Posts Tagged ‘ Woodcut ’

Never Let An Idea Get Away

img_20161221_200954

Last year I was commissioned to illustrate and design album artwork for a band. It was a fun project that thankfully wasn’t too stressful (meeting other peoples expectations is always different to meeting your own). But like just about any project that requires consultation, there were several ideas in the running but only one used in the end.

What we have here was one of the ideas that didn’t communicate exactly what was needed for the project but still a few months after things were wrapped up, kept coming back to me as something I should invest some time into.

dsc_2908

The piece is titled ‘I Have Seen Death’. It is number two in what could be an ongoing series – we’ll have to wait and see. If it’s not totally obvious yet, the woodcut is of a distressed and mummified face.  I was conscious that I didn’t want this to look like some Converge ‘Jane Doe’ type rip off so getting the right level of detail was really important. Basically this meant that the block was going to have to be large to get the desired effect.

dsc_3056

About two months of carving on and off and I finally finished it off.

dsc_3390

The first test print off the block…

dsc_3064

…and the final proof below.

I am really happy with this, it’s one of those prints that allows you to get up real close and see the totally abstract-like cuts that have gone into the print only to then stand back and take it all in as a whole. Fun! …creepy! …but fun.

The edition is of 10 in total and I have, for the first time, made this print available online. There is only two prints available online so far. Go check it out here…

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

_20161107_180655

Advertisements

Inspiration & Necessity – Woodcuts & Tattoos

_20170124_124100

 

Sometimes woodcuts come about due to the desire to make art from what you see in the world or a memory that’s floating around your head. Sometimes though they have a more specific purpose. For me they have long been intertwined with my love and obsession with tattoos. In fact many a woodcut I have created has been a way to get an image out of my head and keep it off my skin by making it into a print. Sometimes however then in fact just help clarify how much I want them as tattoos.

A few prints come to mind with this scenario. The print above exists on paper and exists on my left arm. A design created to cover-up laser treatment done on a decades old tattoo. That was the final design and below is the initial design that was almost used but didn’t end up fitting the space well enough…

 

wolf

 

So from all this we ended up with the following result.

 

fresh-tattoo

 

One tattoo and two beautiful woodcut prints that I have printed up and are now also available for purchase.

Going back a bit, for years I had an illustration that I loved. The original was from medieval times and I had tossed up for a long time if I should get it as a tattoo. In the end back in 2014 I thought it best to make it into a woodcut and get it out of my system…

 

_20170124_125031

 

But as it turns out that still didn’t stop me and in January 2016 I found myself under the needle again…

 

dsc_2245

 

…and so the tattoos influencing woodcuts influencing tattoos pendulum continues to swing. I love tattoo flash and I love the print related art I make. I don’t ever want to tattoo someone else but I do want to keep carving making the print related art I love. And hopefully turning more ideas into images – cause I only have so much skin to work with!

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

Into The Light

 

There’s really a hundred different ways I could title this post. Today it will be this though. You might be noticing a patten here. A flurry of blog posts then nothing for months. Another flurry and then nothing and so on. Sorry, that’s just how it is really. Time to tell others is something I’m not good at factoring into my to-do list.

This is something I’ve been working on for almost a year now. In fact when I started it last November, I didn’t even know I was creating a series of interlinked woodcut prints. Sometimes the story evolves and writes itself as you go along. It was an unexpected conversation with a gentleman named John Dyer Baizley in February that not only gave this series focus but in no small part completely upended the way I have created my prints this year. It’s funny how a few well times words can ripple and grow inside your head until they change the way you look and approach everything you make. To me, I have John to thank for the prints below…
Pt.1
This first print was initially titled ‘When Lessons Go Unlearned’. It was a lamentation on the way I have in the past treated (or mistreated) my bones and my physical body. Let’s just say that as a kid, I often found out things the hard way and got to know the emergency ward of the Penrith Hospital pretty well.
Pt.1-2
From there I started to consider some of the ‘near misses’ I have had throughout my life. A cat has nine lives, or so the story goes. If that’s the case then I most certainly do not have all nine left to toy with.
Pt.2

These are shots of the test prints as they have come off the blocks. Each print is an exploration of my memories and thoughts of an exact moment in time. I won’t explain them here, maybe I’ll make an artist book some day soon and include the gory details there…
Pt.3
pt4

Pt.4
Pt.5
This is half of the last chapter in the series. This is the block I finished and printed a few hours ago. There is also a red block to go with this black block. That will be next up on the to-do list.

block
print

Plans are afoot to properly exhibit the whole series in December. More details of that when I have them though. That’s me for now. There will be more to share when I next have the time.

