Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

Someone much smarter than me once said that all good things must come to an end. At the beginning of 2012 I will be marking the end of my graduate studies with a thesis show. I've decided to call it Consuming Decay, and below I'm supplying a sneak peak of some of the new things I've made.

The images to follow are the last prints that I made. In fact, I pulled my final few just this past week. Each of them is created by allowing strawberries to draw themselves. I applied soft-ground to twelve plates and smashed various parts of dissected strawberries into them over the course several weeks. During this time period the strawberries were allowed to decay, which changed their consistency and shape allowing them to make a wide variety of marks. Each of these plates was then reassembled in different colors ranging from three to twelve plate combinations. This process resulted in some really interesting abstract prints, which is a serious visual departure from the work I've done over the past few years. I'm extremely happy with the results, and I hope you'll make it out to the show to see them in person. These digital reproductions really don't do them justice.

Friday, September 30, 2011


I've just recently completed the third piece in my process series, and have begun working on the fourth and final image. The more I work on these images the more I realize how conceptually integral the photogravure technique is to my work, and how important it is for my viewers to understand the process. As a result I've started developing an accompanying video with the gracious help of fellow artist and SCAD graduate student Laura Cleary. Above is a sneak peak of a teaser I'm planning to use as a part of the digital invitation for my thesis show, and below is the latest finished print I've made. I'm immensely satisfied with both of these projects, and I'm finally wrapping my head around what this work has become both visually and conceptually. I'll go into that more in my next post when I've completed the final layers of my last print.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Collaborative Printing

Its been about a month since the Bouncing Puppy Press had the opportunity to work on a collaborative print project with Kiki Smith, Valerie Hammond, Crista Cloutier, and the SCAD-Atlanta Printmkaing Department. That is not to say that this project is not still consuming a large portion of my time, but that I've just begun to understand the magnitude of the work that I am helping to create. This understanding was spurned by a sneak peak of a collection of Kiki's work that was recently purchased by the High Museum, which will be on display this fall. At that moment, surrounded by years of Kiki Smith's work it hit me . . . Oh yeah, you're working for a legend.

I've realized that the reason this took so long to sink in was because each of us were treated as equals during the entire five days we worked together. We were asked for our opinions on the work the artists' were making, and even encouraged to make suggestions about how the pieces could be improved. Perhaps this shouldn't have seemed unusual, but some people deserve to have an ego. Both Kiki and Valerie have somehow avoided this and remained extremely approachable and down to earth. I have to admit after the respect I've gained for these two artist's as people, I have gained an entirely new appreciation for the work they create.

Equally, if not more impressive than the artist's demeanor was their work ethic. There was not a moment during the five 12+ hour days that any of them seemed to stop drawing, photographing, or adjusting their work. Though it didn't seem like work at all. The almost lackadaisical manner in which Kiki Smith draws would make it seem as if many of the marks she creates occurred merely by happenstance, but her meticulous eye for detail proved otherwise. Every mark was intentional, and when even one line was missing from an incredibly detailed four color print she noticed instantly. Valerie shared this same eye for precision, especially in her photographs, and while she and Kiki shared many similarities their rendering styles were near complete opposites. Valerie draws with intensity and focus, seemingly tuning out everything but the sheet in front of her. I found it incredibly interesting that two people that seemed to have very similar personalities would draw in such drastically different ways, but that is a tangent for another time.

It was both an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to work with these great artists, and I can only hope that the prints I help create will live up to their justifiably high standards. I have no doubt that this experience will influence the way I work, and I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to work on a collaborative print project.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teaching and Learning

For the past two weeks bouncing puppy press has been helping to sculpt the squishy grey matter of the next generation of artists, and as a result has taken on 13 temporary additions to the bouncing puppy team.

Pictured below are three of the images that my students cranked out in only a week. I was really impressed with how hard all of my classes worked, and I had no choice but to show some of them off.

Trevor Weigle - cranked out fifteen prints over the course of 3 days after learning how to print using monoprint and pronto plates for the first time. Of those fifteen this print was the class favorite; we all agreed the cake looked delicious.

Diana Zamora - drew this awesome still life. It has a rubber ducky, a dragon print umbrella, and a really interesting composition. What more could you ask for?

Eli McMahon - was perpetually covered in charcoal, but somehow managed to keep himself and this still life project extremely clean.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Best Laid Plans

It seems that more and more frequently despite my best efforts to meticulously plan and conceptualize my projects they seem to spiral out of my control. To the right is an image from one such project. When I began this work I was interested in figuratively processing foods by overprocessing a photographic image of food sources utilizing photogravure as a base medium for expression. I was going to damage the plate, the gel, and generally do everything I could to transform what I thought was a perfect image into something ugly.

However, I failed in this endeavor . . . the result was not ugly. In fact it put the original image to shame. Some instinct seems to have taken over as I worked, and as I systematically layered the reprocessed image on top of the original my color choices and use of transparency created beauty within the imperfections. I'm still not quite sure how this happened, but I am sure that I'm happy with the result and that I'll continue to explore this new process. Hopefully, as I keep working I'll figure out why the more I break down these images the more beautiful they become. I suppose that sometimes the best laid plans can fail in just the right way so that they lead to success.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Communication Breakdown

Break Yourself!

Once again Bouncing Puppy Press was running around Atlanta this past weekend checking out what the artists and galleries decided to show the world, because, well, we still like art. This time another friend and colleague by the name of Natalie Hudson presented her graduate thesis show Communication Breakdown.

This body of work was an investigation into the deterioration of relationships through time, miscommunication, and distance. The main wall was littered with framed artifacts of destruction, physical manifestations of the degradation of a copper plate's surface through repeated abuse. The public was encouraged to relive the creation of these works by throwing christmas ornaments into a plate prepared with soft ground. This same plate was repeatedly broken down and etched twenty-six times recreating a lifetime of degrading relationships.

Around the corner a series of interactive works were included where the viewers were encouraged to destroy, damage, or otherwise vandalize objects that most of us hold dear to our hearts. A family photo album was presented filled with mementos meant to be torn apart and hidden. A crocheted blanket was hung on display for the participants to unravel, cut, and even burn. Between these two interactive pieces was a mailbox, which infuriatingly fired letters back onto the floor each time it was filled. All the while the artist perpetually cleaned and tried to keep the space organized.

I've seen Natalie's work before, but none of that prepared me for how effective it was up on the walls at the B Complex. The work was simultaneously extremely personal, while accessible to the public through the interactive pieces. That is no easy task to accomplish, and I highly recommend that anyone who hasn't experienced this show to make the trip out to the B complex and see it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Process Project - Blooming

These are a few of the color mixing variations I've been toying with for my new Process series. They're fresh off the Bouncing Puppy Press to your eyeballs.