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Showing posts from May, 2013

Last blog post for a while

It's great that Google Plus now links comments back and forth between blogger and G+, but I have decided that for the month of June I am going to use G+ as my blog, to see how it changes things (or not) in terms of feedback and reader engagement. There are things that G+ doesn't have yet that blogger does (templates, more choice for customization, adding widgets and links, alternating text and photos, tabs), but it also has live video feeds (Hangouts) that I want to explore more. So if you read this blog, and you have a G+ profile set up, I ask you to follow me there for a month to help me explore the possibilities. In the meantime, here is a box that I painted black in my studio: And now here is the box after covering it with paper-litho transfers of maps from where I grew up: Ultimately this will appear in the stop-motion video as a huge factory building, with pipes and chutes coming out if it.

Well, that went well

So I overprinted some of the lithographs derived from images of machines and buildings from the place where I grew up, onto the surface of the cardboard buildings that I painted in black yesterday. I've got to say, they came out even better than I had hoped. With the larger one, I decided to leave some gaps to make the effect more striking. When this technique works, there's nothing quite like it.

Preparing more machinery

So it's Memorial Day weekend in america, the traditional start to the summer season, and I am in my studio making buildings and machinery out of cardboard. I found some excellent boxes, which I covered in a thick layer of black paint to obscure their target/Amazon origins: I plan to overprint these in the lithographs, but using white ink only, to get a white on black background effect. Meanwhile, I'm coming to the end point for printing onto the boxes and stuff that were primed in white gesso. Here is a table laden with the haul from the last couple of studio visits: One of the fun things was printing onto the cardboard tubes (which will be chimneys in the finished pieces). My method was to ink up the paper-litho transfer, roll the tube up in it, wrap it in a few layers of tissue paper, and transfer the inked image using a bone folder: My current schedule is to finish all the props and sets by the third week of June, and then start the stop-motion a

Tapies at the MCA Chicago

Tapies at the MCA Chicago , a set on Flickr. I went to the Chicago MCA last Friday for a press preview of the new show by Theaster Gates. After I'd finished there, I walked into the galleries devoted to the show Destroy the Picture, and a heavily textured, brooding painting caught my eye. Was it a painting by Antoni Tapies? Yes it was, and it was accompanied by four others, all of them from the late 1950s, when he was in the first headlong charge of his career (when his work, in other words, was at its peak.) I haven't seen this many paintings by the Catalan master since I lived in Barcelona, over 18 years ago. So I sat on the bench in the gallery, and lost myself for a while in the dense surfaces of these strange pieces of art. Before I moved to Barcelona, I had only vaguely heard of Tapies, but once there it was difficult to avoid him. He is revered in Barcelona because of his opposition to the fascist regime of General Franco, and for his support of Catalan nationa

Journal and Sketchbook Class, Final Projects

Marlo Koch, handmade marionettes Yesterday was the final day of the Journal and Sketchbook class for the spring semester, taught by me and Patty in the Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing department. Last week and this week, the students presented their final projects: reading aloud 4 pages from their final written movement, and showing and talking about a visual project that speaks to the writing in some way. The students in this class ranged from people early in their college careers, to about-to-be-graduates; people from different majors within the college; and people with widely different skill levels in terms of art and also writing. Patty and I agree that the writing was very strong, and that the quality of all the visual pieces was equally high, and invariably took us by surprise in a positive way. There was lots of 2D work, comprising a variety of media, multiple panels, using text and image. There was a painting on a scroll. There was a canvas that had bits of mirr


A few weeks ago, I was considering breaking this big piece up into smaller units. But now I have decided actually to make it much bigger, by adding the cigar box prints that were left lying around during the last 10 years.  If I am never going to sell this piece, I might as well make it the most impressively unsellable thing that I have ever made.

Journal and Sketchbook Class, Columbia College Chicago, 2013 final days

Below is a slide show of pictures that I took in the Journal and Sketchbook class last week. The students are from Columbia College Chicago, and they include people majoring in fiction writing, art & media management, and art & design. Some of them have next to no art training, and some have quite a lot. All of them showed that in the last 14 weeks, their consideration of text and image close together in their sketch-journals has led to new ways to see their writing (mainly, as this is a writing class) and also their visual work. Thank you to the students who made this class a pleasure: Victoria Ross, Amy Crumbaugh, Lauren de Groot, Danielle Dissette, Aiden Weber, Alex Holly, Marlo Koch, Ashton Ball, John Davis, and Liz Major.

Six of the Best, Part 27

Interviewee number 27 in this series is painter Nancy Charak , who is one of my studio mates in the Cornelia Arts Building, Chicago, to which I moved two months ago.  (Previous interviews:  1 ,  2 ,  3 ,  4 ,  5 ,  6 ,  7 ,  8 ,  9 ,  10 ,  11 ,  12 ,   13 ,   14 ,  15 ,  16 ,  17 ,  18 ,  19 ,  20 ,  21 ,  22 ,  23 ,  24 ,  25 , 26 ).  Her work caught my eye because of its force and expressiveness. If you live in Chicago, you can see her work at an upcoming open studio -- after which she is moving out to the western United States. Last chance, Chicagoans! "Orpheus & Eurydice_12," 8" x 8", watercolor on clayboard Philip Hartigan : What medium/media do you chiefly use, and why? Nancy Charak : For the last three years mostly watercolor on paper and on birchwood panels. I have worked in oils and acrylics on paper, panel and canvas and enjoyed the work I produced. But watercolor is my natural medium of late. I prefer to work on paper or panel, and I work