Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Another Move

Can't keep a good print down.  Back in the last century, I submitted two works to an exhibition with a theme of preserving the environment, inspired by a recent policy of our then governor.  The gallery (the now defunct Printmaking Council of New Jersey) liked both, even selecting the color one for an advertisement they were offered in a magazine, until the magazine banned the piece from the magazine, fearing it might offend some of its advertisers.  (the first time, but not the last time, one of my artworks was banned for fear it might offend someone)  The black and white one made the show, and was even featured on the cover of an exhibition program.

This piece has appeared in many other shows since then, more than I can remember off hand.  I think that's because it seems to have some political content, but does not pick a side, so it leaves it to the viewer to decide what the point of view is, which inevitably is the one the viewer who likes it has.  I just showed some facts- as people move into locations that had previously been home to wildlife, those previous residents are displaced.  Are you sad because the poor defenseless peaceful woods creatures are losing their forest home, or glad that the disease infested and sometimes destructive creatures are being driven out of the places they had lived and replaced with houses?  Either way, this piece is for you.  Unfortunately, another force of nature, Hurricane Sandy, destroyed the wood block the piece is carved on, leaving me with just one remaining copy, which is in a frame.  That framed copy keeps showing up in exhibitions, such as a few years ago in Ocean Grove, and in Spring Lake, and this past fall in Belmar, 20 years after I originally created the piece.

That leads me to this moment. In that last show a lot of people appreciated the piece (it's a nice design, a good use of positive and negative space, makes people think- all part of a successful print) and a few inquired about purchasing it.  With just one copy in existence, I don't want to sell it, at least not for a price that people want to pay.  So I turned to another option, make another print.  So last fall, I decided what size it would be, cut a piece of wood to the proper size, and set it aside. Had to get through school, another print, my Christmas card, etc, but now those things are done. Time to get to some new art (sort of), especially since there is a promised sale here.

Since I have a successful design to copy from, not much work in creating it. I'm copying it from the completed print, so the carved block will end up being reversed from the original.  This is something I often do anyway to make the new version a little more unique, and I checked with my committed customer first and she was okay with the mirror reversal.  Also checked the image of the print in a mirror first, and decided it would work fine in this direction.

Haven't seen Molly since before Christmas (her card is waiting for her when she gets around to showing up), so I could play whatever I wanted in the Studio today.  Overall theme today was my friend Doug, who has excellent taste in music and a long history of sharing what he likes with me, so his involvement in this selection covers a lot of years.  There was White Blood Cells from the White Stripes (before they had any hits or anyone had heard of them), Locked Down from Dr John (had never been a big fan of Dr. John and his extreme theatricality, a common aspect of music in his New Orleans home, but Doug vouched for this and turned out to be right), and Street Songs of Love from Alejandro Escovedo, a disc that he had burned for me, and while I later bought my own copy, that first one is still in my Studio.  All good music to make art by.

Started by making a large grid for a grid transfer, then started working on a pencil drawing.  Just roughed in for today, but the basic shapes are there.  Next time I'll refine the drawings of all these elements, copied from a photo of the original print, and get the final block drawing.  Then just cut all that out, but I know this design will work.


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