WG show invite june 2016My mum, a former nurse and midwife, is a constant source of amusement for the whole family, with her clear ideas on celebrity drugs (‘I just want a happy death’), keen interest in UKIP, and dirty humour when it comes to talking about the body. Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 13.40.52She has been a brilliant model to film over the past two years: a natural actress who loves having the camera listen to her radical views. Getting older and weaker has made her more inventive, more resilient and resourceful. Even though the journey to see my dad in the care home is a four hour return trip, and her vision and balance is ropey, she will still plug into her ipod, hop on the bus and enjoy the ride. Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.47.42She definitely has the balls. So, I made her a ring with a pair of balls which she gleefully refers to as Mao’s testicle ring (she misheard me when I said I’d made a ring with mouse testicles).  pendulous ring The above is a 3D file which was then printed on a 3D printer in wax. This was then attached to a ‘tree’ for casting in silver. Most of the rings I’ve been making over the past couple of years are hand-built and carved out of wax, so working with a 3D printed model is a new departure.IMG_1221IMG_1713 1As she has also survived breast cancer, I made her a breast ring too, which is meant to be worn with the nipple fitting snugly in the palm of the hand.IMG_2532_e_breast ringOnce I got into the idea of rings as trophies of desirable or missing body parts I couldn’t stop making them. Here is the bush ring. IMG_2503_bush ring_eThe film I made of my parents, Stoke Junkie, alongside more rings, books and prints will be displayed at the Royal College of Art Sculpture building, 15-25 Howie Street, Battersea, SW11 4AS from 26 June to 3 July. 12–8pm every day (apart from closed on 1 July). Drop me a line if you can make it! I’d love to show you around.

If you can’t make it, the film can be viewed at low res on vimeo here (sorry the sound quality is not great)

And the trailer is here

Colour pencil drawings have helped me to make colour prints again. I was keen to make new prints for a show in Southwark that opened this week, so, telling myself there was nothing to lose, I threw myself wholeheartedly into the process, like a (very) rusty jazz musician.


Layering colour is a bit like playing a visual version of jenga. At first you feel like you could put any colour, anywhere, but after a while the game gets dangerous, one layer too many and the whole thing comes crashing down… Some of these prints were just nasty, but it was interesting to see what the subconscious mind would produce so I kept on making… And some of the prints are completely unexpected and surprising and make me smile.IMG_1013





Mid hang chaosIMG_1067

It’s been an interesting journey making work with no idea of what the end outcome will be. My carving is generally about concept, narrative and structure, so bringing in colour makes the prints more about emotion. I’ve enjoyed the freedom of making monoprints, and throwing together all the colours in my box of inks. (Now thinking it could be good to get in some more blues and greens…)

For those who live in London, the show is up til the end of Sunday 6th Feb, at Café Gallery, Southwark Park, London, from 11-4.

These photos were made for a show called Poetry Scores Hawaii-Look Like What It Means that opens on February 15th in Hilo.The show is based around a collection of 25 poems by beat generation poet, Albert Saijo(1926-2011) who was a California-born Japanese-American writer. His style was distinctive, writing in capital letters, combining a fluid stream of haiku-like phrases with a playful honesty. I was invited by juror Phil Sanders to pick a poem to respond to.IMG_1640_e

The poem I chose was called PAB


I wish I could see the show: any sponsors out there please get in touch!

taiwan invite

My screenprint, Beyond the Moon, has been selected for the 16th International Biennial Print Exhibit in the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. The opening was today: wish I could have gone along! Show continues until 26 October so if any of you happen to be in the area, do drop by and let me know what it’s like!

beyond_moon_silkscreen_eIt’s perfect timing with respect to the recent super moon sightings in the UK in mid August….

I still have some of these prints left, so get in touch if you would like one.


I’m very happy to announce I’ve been awarded two prizes in the past month!

I was awarded First Prize for my books in the competition, Books of Desire, in the Classense Library, Ravenna, Italy.

