In the Studio #33

My week in Rehoboth is coming to and end and I haven’t quite completed the art that I had hoped to but I did manage to get some things done. My goal was to at least get the basic drawing and outline carving done on a woodblock print, and I did that today. This print is part of a series strangely yet to be named but which was inspired by a set of drawings and prints I did back in the 2000’s called the Subwall Set. Those images were inspired by peeling subway movie wall posters in the New York . Here’s the image which inspired the current print I’m carving:

Carving a woodblock is simultaneously annoying frustrating and therapeutic all at once. I work with a dremel, and as you might expect it’s very jumpy. It’s almost as if the mortal enemy of the dremel is a straight line.

The way I carve plates is first to draw out the image, then carve the outline with a point tool, and then to finally clear away the negative space with a broader sanding tool. My technique is very amateurish and I’m sure would horrify most fine printmakers but I love the results when I produce the final print. Here I am doing battle with two blocks:

Carving for me is ultimately therapeutic because eventually your task becomes rote and you have a lot of time to think. When I’m in the zone my thoughts often go to other works of art I’d like to tackle. When my thoughts drift, as they have been lately, I think about my life goals and what I’m supposed to be accomplishing in at this phase of my life. It’s a healthy debate between despair that I’m old and my time has run out to accomplish anything and a maximalist impulse to conquer the world through sheer force of will. I have one more print in this cycle I’m doing right now, can’t wait to see where my art therapy takes me next.

My awesome friend Tanya Saunders just shared this link to 9 Afropop artists to hear and I was enraptured. Follow the link here. My favorite two artists are Yemi Alade and her piece “Johnny” and Abeg Abeg,” from Burna Boy. Here’s there YouTube videos respectively.

Okay I think that’s it until next week. I’d like to return to that thought I had on the nuances of the racial animus we’re experiencing right now in the culture in the next post. I suspect political correctness or the code for what that means to white people is at the heart of it somewhat. I think I’ll ask my more clever friends what the think. Until then do be well!

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