Friday, August 11, 2023

Us and Them

After walking from Venezuela through the insane lawlessness Colombian border. Walking further north though Narcoville--8 Central American countries--might seem like a cakewalk, if you ignore any variety of human, drug, weapon, automobile traffickers. Then you get to the US where your kids used to be taken away from you with the intention of deterring your emigration, but we've gotten away from that.

Once you get here, you're crammed on a bus or charter plane in Texas or Florida and end up in freezing New York, where you're promptly shipped to where...? tropical Canada in April? 

The political stunts keep getting worse. 70,000 migrants came to New York City in the Spring, 100,000 since August of last year, exhausting even the most liberal NY-ers dealing with a--remember?--resurgent Covid wave. 

And, many more are emigrating from other frightening areas around the world: Haiti, warring countries in Africa, and, the US's favorite, the Ukraine. 

   13 x 18" 2-color letterpress print.
Where will they live? What will they eat? Where will they work? 

The Mayor is a wreck with confrontations from all sides. The governor will give $1B to feed and temporarily house the great number of people before their application for asylum (which could take 3 years  to process) is approved. A temporary work permit may be issued--get this!--150 days after the application for asylum was filed and the mayor is pushing the Biden administration to shorten the wait (awwww, how nice. You wait over four months to work landscaping, construction, or meat processing if you're lucky.)

I feel horrible that the only thing I can do is donate a few bucks and make a print. My Catholic parish has maintained a shelter for years, opened during the Trump years when ICE hounds crawled our sanctuary city. But now? What are we (all) going to do?

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


As if the gun crisis wasn't a bushel of insanity all on its own, the Stand Your Ground law tops the heap. According to, "They allow anyone who believes their life to be in danger to use lethal force in an act of self-defense, completely removing the duty to retreat in a public space." (

Further, it states that these laws:

"are made more lethal by our nation’s history of racism, are reinforced by our nation’s weak gun laws, and are galvanized by outside influence by gun rights groups like the NRA."

Sixteen-year-old Ralph Yarl, a high school junior, sent by his parent to pick up his younger siblings from their friends' house, made the mistake of ringing the doorbell at an incorrect address. 

He was met with a bullet to the head, shot through the glass door, where the shooter could easily see the teenager was just ringing the doorbell. When the boy fell to the ground, the shooter advanced and shot him a second time in the arm.

2-color planned letterpress print
Wounded, the boy got up and ran to three different locations seeking help, until a neighbor on the street told him to lay face down with his hand extended (never mind that his arm was bleeding) until the police responded to the 911 call. The shooter was arrested but freed after 24 hours on the Stand Your Ground law. 

Wrap your head around this: Only after national outrage did the police return to arrest an 84-year old white man, Andrew Lester, and charge him with assault--not attempted murder or a hate crime.

I won't show this creep's picture, but NPR, posted it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Plan B

The strongest image of the RISO series on reproductive rights, in my opinion, is Plan B, right. When sifting through the images readily found online and digging a little deeper on pharmaceutical websites and medical journals, I found an NTY article that noted the rush many women have made to purchase Plan B medications and other forms of birth control in the event that restrictions will eventually apply to these areas of reproductive rights as well. 

Get this one: a group called Students For Life Of America is planning to test water "in several large U.S. cities, searching for contaminants that  result from medication abortion." Is this where their financial aid money is going to? Don't these students have something else to do (like...having sex?)

Sunday, January 1, 2023

A Full Redesign, and Now to Print

Since  the original LGBTQ+ was illegible, I had to reconsider the visuals. I redesigned the letters, still in outline, still in process colors, but in a row.

The printer who I'd wanted to print it went out of business as I was waiting for him to quote the job. Grrr. The disappointment is that the fellows over at Highland Press didn't mind me rolling into town to oversee the job to see it print, whereas other presses, would.

Soliciting bids from printers in the NYC area is a drag. "You don't want to print this digitally? Do you know the difference between inkjet and offset?" The usual condescending crap from combed-over print salesmen, although they've mostly graduated from the wood-paneled office with fax machine, bald eagle inspirational posters and  male desk chachkas.

I miss the days of when I was fore(wo)man at a small, fairly horrible press in Long Island City. I'd get the guys there to print just about anything in between runs for BAM membership offers.

Tracey Moffat, from Scarred for Life, offset print
1994. Tate Gallery, London.
Another issue with printing my job offset is the size press. The press where I was a foreman, we had a 4-color Heidelberg GTO (see above), an awesome press that was perfect for small and short runs. The college where I work had three 1-color GTOs, but had to dismantle its printing lab for many reasons--the most obvious one that offset printing is no longer relevant. Shame, but not a shame. And, using it as a fine art machine is beyond what most pressmen want to do; and nothing associated with offset printing is environmentally friendly.

That's not to say that offset was never used as a fine art medium. Tracey Moffat, an Australian artist and filmmaker, used offset printing to create her Scarred For Life I and II series among many other works that was wildly popular in the mid-1990s. At the Art Institute of Chicago, they had a 1-color press (not sure the brand), available to execute prints. Other than E, printing my contact with offset has been limited. However, it's interesting to report that a product now exists to create plastic offset plates that can be made from a laser printer and produce up to 10,000 impressions. The drawback is that the resolution is 133 dpi--lower than the sharpness of a newspaper image.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Right to not be a Slave

I just finished these three and will send them to print this week. A number of iterations were done since I designed the first one in August when Justice Alito leaked that Dobbs and therefore Roe was on the chopping block.

