This reduction woodcut goes wayyyy back, so I’m posting it as a nod to Throw Back Thursday. The first printmaking experience I had was at UMASS in the mid 1980’s. As soon as I walked into the print lab, and heard the clank of an old metal proofing press, inhaled a whiff of ink, and stepped on a cushion of wood and linoleum curled shavings underfoot, I was in love. In a blink, I had a bench hook in my apartment, and carving tools on my desk, with a slab of glass edged with masking tape to roll ink out.
The woodcut above was made during that time, as a family portrait: the african violet on the left was my paternal grandmother’s favorite house plant, the sprouting avocado pit suspended in a glass of water by push pins on the right was for my maternal grandmother’s amazmo gardening abilities, the figures in the abstracted photo in the center are me & my siblings, and the cassette deck in the foreground was homage to my step dad back in California; we sent letter recordings back and forth for the duration of my college years. So, yeah, that’s my 1980’s abstracted still life reduction woodcut, printed in gray and black, and painted with watercolor.
The delightful part of the process is unpacking. It’s a chance for clearing and culling and organizing. This results in new relationships: I’m on a first-name basis with my new friends at Goodwill. This stage is also steeped in possibilities, and fresh starts which require 500 small decisions every-single-day. This will exhaust the decision-making brain till is whimpers for mercy, which means its not a good time (for me) to make art. I need that decision part of my brain to paint and carve, and it’s definitely flashing a Do Not Disturb sign this week. In red neon. Should I stash the matting hardware in the [un-insulated] garage, or climb it up into the attic, or squeeze it into the studio? Can I fit all watercolor and printmaking paper onto one book shelf? Where are my brushes? Will all the carved and yet-to-be-carved blocks fit in one carton, or should I recycle the carved stuff?
I’ll do a post on the old vs new studio as soon as I get settled. The old & new rooms are almost identical in size, but there are differences in the rest of the house which grossly prohibit my stealthy scope-creep of art supplies elsewhere, if you catch my drift (wink-wink). #artistchallenges
Have you moved your studio recently? Did you take the opportunity to lay things out differently?
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
Eric Roth; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button