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

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…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

On looking through old sketchbooks: 18

"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence." -- Henri Matisse.

Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader