January 22, 2006

Untitled (People Print)

Here's another etching, this one is in it's first state. It's basically a cartoon image, which turns out to work really well with the etching and printing process. There was no concept drawing for this print, basically I just started drawing into the ground of the blank plate and it turned into this. Since this stage of the print I've gone back and added a lot more detail - there really isn't any unused space on the plate. I like it.

You don't know...

This is a very small plate done entirely in drypoint. The image comes from a drawing I did on a scrap from an earlier run of the "Subjugation of Man" print. It's basically a single contour line drawing of a face with some additionally built-up areas. In some of the down time from the etching process for other plates I was able to complete a whole edition of this print, which includes the very cool red-ink "background." This was achieved by a technique called surface rolling where the plate is inked and wiped normally, but before it is pressed another layer/color of ink is rolled onto the surface of the plate, leaving the darker ink in the grooves. I really like the way it looks.

Eggs & Bacon

This print is for the portfolio exchange project at the end of class. The assignment was "Food," and the new cast-iron skillet had to be featured. This image consists of mostly etched lines, those in the stove and fridge are the boldest since they were left in the acid for a longer time than the background lines. The tonal area on the fridge was achieved by a process called aquatint in which a thin coat of spraypaint or resin is applied to the plate and allowed to etch (in that specific area) for a brief time. The result is a spray-paint like tone, very different from the look of built up hatch marks (such as in the carpet area). The only drypoint (manually scratched) technique on the plate was with a roulette in the floor of the kitchen. A roulette is basically a roller which leaves a uniform swath of dots where it is pressed into the plate. I chose to leave some of the incidental scratches from the etching process, I think they represent the grubbiness of the apartment and assist the image of the dartboard and street sign in adding context to the overall image.

January 17, 2006

Dream Deferred

I had to memorize a poem last semester for the final exam of a literature class. I chose Langston Hughes' "Dream Deferred," partially because I enjoy his work, but mostly because it was sparse in words and barely edged the required ten-line minimum:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore --
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over --
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

This one officially gets my "Good Poem" stamp of approval, comparable to the Pulitzer I would imagine. My question, though, is what happens when there is no dream at all?

January 16, 2006

Intaglio Printmaking Class

"The Subjugation of Man," artist's proof.

[Click on image for hi-res version]

This print is an etching done with hard ground on a copper plate. Although the plate is in its final state, the print is only a proof, as evidenced by the blotches of unwiped ink in some areas. One of the most challenging aspects of intaglio printmaking is wiping the surface of the plate consistently without removing too much of the grooved ink, resulting in a weak, dim image. This task becomes even more difficult in the presence of much fine detail on the plate (clever me).

The assignment for the class was "Historical Event." I decided on a symbolic, post-fact depiction of the fall of humanity centralizing on the withered carcass of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The human element in the image is portrayed in the form of an ancient statue which has been enshrined and nearly overtaken by the grasping root structure of the ancient tree. One of the statue's hands reaches out for the illusory fruit, perpetually out of reach. The shadow or influence of the snake is still palpable, despite the aparent expanse of time which has passed since the actual event.

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
- Conventional Wisdom