Tag Archives: Printmaking

Untitled Etchings from 1987

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Still excavating the loft for pieces of artwork from the distant past. This set was made at Winchester School of Art. Originally I only made a couple of sets but subsequently print about another four. All went out into the world except one set which I still have.

They are fairly traditional since plate etching with aquatint but use a process of transferring photocopied photographs from paper by dissolving the copier toners using acetone.

The images come from various sources such as personal photographs, photographs taken from the TV and images copied from newspapers.
They also use t technique called Chine Colle (pasted tissue) to isolate areas within the images.

These include Enoch Powell as a necromancer, a girl called Sue and Edwina Curry, a revolution in an unnamed South American country, two religious leaders looking star struck, a cadaverous Willie Brandt and a baby, various actors and actresses in popular frame of the time, a fashion model and a Maoist, the Troubles in Norther Ireland.

Some might remember the pre Internet age when the flow of information was less multi faceted and more linear. These pieces, together with some other works of the time tried to bring threads together but with out any particular narrative or imposed opinion.

The sequence was untitled as far as I can recall.

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Various Lino Prints

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With some recent down time due to summer holiday child maintenance I took a rare visit to the loft and dug out some old artwork. Whilst I didn’t get to any of the large-scale pieces I did find some books and some mid sized prints. There are etching, litho graphs and screen prints amongst the hauls but all of the following use probably my favourite print making medium, the lino (or linoleum) block print. There nothing like the smell of a warm piece of lino and the buttery smooth cut you can get with a sharp cutting tool. Its an unforgiving and graphic medium, if you over shoot a line you can’t go backwards. I’ve been burnt, stabbed, developed rashes and caused myself tennis elbow through lino block printing – almost all worth it. I’m a bit lax on dates so unless they are noted on the prints its a guess at best.

The image at the top is the one I sold the most of. These come from 1994 approx when I lived in Crouch End. The elephant is the central image of triptych, the full sequence is below. The elephant is seen through a tunnel which was in Riversley Park in Nuneaton, the left hand panel is Crouch End Broadway and the the right hand panel is Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos in Mornington Cresent Underground. The piece was called ‘Hope & Forgetfulness’. These were made outside of a proper studio – kitchen table – homespun work.

Hope & Forgetfulness

The next piece is a diptych from around 1985, made at Winchester School of Art. This is called ‘Phototropism’s’ and reflects an interest in comparative religion & Jungian psychology. A lot of the work I did at this time had a fairly sexual content, this is less overt than a lot of my other pieces.

Phototropism

The next ones are from slightly before the one above and are called ‘Hydrotropism’s’. These use more African/Haitian voodoo motifs & masks, they are less skilled in some ways and quite flat & graphic with the activities of the characters buried in the pattern. Not quite self censorship but definitely game playing.

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I did make another image called ‘Geotropism’. This was a single image. Unfortunately I haven’t found that one yet. As I recall it also used a Voodoo Zombie theme.

The next image I much later and probably one of the last lino prints I made. This is from 1994/5 and produced when I lived in Forest Fields. Its a slightly biographic / partly symbolist narrative played out amongst the Goose Fair and the carousel rides. Its called ‘Fairground Deception’. I alms produce a set of small images (24 I think) called ‘Nocturne’ around the same period which again I’m yet to find.

Fairground Deception

The last set of images in this post are from around 1991/92. This was a book project that uses a reverie set set on the Northern Line between Highgate & Morden. At the time I lived in Muswell Hill and went to Wimbledon School of Art – so I spent a lot of time on that line. The book was called ‘Re-Orientation/A Documentary – A Documentary/Re-Orientation’ and was designed to be ‘read’ from either the front or the back. Seen here in Gif format running from front to back.

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The final images in this post are also from my time in London. These are small prints made as cards for a small gallery in Highgate. The images are stone carvings from Highgate Cemetery which at that time was mainly gated off from public access and very overgrown.

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As above I have many more images to share here but as a start these are representative of a particular style and process that always gave me some satisfaction to produce. I hope you like them.

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The Elephant in the Gallery

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After reading Georges post on the George Thornton Gallery blog about the value of printmaking I had a world of comment gush up on me. I studied fine art and specialised in Print Making at Winchester School of Art waaaaaaay back in the eighties. I totally treasure printmaking as a beautiful alchemical process that more often than not exemplifies skills in drawing and composition that more free forms of two dimensional art dodge. There are many artists whose output in this genre at least equals their painterly production – Picasso, Goya & Bonnard spring to mind but the list far longer.

In his blog George discussed two of my favourite artists, Salvador & Bob. I admired Salvador quite a long time before I became a full blown Bobcat. Dali was an unmitigated transcendental genius. His drafting skill is beyond comprehension. He was also a master of self promotion and highly ‘brand aware’ half a century before the phrase birthed. Dali had a commercial awareness and understood his value. As a superstar artist of his generation he was subject to opportunistic fakery and this materialised in his Limited Edition Print activities. The up shot was that he signed thousands of blank sheets of paper. In doing this he undermined the value of not only the fakes but his own work but established a mystique around his work that elevated his own perceived stock.

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I own a Dali print, maybe. It could be any number of things, a real print with a real signature, a fake print with either a real or fake signature or potentially a real print with a fake signature. At this distance I doubt the existence of many experts who could decipher the truth. Well done Salvador.

Dylan, in a much repeated interview in the mid sixties was described by a journalist as the ‘spokesman for a generation’. Dylan’s response was ‘No, I’m just a song & dance man’ perhaps the greatest understatement of his career. Dylan must be possessed of superhuman self confidence as he has always ploughed his own path musically. Even in recent years he has mystified audiences with ‘unusual’ versions of his classic songs and extreme vocal styles. Like Dali he is utterly self aware and brand loyal. His visual output has been just as idiosyncratic and subject to criticism as is music. By any stroke he isn’t a world class draughtsman and as with his music he has been accused of plagiarism. I don’t own a ‘Bob’ but I did buy the first ‘Drawn Blank‘ book (and paid a lot more than I did for the Dali print). I admire his process and have viewed the prints with interest. Being close to the types of processes that produce works of the type that are selling the process and supply chain is very interesting. You can’t buy a ‘Bob’ for much under £1000.00. The galleries that show these (Castle Galleries/Washington Green) report high levels of sales. Margins are misty but ‘the piece of paper’ would be less than 5% of the cost in it self and the margin to the artist and his management will be clear in the chain. Personally I think they are OK prints. They are however taking relatively small original pieces and enlarging well beyond their passable scale. This is plainly because something ‘big’ has a higher value than something ‘small’.
As with any work of art the value is determined by the market. Anybody who buys a Dylan on the basis of investment should consider caveat emptor. If I had a grand lying around I would buy one, not for any potential investment but because I would like to see it when I walked passed it every day rather than having to open a book. And strangely, on consideration it probably wouldn’t matter which picture it was as long as it had that 5 square centimeter pencil signature at the bottom. Oddly I received an invite to the 2013 edition review today.

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That, (and here is where it gets misty) is my point. Art is like voodoo. It’s about memory, association, faith & connection. If what you see fits your expectation and you believe it’s from the place you think it’s from you will be happy with your experience. We all like to be connected to something bigger. It marks the lamppost in our cultural neighbourhood.

…..and if you would like to buy an original limited edition giclee print from an original lino block print circa 1986 called ‘Hope & Forgetfulness’ like the one at the top I have 6 only left with no intention to make any more. £35.00 each plus postage. Make a connection.

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