30 May 2009

Wake Up Stanley

To the left is Lac Champlain in Vermont. I was totally unaware of how expensive postage is in Canada, so in order to ship out a bunch of mailing tubes without giving up eating for the next three weeks, I drove back over the border into upstate New York to use the US Postal Service. It actually isn't nearly as big of a hassle as it sounds like. And since I'd never been to Vermont, I decided to take a small detour along the shore of Lac Champlain before making my way back into Quebec. I ended up taking a kind of roundabout way back to the highway, so I drove through a small town in rural Quebec called Lacolle.
Below is a picture of a recent art print I did for an upcoming bird themed group show at Leia Bell's Signed and Numbered Gallery. It was the first thing I printed in my Montreal apartment setup.
I tend to forget how how fun birds are to draw. This particular piece was especially fun to work on.

I used an X-Acto to work subtractively, removing toner from the film to establish highlights (a little move I lifted from Chicago poster artist, Jay Ryan). I've been using clayboard a lot lately, as I've been into working back and forth, adding and removing ink. But I find doing the faux scratchboard technique on photocopy toner yields a slightly crisper result. I've always loved the way Jay uses this technique, particularly the way it contrasts with his signature use of rough pencil rendering. I try to apply it differently when working on my films--which are made form ink drawings-- using more of a straightforward scratchboard approach.
Some new art prints on the way, as well as some mono prints, and a private commission. À la prochaine!

24 May 2009

"Bon session!"

This was one of my first sort of "weekends" where I actually did very little work in quite a while. I kind of cheated and did an exposure test and exposed and washed out two screens for something I will be printing tomorrow. I'm trying out a different emulsion, and I quite like it so far. I also saw some good bands (The Flatliners and Hostage Life). My old band actually played with the Flatliners in 2005 in Ontario. It's really cool to see a punk show where people actually seem excited about what's going on. I tend to see a lot of that in Montreal--it's refreshing.
Today, I saw a French separatist rally and went skateboarding at the world famous Olympic Stadium. I met some very nice locals and got to practice frontside rocks, a bit of French, and in one case both ("C'est mon premier frontside rock en le Big O!"). It has been two years since I last skated at this spot, and it has been difficult adjusting to its unique shape and feel. Nevertheless, there is nothing like it, and I can't wait to skate there again. As a sort of outsider, I try to approach such a sacred local spot with a certain degree of
cautious respect. The locals I met were all extremely nice and offered encouragement as I worked on frontside rocks, tailslides, and backside disasters. Their respective bags of tricks were much larger and considerably more impressive than mine, but as one of them said today, it's really about the energy of the session and how we feed off of and push one another. I can't help but think he was absolutely right. I ended up feeling like I was a part of the skate session rather than just some quiet American lurker. After we were all finished skating, we ended up hanging around and shooting the shit for over an hour. We parted ways shortly after it got dark.
I skated back to the Metro (Montreal's subway system) with a big smile on my face. I simply couldn't help it.

19 May 2009

Almond milk and bagels

Greetings from Montreal! I arrived at the apartment at about 5 AM on Sunday following a fourteen hour drive across Michigan and Ontario. I've already gotten lost in the city once and have engaged in multiple faux arguments with some friends regarding the metric system.
While I still haven't totally unpacked, my light table is set up (right in front of a window, too), and I've been hard at work on two new prints, as well as finishing up some art for a band t shirt. I've also been eating a lot of veggie pâté and tofu dogs, the former being something I've never been able to find in the US, unfortunately.
I do enjoy illustration work, and I'm very happy with the project I'm working on at the moment. But I've been especially excited about these new art prints. Even as I was eating lunch today, I couldn't wait to get back to the light table to continue working.
It's a beautiful late spring evening, and I can hear a bunch of kids playing outside of our living room window. I can't help but smile a bit, as it reminds me of being ten years old again -- just counting the days until summer vacation. With that said, I believe it's time to go skateboarding!

13 May 2009

You might go off

To the left is the art in progress for a poster I'm doing. I've pretty much been drawing since 4 PM, and I'd say it's coming along pretty nicely. However, I'm doing my best to talk myself into calling it quits for the night. I also printed a new poster on my brand new manual press this morning, so needless to say, I'm rather tired.
On Friday of this week, I will be driving to Montreal. I'm moving in with my friend Phil, and I will be living and working (from an apartment) in downtown Montreal for the rest of May and June. I plan on participating in Flatstock 21 in Chicago, so I'll be back in Illinois come July. I have lots of art prints and other projects to work on as soon as I get there, so my first week in Montreal is slated to be a very busy one.
At some point, I do plan to take a short vacation and see some whales or something. Yeah, you can do that in Quebec.

09 May 2009

Notes from the couch

Last night was the opening reception for my show at Within(Reason) in Chicago. I unexpectedly woke up on Wednesday with stomach pain, which ended up being appendicitis. I had surgery to remove my appendix and spent the following day in a hospital bed. I was discharged on Thursday evening and managed to finish installing the show with help from my friends Logan, Vija, and Ron. This show also featured a small group exhibition to raise money for a community library in Nairobi, Kenya.
Earlier during the week, I attended the first meeting of the Chicago Printer's Guild. The aim is to form a local network for support, technique/tip sharing, and social gatherings. The Chicago screen printing scene is notably tight-knit and non competitive. I'm very excited to see what great things will come from the Chicago Printers Guild.
Next on the agenda are two new posters and some prints for a couple of group shows (Screens N Beans and a bird themed print show at Liea Bell's Signed & Numbered gallery). I will also be spending some time in the beautiful city of Montreal this summer---more on that soon!