I just realized I don't have any pics of my assemblage pieces posted on the website. I will have to fix that...
So I decided to make a short video of at least part of the printing process. I am printing the very last of the edition of "Magritte's Librarian," a linocut assemblage piece. What you see are pieces that will later be assembled like a diorama.
I just realized I don't have any pics of my assemblage pieces posted on the website. I will have to fix that...
Contrary to what it might appear, I am still alive, still thriving. I spent the first few months of 2014 suffering from this bug or that ailment. Even landing in the hospital for a few days the last part of March. My creativity and productivity has suffered greatly, my website has languished from inattention.
That is about to change.
I carved these six small linos in the last six days. I was determined to get back to work in the studio, even if it meant just sitting there thinking or reading or listening to music. I was trying to draw in the inspiration I was so sorely lacking. I thought, well, I would do a few small simple linos. Baby steps, so to speak. These blocks are the result.
What better way to use up some of the ever accumulating small pieces of linoleum?
So in the coming weeks, I will be posting more small works and a much larger, 3-D piece I have been working on. It is the most complicated and intricate assemblage piece yet, but I don't want to show it until it is printed and assembled. I like to think it will be worth the wait.
And in art fair news, I have been accepted into Art Fair Off the Square 2014 in Madison WI! It is the second weekend of July and it will be my first outdoor art fair in years. I am looking forward to it. If you are in the Madison area, stop by and say Hello. I will post my booth number when I know what it is.
I have been sidelined with the flu or something since Thursday last week. Today is the first day since that I have felt like being in the studio. I am still tired but so much better than I was.
Here is a sneak peak of a new 3-D piece I am working on. I already can see it is going to take a long time. This will be for the background and then floating in the middle (where the blank space is) will be a portrait of Edgar Allan Poe. The projected total size of the piece will be 24 x 18.
I knew what I was getting into when I started this piece. The larger letters are no problem to carve around. The small letters require a huge amount of care and patience. One slip and...
Wish me luck!
It's only January and Summer seems still so far away. I look outside and can't imagine that soon it will be (drum roll, please) art fair season! And even though it is only January, it's time to start getting ready.
I have already applied for two shows and one I already know I will be in. My goal for this year is four shows for the year. Next year it will be more. My hope is that by 2015 I will be doing art fairs full time. It is not an unreachable goal.
So here I am, holed up in my studio on this cold January morning, watching an old Boris Karloff movie (Frankenstein 1970 for the Band getting ready to print a few more linos. I have plenty of coffee, plenty of movies to watch. The lovely Valerie is off and taking Yoga teacher training and I am left to my own devices.
Keep checking back every once in awhile. I have already added a few new pieces to the website, both in the Recent Work and the Shop pages. I'm getting an early start on things so there will be plenty of new work in the coming weeks.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone who has encouraged and supported me in the last few years. I couldn't have done it without you. This goes tenfold for Valerie, my wonderful wife, best friend, and biggest fan.
Since last month's art fair, I can safely say I haven't been slacking. While I haven't posted any new block prints, I have been carving linoleum like mad. In the next few weeks you will see the final results and they will all be posted for your perusal.
As 2013 comes to a close, I have to say it's been a very good year both Valerie and myself. I had my first two art fairs as a printmaker, both of which were a success. I feel I am constantly improving in my craft. Valerie is diligently training to be a certified Yoga teacher, of which I have to say I am very proud. We are both striving to leave our corporate jobs or at least become a little less dependent on them. It might not happen as soon as we would like, but I feel 2014 is going to be The Year of Making Headway. You may, if you like, keep your fingers crossed for us.
My blog posts have been more sparse than I originally intended. You can see that I have been busy. I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all the best in the coming year and I hope it turns out exactly how you want it.
Peace (as always)
photo by Valerie Hesslink
Last weekend I exhibited my art at my second art fair as a printmaker. It was The Winter Art Fair Off the Square, held every year at Monona Terrace here in Madison WI. I spent the last few months getting ready for this fair, which might explain my silence in blogging and posting new work. Or producing any new work, for that matter, although I promise I have quite a few ideas coming.
I have to say the show was a success. Within the first ten minutes of the show a well-known local business owner came into my booth (with entourage) and said "I'll take that one and that one and that one and that one" and bought all four of my 3-D assemblage pieces. I wasn't sure I heard correctly but I had.
It only got better. There were times when there were so many people in my booth I had to step out as to not get trod on.