I've been too busy to write about it's development. I had sat down and designed them planning to make RISO prints out of them. The printer who had printed "78" is no longer in business, and finding another printer who could do these was proving difficult.

I had a sneaking suspicion that what I wanted to do wasn't going to be possible using RISO; namely the blending quality doesn't lend itself to RISO giving predictable results. A printer in PA told me to either silkscreen it or print it digitally. Digital printing was out of the question, since digital printing as a printmaking art form is a no-go. And, screening something like these, forget it. Blend upon blend upon blend. I could do it and would so it, I just don't have the facilities.

Two paths taken: Line files were created, and a RISO printer who would take the chance was also sought, with success. Meanwhile, the work was submitted to Woman Made Gallery's ROE 2.0 show and accepted. Off to Chicago at the end of January.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Time flies when you're not having fun

As far as I can remember, I had a fascination with the typeface Clarendon. Turns out, so did one of my painting heroes, Jasper Johns.

I've been a follower of his since I was in high school when I saw a show of his I-forget-where. He inspired me a lot when I was still taking pictures, opening the door to creating layered images. But as I searched the memory banks, I knew I'd seen something he did long ago that resonated with me.

Jasper Johns, 0-9, 1960. Printed by 
Robert Blackburn.

With the gradual chiseling out from the pandemic, I have had a lot of ideas influenced by the constant barrage of news media. For one, the continuous assault on the LGBTQ+ population. 

Bizarre as it is, and that the majority of the nation is absolutely fine with same-sex marriage, the idea of transgender is flipping people out. Laws are attempting to be passed in states about the un-ending battle of transgender individuals in school athletics. 

Why does this matter? Have children been reduced to entertainment such that they need to perform at sporting events? So what if a 5th grade trans kid can jump higher than your daughter in gymnastics? What does that impact?

Most egregiously, however, is that now, parents who help their children with their identity exploration by providing medical care and medications are being investigated for child abuse. The governor of Texas, Greg Abbot (R), has issued directives for Child Proctive Services of Lubbock, TX to begin criminal investigations into the family of a transitioning adolescent who has requested hormone treatment to delay puberty. (

Again. What does this matter? What business is it of a politician in a far-away state mansion to tell parents and their children what to do/not to do? Parents know what their child wants, needs and how best to support them. A transitioning child is an uncertain situation in most families. Why make it worse by someone else--in government, no less?

All this got me thinking, of the freedoms we do have, at least (most of the time) here in New York. As a spectator, the most I can do is support legislation, show up to rallies and create art pieces. The newest is a further consideration of the layering of ideas, using the layering of the 4-color process used in E.  I could write volumes about this, but here's the piece instead, in progress.   

To see E, please visit                              

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

anti REP/anti DEM

Total new burn-out.

The mask and wax sitch has numbed everyone. Pandemic burn-out. Quarantine burn-out. Zoom burn-out.  The mask/vax print bombed. It's making fun of a serious issue; and the wrong crowd was digging it. 

So I changed gears.

Right now Joe and Kamala are trying their best, but losing sleep at the direction we're going is a logical transition. The border is still a mess while the tides of nuts are getting stronger as $millions pour in as donations. According to New York Magazine, the well-of-science Republican representative Marjory Taylor Greene, "on April 10, she announced that she had raised $3.2 million in the first quarter, which is a record in fundraising for a House freshman during an off-year election quarter."

OOO-kay. Make-an-artpiece time. 

Here's my latest creation:

It's a diptych, a stencil print. An edition of five, if that many. Bridges to accommodate the bowls in the a, D, R and P; the design work is silent and compensates for some of the quirks I expect. The piece has to look seamless or will fall flat.

It's a tiny piece, with the print surface being a 2-1/2-inch square. It has to be small. I have another, similar file in the works, a 5-inch square for each print surface. I think if it's big it will lose its message in sensationalism, very much like anti MASK and anti VAX did.

The digital print lab opened my eyes to something interesting, since I had built the files as layers in the application so they would line up. I copied the layers, crop lines registration marksand sent out the three files. 

The phone call from the digital rep came quick, since the RIP couldn't read a few visible layers among eight hidden ones. So, that was fixed and sent out. I got back proofs this morning, the burned (digital cut) plates will be coming in later.

I'll be looking for tiny hinges for the final framing, but right now I'm thinking about the design and how it will translate to the files and hence, the printing. 

Interesting, large and public is the work of other stencil artists. Banksy is the leader of the movement, and there are others: (left) DotDotDot from Norway  and Christian Guémy (C215),  an established graffiti artist from Paris. 


Logan Hicks, left, is a former screen printer from New York. Note the fine hand-stenciling work.

Interesting is that among the artists I found, the female stencil artists are not afraid to highlight women's issues. 

The online art site Wide Walls ( highlights ten, lists them as street artists and also points out that they are among the few that have broken through the traditionally all-male art practice. Shown here is a mural-in-progress by South African artist Faith 47.

Also surprising--I might not have looked hard enough--I found that very little typography is utilized in the work. 

I'll report on my endeavors soon.


[Thanks to Befront magazine for the report:]