Takato Yamamoto is a Japanese artist whose work I love. His self titled style is called “Heisei Esthiticism”.
"My basic theme is the image of the universe operation that has repeated the circulating generation (life) and dismantlement (death)."
The textures, intricacy, subjects, colours... they inspire me to add more depth of tone to my own imagery. His work and story are generally quite interesting: check out the interview.
At the same time as IMPACT 8, The very first Print Festival Scotland took off, with loads of events including studio open days, print and education exhibitions, and special film screenings at DCA. The Big Print has been in the works for the last 6 months, led by the Creative Learning Team at The McManus. The artworks are collages of many pieces by children, young people and adult learners inspired by the McManus collections and Dundee history, architecture, science, and culture.
There were then many sessions of lino cutting to transfer the initial drawings into the giant lino blocks. This was done by many artists, students and volunteers, and I managed to help a little. Here is a cutting process picture I took on an extremely rainy day in the creative learning centre at The McManus...
So when the day of printing rolled by, the momentum was really something- a great atmosphere of excitement and fun. The 'giant printmaking' was achieved using a road roller! Here are some photographs of last Saturday...
Well done to everyone involved, there was a lot of hard work involved but it turned out fantastic in the end!
One of the new pieces of equipment the DCA print studio acquired recently is the CNC router. I would absolutely love to create a woodcut piece with it... going to have to think about that one a bit, though. You can cut some really precise, large scale stuff with it, and it has interchangeable cutting tools for both fine and rougher work. Artist duo Thomson and Craighead are getting their work for Never Odd or Even, their first survey exhibition in the UK at the Carroll/Fletcher Gallery in London. The woodblock pieces I have printed are part of the London Wall project, where local tweets are chosen and made into artwork. They have already been selling very well, I hear, which is fantastic news. Here are some pictures on the process...
I alsolutely love to use that style of press- it's so old and still works perfectly. Here is the only 'finished' shot I could find:
The other one that I printed was black and said 'Don't blow my high'. You can see the block being prepared in one of the previous pictures. This project was really fun and rewarding to complete, and I really enjoyed it. More on relief printing soon! :)
Edit: I just realized that the pieces I printed are available to buy at the Carroll/Fletcher online shop, too.
The DCA Print Studio are producing editions of work for The Yes Men, a duo of artists whose work is very political in content, focusing on social issues- 'telling the truth and exposing lies'. They have quite a wide practice, but some of their work involves film making and large- scale hoaxes. They say that the hoaxes (such as posing as powerful executives, being invited to speak at conferences, then talking about weird stuff) are a collaboration with the media, helping journalists to tell the stories that they care about. So excited to be involved in their work, to however small an extent. These pieces are all CMYK screen prints, and there are quite a lot! I have worked on a few so far, to varying degrees.
The solid red background in the second one was tricky to get perfect, and helped give me great triceps! :P I am planning a 'how to...' series of blog posts, and I am going to start with screen printing, so I can both practice explaining it and introduce non- screen printers to the process at the same time! :) At some point I will also upload some of my new screenprinted work. Until then!
One of the most exciting things I have had the opportunity to be part of with the DCA is the big new show by Johanna Basford! I have assisted with a lot of the preparation work in the studio. A couple of weeks ago I helped screenprint these bad boys:
It took five of us to get these done, using the biggest press and very thick, cloggy ink so that it would be fully opaque. This meant, however, that we had to work VERY fast in between prints to take the fresh one away (carefully) and get the new one aligned properly before the thick ink dried into the screen. When that happens... you have to wash it all off, dry, and start again. Which we did have to do a few times. Screen printing can be frustrating.
However, this particular work was really satisfying! The artwork is fantastic too, so that helps with the warm fuzzy feelings. This one is called Macbeth. The subject matter, general symetry and imagery are all stuff I strive for in my own work. Black and white hand drawn patterns- loving it. :)
The show is going to be really immersive and have so much to sit and look at for hours, including illustrated mannequins, trees, and a sailboat, to name a few. Wonderbeasts will also be there, her massively collaobartive kickstarter project that 150+ people helped to create.
As with all big DCA shows, there will be a host of related events, including exhibition tours, an artist talk, a doodle designing group for 11-16 year olds, and other activities for families, too. The cinema will be showing Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, and The Illusionist.
Can't wait to see it all come together...
Wonderlands is open in the main gallery of Dundee Contemporary Arts on Saturday the 4th of May until Subday the 7th of July 2013. Admission is free!