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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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Linocut printed on 4″ x 6″ hemp paper card. Purple ink and glitter.

I made linocut holiday cards this year and am so pleased with how they turned out.  The design is inspired by Prince so I printed with purple ink.  While the ink was still wet my wife carefully applied superfine glitter to the Prince nutcracker in the center.  It’s not Christmas without glitter!

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Ooooh! Prince is sparkly.

Prince fans will understand the reference in “Let’s Get Nuts”, but if you’re rusty with 1980’s pop music lyrics I will help you out.  The lyric is from 1984’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Prince: “Let’s Go Crazy”

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Carved linoleum block, test prints, and glass baren.

I printed the cards by hand with a glass baren from Iron Frog Press.  Their Print Frogs, as they are called, are a joy to print with and well worth the price if hand printing is your thing.  The glass baren is a work of art in itself.

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“Print Frog”, a glass baren from Iron Frog Press

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

 

 

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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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Closeup of Woodcut In Progress

I am currently working on a design for a bookplate.  The cutting is nearly complete; all that remains is the name at the bottom.  The text must be carved in reverse because it prints as a mirror image.  After carving is complete I can ink it up and print it.

 

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