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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.

 

Lyons Ave

Ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″

A view down Lyons Ave, Houston, on a grey and drizzly day last week.  I had to bail on this drawing twice because of rain.  I started on a Friday and intended to do everything with black and grey markers because the day was so dreary. Only got as far as the marquee and the seriously leaning power pole before things got too wet.  
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Ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″

I sketched this abandoned shop in Houston’s Fifth Ward last week.  The morning was grey and dreary which influenced my color choices a great deal.  The teal of the sign and trim was what grabbed my attention and made me choose this spot to sketch.  It threatened to rain but I only caught a few drops.

This part of Houston is going through a major transition.  2 brand new townhomes are next door to this building.

 

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By Siver Black

When I wake up in the morning I almost always have a song in my head.  Does that happen to you?  Sometimes it’s music I do not like, but usually it is something good (good meaning something I like!) and it influences the music I will listen to that day.  I woke up January 7th with “Starman” by David Bowie in my head and proceeded to listen to Bowie most of the day.  The next morning turned out to be David Bowie’s birthday, so the music marathon continued and I made this drawing.
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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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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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