Friday, December 16, 2011

Collaborative Printing

I’ve spent a week and a half collaborating with Joe Segura’s print class to create a new four color lithograph. I used one of the images I’ve been working up for a linoleum print version for the “Immigrant in the Word” series. The look I was going for was to mimic the old “Dick and Jane” reader style illustrations and primary color scheme. I had to work fast to draw up the four plates so the class could print and finish before the end of the semester. I’m pretty happy with the results. I’m not sure if I will include the color version with the series yet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recycling the Dead

I'll be giving a talk at Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL on November 3rd entitled "Recycling the Dead". Public is welcome.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Navigating the Currents

I volunteered to make a print for Inkteraction’s Navigating the Currents: 100 Inkteraction Reactions portfolio. My idea is pretty simple: a printmaker carrying a heavy roller through a binary marsh of 1s and 0s.
This print's requirements were for a smaller 5x7” sheet of paper so the image is pretty small. I chose to further explore color reduction relief printing with my snazzy new registration system. This time I went for a cooler palette than the previous two prints.
(1st & 2nd color layers)
I don't know if it is the changes in humidity or my new block prep that have affected ink layering in a positive manner. In prepping to ink up this block I scraped down the linoleum with the side of a razor. The “La Vida Dulce II” print had some inconsistent ink layers due to what I think was the factory texture of the lino block. Each successive layer of ink picked up on the texture of the layer below and compounded the “orange peel” texture where I had intended flat areas. Of course I rolled with it and used the texture to some advantage but I wanted to avoid this in the future. I believe the shaving/planing of the block prior to inking led to a more even and flat layer of ink. Four layers of blue were laid down to create the print. I debated adding a finishing black line layer. In the end I like the all blue palette.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

La Vida Dulce take 2

I ordered a new registration system and decided to take another stab at the reduction print at the correct size. I restructured the drawing a bit from the first smaller print.

First color proof, second color block and proof:

The over lay of second color on first:

The third color proof, third color block and third color overlay:

The reduced fourth color block and printed overlay:

The fourth color overlay, fifth color block (now greatly reduced) and the final 5th color overlay:

Finished prints hung to dry:

For comparison, La Vida Dulce I (3 colors) and La Vida Dulce II (five colors).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reduction print (pt.2)

I decided to continue printing the reduction print on the wrong size paper. I'll just have to do another one on the right size paper later. Here is the second color run.

Here is the first color state, second color state and the second color on it's own for comparison.

Here is the third and maybe last color run and the block much reduced.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reduction print

I’ve got a few pans in the fire.

One: I’ve agreed to make a print for the Inkteraction print exchange with the theme “Navigating Currents: 100 Inkteraction Reactions” due at the end of September. Two: I’ve also been asked by Carlos Barberena and Calaca Press to contribute a print to the “Calacas” themed International Print Exchange. Three: I have a few possible commissions I need to think about.

I’ve decided to try my hand at a reduction relief print for at least one of these portfolio exchanges. I haven’t attempted a reduction print since I was 15 years old and made a 4 color print of Freddie Mercury for my high school art class.

A reduction print is a multi-colored print that is created using one block. Each color is printed in sequentially, usually light to dark. You can start by printing the whole block as a base tone for the print or remove some of the block before inking thereby leaving some of the paper exposed as a base or highlight. Before the second run of color more of the block is removed ("reducing" the block)which leaves some of the first color printed (and paper) exposed wherever the block has now been cut away. This process is repeated until the final color state, sometimes a black but not necessarily so, is printed. The block is destroyed in the process, therefore it is not possible to go back a step and re-do a state. Obviously a little pre-planning and a good registration system is in order for a successful print.

The idea for the Calaca theme came quickly – a variation of something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. First I drew a color sketch then I transferred the image to a block. Next I decided what areas were going to be left white (the color of my paper) and cut those areas away. Next I printed the yellow base color… Then I realized I had used the wrong size paper to print this edition….!!!! (to be continued)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Late night

Feliz 82 'Apa.

The exhibit at South Bend Christian Reformed Church opens this Friday. I’ve been putting in long days and late nights lately. It always seems to come to this right before an exhibit. Always just a few more prints or finishing touches needing to be taken care of. Selecting prints that are appropriate with this venue has gotten me thinking. Re-conceptualizing a varied group of works into a compatible whole is always good. I also took this opportunity to actualize an idea for prints that has been brewing for a while. The church function of this particular exhibition venue made me want to bring the images forth to see how they do.

