Skip to main content

Seeing an old work in someone's house

I was at a party on Saturday night when I was introduced to someone who I met once, maybe ten years ago. It turns out that this chap bought one of my prints on that occasion -- a fairly big linocut -- and this was the first time we had seen each other since then. He's a writer, and came back into our orbit through my writer-wife Patty. Still a hell of a coincidence, though, and a nice one.

This is a picture of the print hanging on the wall of his writing room:


It's at least 24" x 18", maybe slightly bigger, and it's based on the Ray Bradbury story "The Illustrated Man." It's a fantasy-type story that takes place in a circus, about a giant tattooed man who ultimately gets murdered (or commits a murder, I can't recall which) by one of the story-like tattoos on his body. My version has the illustrated man standing in a circus tent under a spotlight, with other freak-show members of the circus standing around him, and the love of his life turning away and covering her face in grief. For his body, I drew and carved as many of the tattoo-stories as I could fit: dragons and snakes on his chest and sides, a rocket ship on his left calf, a dinosaur on his left thigh, the devil's face on his left arm, flora everywhere, and, on his belly, an image of him strangling his girlfriend. At the time I was making this, I cut a much bigger piece (six feet high), but this was and remains the most complex linocut I ever did. Now that I see it again, I think a) it's pretty good, and b) I've been in Chicago for a long time!

Thanks to Mr. B. for making me think of this print again.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A List of Every Drink in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"

I first read Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" when I was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it. For the last couple of years, I have had the incredible privilege of teaching a class based around Hemingway in Paris -- while living and teaching in Paris itself, close to the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where most of the action of the novel's first half takes place.

Of the many things that one notices about the book, the colossal amount of drinking is something that stands out. These people didn't just drink like fish: they drank like whales, as if the ocean they swam in was alcohol and they had set themselves the task of drinking the seas of the world dry of it. During my read-through of the book before class started last year, I tried to underline every mention of drink in the book. And now, purely in the interests of science, I am listing the entire menu of booze mentioned directly by name. Some preliminary observations:
Most of this is…

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.


A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Open Studio Report

Last week I wrote about an imminent open studio night in my studio building. I can report that it went well, with the highest sales for me in several years. In fact, two of the pieces I illustrated in that last post were among the ones that went to new homes.

I think part of why things went well (apart from the quality of the work, I hope) is the extra effort I made to make the studio presentable. This included framing a selection of prints:


And placing a bunch of beautiful white tulips in a central position:


The flowers have since died, alas. But my art lives on!