Thursday, May 20, 2010
opening tonight at gallery 1988 in los angeles is Another Dimension:art inspired by the most influential science-fiction television show of all time (bit of a long title). unfortunately, i'm not going to be there, but i did make another 2-inch oil painting for it. placed in a civil war period tintype case, the painting is based off an episode called paladin of the lost hour.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
these are solarplate photogravure intaglio artist's proofs for my show, recomposing the spaces, at rivet gallery.
whats that? whats a "solarplate photograve intagla-ma-thingy?" now that i've briefly explained how to make a drypoint print (here), i can sort of explain what a solarplate photogravure is:
basically, way back when (1830's), i guy named henry fox talbot (really famous photographer) came up with a way to make prints of his photos. simply put, he would use a bunch of chemicals (gelatin, potassium dichromate, ferric chloride) to etch an image into a copper plate. then he could print his photos by inking the plate and running them through a press. this process is called photogravure, and it is a huge pain in the ass to do.
so in modern times (about 10 years ago i think), someone came up with a much less toxic process - although, still a pain in the ass, slightly less so - the solarplate. you began with an image. the process was specifically designed for photographs, but i, however, use a drawing (why? because its crazy). after scanning the drawing i print it on a high quality film transparency. now it starts to get a little complicated...
solarplates (not the ones that hemp-necklace wearing people put on their roofs) are orange light-sensitive plastic plates with a metal backing. the plastic is soft and delicate until exposed to light which hardens it, so you have to keep them in the dark. working in a darkroom, i put the transparent drawing on film upside down (reversed) on the solarplate. i then expose it to light (the amount of time is predetermined by testing smaller areas). where the light is blocked out by the linework and shading the plastic stays soft.
the plate is now put in a tray of water and gently brushed by hand. this rubs the plastic away where it wasnt hardened by light. so now you have an image etched into the plate, and you exposed it to some more light to harden it completely. at this point the plate can be inked up and run through a press the same way i print my drypoints.
i cant imagine that there are more than a handful of people in the world right now who go through the trouble to reproduce a drawing this way, but the final image is much more beautiful and rich than the original. as with my previous solarplates i've yet to make an edition run, and probably never will.
Friday, May 7, 2010
3'' x 9''
so what is drypoint? well, its a really old form of printmaking like etching and engraving (called intaglio). how does it work? well, like this:
first, you wanna get yourself a copper plate. without getting too anal about the details, you prep the plate by sanding, filing, and polishing until its nice and smooth. then you need a really sharp scratching tool. steel needles were traditionally used, but i have a diamond-tipped needle attached to a wooden stylus (fancy word for stick).
you basically draw your image by directly scratching it onto the plate. this is pretty tricky to get the hang of at first because you cant really see what youre doing. it takes thousands of little scratches to shade an area in, and until you make a test print you wont be sure how dark an area will be. the problem with making a lot of test prints is that every time a plate is run through a press it wears the image out a little bit. this is why printers began numbering their print editions. the earlier the print, the better the image. drypoint plates wear out the fastest, so this print has only two artist's proofs (sometimes labeled test prints) and one final print.
to make a print you have to ink up the plate. first, though, you have to mix up your ink to the desired color and add some wiping compound and linseed oil. then you delicately apply the ink with a tarlatan (fancy word for crusty cheese cloth). if you rub too hard you will damage the plate. different hand-wiping techniques can greatly add to the unique characteristics of every individual print.
now your ready to print. wet and blot your paper, place it on the plate, and run it through an etching press. and thats it in a nut shell. also, please ignore the girl in the photos, i promised her i wouldnt use them.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
these are two of the smallest paintings i've ever done. they are 1.5'' x 2'' and encased in tintype cases from the mid to late 1800's. they are part of my recomposing the spaces show at rivet gallery. click here to see the show.