The show still hasn’t been laid out (in fact I just finished printing this morning and am due to help my wife frame up the remaining pieces tonight) but I have an idea of how the work will be broken up into four sections. Each section bleeds into the others at times but they’ll go something like this - section one: the family relationship prints; section two: the dreamscape prints (hopes/fears); section three: the world-view (The inkling for this series was ignited at a reception for my father.); section four: nature. We’ll see how this plan holds up when installation time rolls around.

Late nights at the studio always mean something else has to be left undone or for someone else to take care of. I’m grateful to my best friend and supporter – my wife, Laurie, for all she does everyday and especially when exhibit time rolls around. Te amo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Prints @ SBCRC

Reception May 13, 2011 from 5 - 7 p.m.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I have been asked to present a short power point on my work at Holy Cross College's Arts Day Salon on April 15th.

I have a small exhibit opening at South Bend Christian Reformed Church on May 13th at 5:00 p.m.

I'm working on some new relief prints.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Birds of a feather

I conducted a 6 week printing workshop with Jr. High students at Good Shepherd Montessori School. Art Specialist, Ms. Rousseau and Guide, Miss Hoipkemier assisted. In preparation for creating a print the students first visited the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame to see examples of various relief prints selected from the Snite’s vast collection. Through the prints students were able to see firsthand examples of techniques in mark making and subject matter to further enhance their own image making potential. The next five weeks allowed the students to draw, carve out, and print editions of their linoleum block images.

Birds of Indiana were selected as subject matter for the prints the students and I would create. I believe that a personal connection with a project resonates truer with the creator, as well as, the audience. GSMS's students' farm experience has contributed to their knowledge of the local environment. Each participating student chose a different bird that is commonly seen around their state.

GSMS also commissioned me to create a work that the school can give as an award at this year's annual benefit. This year’s award recipient is partial to the Great Blue Heron so I chose to print a 12 x 12” image in addition to my smaller class room demo entitled “Great Blue”. Because the award honors a community leader for their commitment to improving the lives of children in the Michiana community I included some of the students’ work alongside my own. Therefore, the finished composition “Birds of Indiana” consists of my own depiction of a Great Blue Heron bracketed by prints of six other birds familiar in our home state – Purple Martin, Snow Goose, Mallard, House Wren, Loon, and the Woodpecker each created by – Jace, Izzy, Laurel, Olivia, Robin, and Jonathan respectively. These prints were collectively printed in my studio with the press. I liked the look of the works all together so much that I decided to print a small edition of just the smaller student blocks along side with my own, Ms Rousseau's and Miss Hoipkemier's.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The studio is buzzing with a few new collaborations. First up, my two little apprentices. I took a couple of drawings from my sons’ sketchbooks, added a few flourishes, cut and printed the resulting images on some t-shirts with my press. Hoping to continue these experiments in the new year.

I’ve volunteered to teach a 6 week class on relief printing to a few of the Jr. High students at Good Shepherd Montessori. We’re hoping to have a collaborative print made including images from each of the students, Laurie Rousseau and myself.

We’re hoping to tighten things up with the Consejo Grafico this year. We’re planning exhibits of the two portfolios created by the group and some organizational meetings for this spring and summer.

At home it's been deja-vu. The Lightboy has developed a taste for Queen and discovered the wonderful wacky genius of Don Martin cartoons.

The Don Martin interest started with the Mad Magazine Don Martin collection I got for Xmas. The Queen interest started after hearing the Fresh Air interview with Brian May. "That's a unique guitar sound." I remember being his age sitting in our living room reading Mad Magazine, drawing and listening to my older brothers' record collection. I eventually made the transition from listening nonstop to the Beatles to Queen. It's like history repeating itself seeing him doing the same. He’s particularly interested in Brian May’s unique layered guitar sound and the vocal gymnastics of Freddie and the band.

Synchronous event: While cleaning out the basement studio the same day we heard the Brian May interview in the car, I found the very first concert T-shirt I owned – a bootleg Queen t-shirt I bought at my very first concert for $10.