Artist Philip Hartigan talks about art, interviews other artists, and more
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I've taught a lot of classes in the past two years showing people how to make different kinds of artist's books. Two of my own small handmade books recently made their way into the Joan Flasch Collection at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. For me, this all started in 2010-2011, when I embarked on an extensive project: a 100 page accordion book of lithographic prints, each page printed in up to 5 colours.
Closed and stacked, the book measured 6 x 5 x 4 inches:
Extended to its full length, it was about fifty feet long:
To store it securely, I made a clamshell box for it:
And so it sits on a shelf in my studio, occasionally unwrapped to show to visitors, waiting for the time when it can be added to another collection. It's still the best artist's book I've made.
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…
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…
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!