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?) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/14/abortion-pills-bans-dobbs-roe/

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. (https://www.reuters.com/world/us/texas-investigating-parents-transgender-youth-child-abuse-2022-03-02/)

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 https://democracyspokenhere.blogspot.com/2019/10/athol-massachusetts.html                              

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 (https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/10-female-street-artists) 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: https://befrontmag.com/2016/06/21/the-7-most-influential-stencil-artists-of-our-time/]

Monday, February 8, 2021

No End to the Project

The Election was a disaster. And so was the aftermath. I don't need to write about it. We were all injected with the daily trauma. Weekly displays on SNL weren't funny because they mirrored the reality we were seeing on the news. We laughed because it we've become cynical and macabre. 

A friend and I were zoom-watching the certification of the vote and instead saw in horror as the Capitol was breached by a mob of angry yahoos. True, when I talk like this, I'm seen as a pretentious, elitist liberal, but hey, I didn't beat up a cop with an American flag. 

"We love you, you're very special." Print
available at Diamondxpres.com.

The dress rehearsal for this event was in Lansing a few months before. Frustrated, fully armed white men saw they could get away with yelling in cops' faces at the Michigan capitol building. So, they figured Washington DC would be a piece of cake. 

The Republicans I know were stunned; they backed away as carefully as they could. After speaking with a politically-savvy relative in a far-away land, we both came to the conclusion that this hideous event wasn't going to disappear for a long time. Ten years. Maybe more. 

The second impeachment trial promised to take a week or so. It's almost old hat since we've been through the constant barrage of insane news in the last five years that we're burnt out. Even the senate minority leader is numb. A strategy if I ever saw one.

So now I'm back to work on a list of new ideas, on a list of issues.

COVID hangs over us like the grim reaper on a cold, damp night. The scores of people hanging out without PPE is astounding. You don't see anything like that in NYC. Not only do we have some major mandates, but, like 9/11, we took the hit for the rest of the country. We suffered so horribly in the spring that we're not taking any more chances.

More astounding is the vaccine debacle. We'll never know what happened there. Why didn't we order enough? 350 million people at 2 doses, you'd think those greedy pharma execs would have looked ahead (read: at their wallets) if our health officials were sleeping at the wheel.

And then, there's the distribution, a sssssit show just as rancid as the anti-vaxxers and their hand-written posters trolling those in their cars at vax sites, grasping at their chance to go back to life as it was before. 

Fat Chance. Invest in masks. Everyone's gonna need two to trick the variant(s). Vaccine or not. 

So, here's my latest. A little miniature diptych. Just gotta get the hinges and I'm set. I'll post when it's done.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Goals Are Relative

Gladly, I made my goal a few days ago.

I bemoan my ignorance of web analytics, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing. I had a full two weeks to go and could have really made a strong promotional push, but I don't know the works. When I ran a campaign five years ago, I had cancelled the first try for Steel Ice & Stone. 

I then pounded social media daily for three months. Daily. Multiple platforms. And, two, sometimes three postings on the blog every week. Users were directed first to the KS then to the website, then back to the KS. I was relentless. However, that goal was much larger, and for a highly experimental piece. 

I underestimated the appeal of a salient issue to sell/promote an idea/project. It's all in the marketing. 

Interestingly, four--count'em--crowd funding marketing services wrote to me offering their services to help me surpass my expectations. One even offered a $50 pledge to my project. I paid them no mind. 

Another thing I have to say, however...I came up with the design and immediately planned and launched the campaign--in a week. It took KS longer to approve the project than it did to prepare the campaign. Maybe that could be the issue. More planning next time.