Black Birds Banksia

After my exhibition in Melbourne in May which due to the organising and such meant I didn’t carve any new work for a couple of months, I was finally able to turn my time towards some very important projects. The one at the top of the list was a commission piece for a fellow who had a very specific idea in mind.

What was requested was an exact species of (Yellow Tailed) Black Cockatoo and Banksia tree that grows in Tasmania – the place where this fellow grew up. Given that I had dabbled with (North QLD) Palm Cockatoo a while back I knew I could probably do a pretty good job with it’s Tasmanian cousin.

Banksia

This is a shot from my printing table as the first print came off the block. The fellow who commissioned the print was super happy with how it turned out and there was even talk of what his exclusive print might look like as a tattoo.

This was a hard image to carve with not only each Banksia leaf having to be carved out but a lot of detail. There’s always added pressure when you’re creating an image to somone’s specific request but I was also really happy with how this project turned out.

To The North

A few years ago, I drafted a tour poster for my friends in To The North. Outside forces and circumstance meant that the print was never used ans as such was filed away.

Fast forward almost four years and To The North’s vocalist Cam (and total legend of a dude) asked if the print was still there to use. Of course it was and so a bunch of shirts were printed up.

ToTheNorth

I can’t guarantee that there are still any of these left seeing as they seem to have been quite popular. I’m real happy though that they got to use this.

I Used To Skate Once 10 (2014)

IUTSO10

In June I was part of the 10th year of The Outpost’s I Used To Skate Once exhibition. This was my contribution to that show. I was asked a few times if the words on the deck were laser-cut. No, they were all hand carved by me. Still I took the question as a compliment.

IUTSO2014

If you look for any kind of meaning in my (carved) thoughts, it’s that you can’t always take life to seriously… remember to go outside and play, enjoy and have some fun.

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

.

This Weeks Carve

In a pleasant turn of events I have had a few days off work this week so I put myself to (a better form of) work. Keeping it small and manageable I  fleshed out a multiple block image I had in mind.

This print ended up having three blocks with a variety of monochrome colours. The blocks were carved using a 4.5mm U gouge and a scalpel. At various points while carving out the skull and the mans mouth and eyes I needed to get my magnifying glass to make sure I got my lines right.  Still I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Three days satisfying work.Image

The as yet untitled print does need some tweaking with the variations of colours. I might make the man lighter and more shadow-like and the skull darker and mix in some warmer tones when inking next. The print size is 17.5cm x 24.5cm.

Image

How Memories Are Made – Now Open

If you follow this blog at all then you will be well aware that everything for me over the last few months have led to my current exhibition that opened last night. Well It was a really great night with so many friends and new faces coming by and having a look at what I’ve been up to for the last few years. Once all the prints were on the wall, I was as amazed as anyone at this collection of work. I hadn’t realised I had done so many colour prints. So much for a narrative though, I guess I’m the narrative and this is how varied my life is at times…

Exhibition prints

Exhibition prints detail

Exhibition prints detail-2

…and on the opposing wall was the show’s centerpiece. The Fender telecaster that became a woodblock and then returned to being a guitar. It was fun last night to see people walk up and strum the stings only to them seem genuinely surprised when it made a sound. Exhibition-2

For me the music I make and the art I make are one and the same creative past-time.  So it was good to show off some of where my prints have gone.

Exhibition

Exhibition-3

As per usual though, I took these shots at the start of the night before anyone showed up and the forgot to take any photos as the night got underway. The artshow is up for the next few weeks and is open every day so if you are down in Fortitude Valley you should stop on by.

k.O.M.A. Project Gallery
Upstairs at Ksubi
Shop 2/30 James St,
Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

A few people have asked about some of the limited Artist Books and records I made to coincide with the show. These are not in the gallery but are now available online here…

A SAVAGE GOD 10INCH VINYL

HOW MEMORIES ARE MADE LIMITED ARTIST BOOK

…and in the lead up to last night i even spent a few minutes having a chat on local radio 4BC about the show. You can go have a listen to that HERE

A big thanks to Matt at Mild Manners for helping put it together!

Wasted Dream III

Wasted Dream III

Yep. So this is coming up in a few weeks time and it is just the first of several exciting announcements and events that I have coming up over the next few months – I’m going to be all over the place and loving it.

This time around for the third installment of the show we have moved out of the DIY music venue and into the DIY art space. The Box Gallery is nestled in the heart of West End (http://theboxwestend.com), we’re definitly coming up in the world. I will have three new works on show which will be nestled in amongst a whole heap of great made by my friends.

If you want to have a sticky-beak at some of the works that are being made then you should head over to http://wasteddreambrisbane.blogspot.com.au or better still, go join the facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/121084578073428/ and share/invite your friends to come along too!