So now I am researching more art fairs for next year. I'm pretty sure there is an art fair every weekend in the summer. We shall see which ones I apply for. I know I will definitely do the Winter Art Fair Off the Square if they will have me.
I will post dates of the art fairs I'm in on the calendar page.
Every once in awhile I have to just sit and doodle without thinking about anything becoming a blockprint. I doodle like this as a meditation of sorts.
Yesterday I had spent most of the afternoon and evening cutting mats for linocut prints, getting them ready for the art fair in November. About 10:00 I reached a point where I couldn't stand over the mat cutter any longer but wasn't ready to go to bed. I sat down at my work table, put a movie on, and just started free drawing. This is stream of consciousness drawing. I started with a dot or a line and let it go from there. I had just watched a short documentary on the late artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) and was inspired by the details of his phenomenal work.
And these doodles are the result.
I've posted the documentary below via YouTube, in case you haven't seen it.
I am closing up my Etsy shop. For the last two years or so I have posted work both here in the Shop section and on Etsy. Now I can focus my energies here on the website. While neither venue has been particular lucrative, it doesn't cost me anything to list items on my website.
If you happen across the shop, yes it's still there. On the "shop announcement" you will see my feeble protest against the Etsy machinery:
"This shop is now closed in protest of Etsy policies of allowing mass produced garbage to be sold on what was once a site for hand-made goods. As far as I'm concerned, until they change to a more strict policy concerning these grievances, they will never see another red cent from me."
Mass-produced garbage? On Etsy? Say it isn't so!
I invite you to take a look at some of the things they have for sale there. I think a liberal guess of what is actually handmade is...I don't know...60 percent. I don't mean the vintage items or the crafting supplies. I mean the items that are listed as "handmade." When I think of handmade I think of a person or small group of people making things. I do not think of a large factory of low paid employees churning out mass-produced shit.
But that is exactly what is showing up on Etsy...
I need a backpack. There are times when I want to walk to my local food co-op and get groceries. I want a backpack that is sturdy (of course) and comfortable to wear. I thought maybe I could find one on Etsy. Well, what I found was backpacks that were listed as handmade but were so obviously not. I looked through different sellers items and noticed that not only were the backpacks similar, so were the MODELS!
And that's not all. There is one seller who has posters. Yes, posters. Handmade, right? No. These are posters that someone has pulled from the Internet and tweaked and re-sized in Photoshop and then put up for sale. He or she claims they are all public domain images. Hey look, there's a Shepard Fairey poster. Oh, wait...
(Okay, maybe they took that one down. I just went to Etsy to grab a link and the shop is gone. Maybe my report has not gone unheeded after all. Maybe that I tweeted Shepard Fairey and said "Hey look at this...")
But it's not just backpacks and posters. You have to wade through a morass of garbage to find real art. You know, real art that someone actually created. Oh, it's there. I have plenty of friends and compeers that sell things on Etsy. It's just that Etsy just doesn't make it very easy for artists to be seen or for people to find them.
I also understand that Etsy exists to make money. I get that. What once was a very cool place to buy and sell handmade things has metamorphosed into something....well...soulless.
Maybe Etsy was secretly purchased by Wal-Mart, or even worse, Hobby Lobby. I shudder at the thought...
Yesterday was a big printing day. I stayed home all day. I made a large batch of iced tea, cranked up the music (garage rock was the choice), and printed. What you are looking at is the result. I managed to print six different linos, five of them being new. I am happy with how all of them turned out so far.
It has been a while since I have posted new work. I am looking forward to coloring these prints, once they dry, and posting them.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. This morning it is 63 degrees and a beautiful Sunday morning. The music won't be as loud and the drink of choice will be coffee, but I am once again in the studio. Carving another lino.
After a six year hiatus from art fairs, I've once again been bitten by the art fair bug. My first was last weekend, ArtFest Midwest in Des Moines, IA. I went there with no real expectations. I wasn't sure how well I was going to do. When I did art fairs before, as a book artist, I never really did that well.
That changed this weekend. The show was an unqualified success! Surprisingly, I sold more framed pieces than unframed (which I wasn't expecting) although my frame prices are well below anything you can get done at a Michael's or what have you.
My favorite part of the show was that it's indoors. We were very happy about that when it began torrential rains outside. That didn't prevent the crowds from coming to the art fair.
I only have one more art fair for the year, Holiday Art Fair Off the Square, in November. Next year may very well be another story. I'll be sure to let you know...