With this woodblock print I am now officially finished with the first phase of my series: The Disasters. This, of course, is the wind aspect of the series and was very difficult to finish as I was carving out of red oak, an extremely hard wood. I learned quite a bit in the process and broke a few tools as well. You can not work red oak like birch or pine, it's fibers are interwoven and course, however I needed to see if it was worth the surface texture. To my satisfaction it was indeed worth the time, effort and pain. Trying to capture something as dynamic, fleeting and without heft as the wind on a solid surface is one of the hardest tasks I've ever attempted. The next phase of both The Disasters and The Four will have me challenge either lithography and silkscreen or cast relief and stencil. After all the reproducible media are complete I will begin tackling the one off forms.
This etching with aquatint print is titled: "He stole through the night" and it constitutes the Thief aspect from the series Heroes/Villains. The images from this project will also be used to create a narrative that will string together tell a mythological like story which I intend to write out and make a finished work in book form. I will study the book arts to learn typography and binding so that I can make an edition of fine art books.
I was tasked to create a kite for an exhibition celebrating the artist made craft. I chose to make a dual image object honoring our space pioneers in which the top side is titled: "Thank you Icarus for daring to fly. . ." and the bottom side is titled: "Damn you Icarus for teaching us to dream. . ." I constructed the frame from wood and twine and used hot glue in lieu of wax to bind it all. The top image is acrylic and conte on canvas and the underside is acrylic with attached goose feathers. The mast has stenciled in the mission flight numbers for the space shuttles Columbia and Challenger, with seven feathers per flight lost for the astronauts who lost their lives in those tragedies. It saddens me so much that the space age has come to an end. All our technology that we take for granted, from communication, entertainment, transportation, medical and safety all owe their existence to NASA. The population as a whole has seem to forgotten that in their zeal to acquire more, faster and cheaper. Hubble alone has given us unimaginable insight into the fabric of existence and the nature of the universe. The end of the Shuttle program with no replacement in sight marks the first time in our species history in which our frontier is contracting and not expanding. This marks a possible regression into a dark age. I pray that I am wrong.
This image is an etching from War aspect of the print series "The Four." It is titled so because a child born into a world of violence is prone to violence. Hatred begets hatred in a vicious and everlasting cycle that seemed unbreakable. The trauma of a violent upbringing will create war mongers, political fanatics, and those who take advantage and profiteer from upheaval; including but not limited to those who control food, energy, and the flow of capital as well as media outlets, unchecked governments and religious institutions. It is absolutely irrational and borderline psychotic for people of different ethnicities, cultures, creeds and political ideologies to despise each other for what amounts misunderstanding and miscommunication. There will never be peace on this earth until we strive as a species united to break the cycle of violence.
This woodblock print constitutes the disease aspect from the print series The Four. Throughout human history, individuals with what we now know are severe psychological, neurological and physiologically degenerative conditions, have been relegated to the fringes of society and shunned as either demonic, corrupted or possessed and nothing but a bane and burden on society. It is such a remarkably troubling thing that these sentiments still run rampant and most people ignore the millions who suffer from a variety of ailments. Only with a massive public awarness campaign and heavily supported medical research can we even begin to allieviate those who go through an entire life truly tortured and in pain. We must never take the fraility of our species for granted.
The standing pose is one of the most difficult for a model to execute as it is incredibly taxing on the body. Only a stable pose such as this can be taken on for prolonged periods. In the past, models were many times tied into convoluted stances and poses with ropes and left for hours on end. Suffice to say that photography has eliminated that essentially barbaric practice. Dalawn's physique is perfect for this type of pose, which is heroic and statuesque.
This etching with aquatint print is part of the famine aspect in the series "The Four." While the vast majority of civilization's existence is filled with the suffering of the poor; a post industrial, post modern world has no reason to have even one hungry person. The gap between those lowest and highest in the economic spectrum is greater than at any point in human history. This is further exacerbated by the burden on the middle class which is forced to support both ends because of deception and greed of the rich. In the process those who are in the moral position to alleviate the pain on the poor are relegated to ignoring and avoiding them. I accuse myself as well of this hypocracy.
The use of reflective surfaces in still life, interior space, figure and portrait work allow the artist to tackle the object from multiple points of view simultaneously. It is a good method to understand the relationships in space and how light interacts with that void. Mirrors create interesting compositional elements and can give a seemingly mundane study an intriguing narrative. This charcoal study has given me insight for a future piece that I will call "Janet's Nemesis."
This image is an etching from the disease aspect of the series The Four. While doctors take an oath to do no harm, they are inevitably corrupted by the constraints of capitalism that dictate medical care. As an individual patient, one does not exist nor have a personal nor profound purpose, but simply acts as a vessel for data to be harvested from. Physicians have the deepest desire to heal, but their spirits are broken and thus they lose their humanity. Ultimately the patient pays the price, especially those without adequate financial resources to accommodate the care they truly require.
These two portrait studies are of the same model using different medium and technique. The ink on bristol was drawn while situated under the model looking upward. It created a strange angle that distorts the face and elongates the lower half of the face. The charcoal study was drawn opposite handed which I am increasingly getting accustomed and finding interesting results with each study.
There is a very unique feel to using scratchboard, and the results of white line on black background force the artist to think of form and negative space without color in mind, almost like a value study in reverse. There are many effects that can be done using a variety of scratching tools and further use of paint or stain can bring the finished piece to vibrant conclusion.
I am right -handed and this portrait study of Anna was drawn entirely left-handed. It is extremely difficult to draw opposite handed and also a very awkward experience as if though you are not in control of your limb. However, learning to work opposite handed is a valuable ability as it allows you to approach things from multiple ways. Leonardo DaVinci could draw profficiently with both hands and it is theorized that having that ability allowed him to access both hemispheres of his brain simultaneously, thus explaining his ingenuity and innovation.
It is very difficult to work from dark to light. For this study, I wanted to see if I could apply color on black paper to create all the warmth and light on the figure without having to worry about the dark values. The difficulty with drawing though, is that you are limited in the value range you can achieve and can easily over saturate certain colors making them too intense. Notice the eyes, once light is added it becomes difficult to darken them again. Especially in this medium, as colored pencils do not leave much room for correction. This is an important excersise that all artists must attempt as it helps understanding values and temperature when you are working in reverse. Caravaggio was the master at bringing lights our from a dark background, and his work pops off the canvas.