to something almost in reverse. It’s like slowly turning up a light until you are finished and the room is illuminated for the first time.

With magnifying glass in hand, of late I have relished the smallest of detail. Creating lines and shapes, so very deliberate but just about impossible to see when standing back and looking with the naked eye. In the way you look at pop art or even billboard sized posters – finding that the image is just a collection of separate dots arranged just so as to fool your brain into identifying it as the content and not the physicality of the actual item.
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Now none of this was really the reason why I sat down to do this post. I figured I would just give an update on what I have been drawing of late. But as with such things, the above is what I think about while I work away. The above is me watching me work and wondering what the hell I am doing and why I am doing it instead of going outside or spending time with my friends. The above is what came to me as soon as I started writing.

Why I creative things has always been as interesting to me as the actual creative practice itself. I blame all that philosophy I studied at university…

Ps: my instagram account @againstthewoodgrain is where I put up most of my scratchboard, prints and other creations. Usually about five minutes after I have finished if it has all worked and I am so chuffed I want to show everyone.

Pps: if you are not already aware, my online store on the Etsy website (search: alexgillieswoodcuts) is where I sell my prints and my scratchboard originals.
Scratchboard#8

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).