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A public art project I have been working on is nearly complete and the exhibit opens Saturday, as part of PrintHouston 2019. PrintHouston is a biannual citywide celebration of printmaking arts with about 20 participating galleries and venues. The piece I am showing is a woodcut relief print that will be installed on the facade of the Mystic Lyon Art Space in Houston’s Fifth Ward.  I am super excited about it!

I began this project by sketching on location in Houston’s Historic Fifth Ward. Homes, businesses, churches and the old DeLuxe Theater were some of the places I drew as inspiration, all situated on Lyons Avenue.

Followers on Instagram have seen a lot of these drawings- I’ve not neglected the blog intentionally!  I used these drawings to create the imagery in my woodcut print.  The Fifth Ward is known to some fondly as “The Nickel”, so I named the piece “Nickel Views”.

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“Nickel Views”, relief print on wood, 7′ x 4′

The printing of this piece and its manner of display are both unusual.  First it is printed on wood where traditionally a woodcut is printed onto paper.  I used very thin marine plywood so it is flexible, yet sturdy enough to be outside.  Second it has been cut into 4 pieces and will be displayed woven through the window bars on the front of the art space, visible from the street.

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“Nickel Views”, cut and varnish day.

I chose to print on wood and to install in this way to echo the boarded up buildings in the neighborhood.  Much of the Fifth Ward is economically depressed and to me the boarded up buildings are symbols of abandonment and decay.  Yet there is also life, vibrancy, art, culture,  and civic pride in the Fifth Ward.  Fascinating history.  People striving to revitalize a community.   I hope the work I have created shows this.  #NickelProud

So!  Saturday.  5-7pm at Mystic Lyon.  5017 Lyons St, Houston.  Inside I will be showing the drawings I made of the neighborhood.  AND there will be artwork from fellow printmaker Kelly Moran.  Oh, and there will be beer.  Saint Arnold Brewery is literally right down the street and they have generously donated beverages.  “Nickel Views” will be on display May 4th- July 20th.

 

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Ink, 8″ x 10″

Here is my last Inktober drawing.  The source image I worked from has the skulls up close on the right but nothing in the background.  To give some context to the skulls I made the background a wall of bones, working from ossuary pictures on the internet.  Ossuaries are weird.  Definition: a container or room into which bones of dead people are placed.  Freaky stuff.

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Wall of Inktober Drawings

I ran out of steam with the Inktober drawings last week and ended up 4 short of my goal.  But looking at this wall I’m happy with the work.  I pushed myself to try some new things, worked larger and brought it out of the sketchbooks.  I like seeing them all together like this.

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Ink, 8″ x 10″

This Inktober drawing was inspired by a costume designer on Sktchy.  So strange and freaky, and so fun to do.

That’s all the Inktobers for this week, as I take the weekends off.  Next week I have 5 planned that will all include red ink as well as black.  I’m looking forward to it.

Parallel pens, Platinum Carbon ink, Strathmore Bristol-smooth.

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Ink, 8″ x 10″

Here is my drawing for Inktober, Day 1.  Going to make this short because I feel like there are 47,000 different things I need to get done this afternoon.

For the ink and paper nerds here are my materials:  Pentel Pocket Brush, Pentel Color Brush with grey ink, Platinum Preppy fountain pen with waterproof ink, spatter with Speedball Super Black, all on Strathmore Bristol- smooth.

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“Homage to J.C.V.”  Woodcut relief print, 12″ x 18″

I completed this woodcut about two weeks ago as a birthday gift for my mom.  The motif is based on a design her grandfather created.  Juan Cleo Valenzuela was a skilled leather crafter and saddle maker in California.
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