This was for three books: EMBRACEDEVOURBAMBOO DREAM


The jury commented as follows:

La giuria ha riconosciuto nelle opere di Wuon-Gean Ho, non solo una straordinaria perizia tecnica e una padronanza assoluta di mezzi espressivi estremamente ardui da maneggiare ma, soprattutto, la capacità di porre ogni tecnica grafica al servizio di un immaginario “universale”; insomma un vero genio della pratica grafica e delle sue implicazioni coniugate alla contemporaneità.

(Which google translate says means, ‘The jury recognized in the works of Wuon-Gean Ho, not only an extraordinary technical expertise and an absolute mastery of the expressive means extremely difficult to handle but, most importantly, the ability to ask any graphic technique at the service of an imaginary “universal”; in short, a true genius of the practice and its implications graphics conjugated to the contemporary.’) (!?!!!)

The show runs until the 7th June, so there’s still a few days left to see it, if you are in the area. For more information please see here.


And I’ve just received the British Institution Award at the Royal Academy Summer Show which opened today, for my book, Unending Forest, that I made last year after a stay in Wales, combining the forest from West Wales with trees in East London.

The Royal Academy Summer Show is the world’s largest open entry exhibition and says,

‘We’ve been holding the show for nearly 250 years – that’s nine British monarchies, 43 US Presidents, two World Wars and more than 50 British Prime Ministers. Throughout that time, the Summer Exhibition has remained a powerful barometer of the art of each age. And the same simple premise has always applied – anyone can enter and all of the works are chosen by leading artists.’





Due to a camera malfunction there are no pictures of me receiving the prize, but here are some pictures of the general knees up afterwards!





I’m completely over the moon to be selected for both of these…

If you are in London, the RA Summer Show is from 9 June – 17 August, more information online here



I’ve just come back from Dundee, Scotland, for a biannual printmaking conference called IMPACT. Back in 2009 I attended my first Impact conference in Bristol, and gave a talk on Marcelle Hanselaar and other printmakers who use animals in their work. I also put up a wall of printed proofs from the mask series. The 2011 Impact was based in Melbourne where I marvelled at the Aborigine paintings, enjoyed roo stew, and displayed my dancing dress prints. This year, Dundee was the host city, and they generously gave me a huge space to exhibit work; this was a great opportunity to try an installation of three series of works. First of all, a panel of 64 dancing dress prints fit the space perfectly.



Next I put a long book up which was a variation on the Unending Forest. This shows the trees of West Wales (Aberystwyth) if viewed from the far west, and the trees of East London (Hackney) if viewed from the east. The forests are mirrored so the trees morph into a hybrid reflected landscape. The staff at Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art made the fantastic shelf to measure for the book on the day, and I like the colour of it, and the elegant triangular struts. 


Finally, the forest prints fit into a little room which had been intended for my animation. I decided that it would be interesting to panel the walls of the room with the prints. If I had had time and energy I would have liked to create a really different world, with a darkened ceiling and pine needled floor, and a velvet curtain over the entrance. Inside I would like to have one of those old fashioned lanterns, perhaps with a candle, and people would go in to explore the spooky space alone. The music that Andrew McPherson made for the prints: Beyond the Moon, was playing on continuous loop in the space, which gave it a lot of atmosphere.ImageImageImageImage

The room which I had been allocated was next to two other artists’ shows which turned out to be my favourite in the whole group of over 50 different exhibitions. Paul Furneaux makes intensely quiet Japanese Woodblock prints and often layers the washi onto three dimensional structures such as hot water bottles (metal ones) or pole like constructions. His work is abstract and has a very beautiful colour palette, restrained neutrals next to glimpses of near fluorescent bands of colour. ImageImage

My other neighbour was Reinhard Behrens who had constructed an arctic hut and made some exquisite drawings of a fantasy land called Naboland, which at first glance seemed to be as if part of an anthropology museum had relocated to a gallery space. His collected artefacts of miniature clothing and furniture adorned the inside of a believable living area, complete with space for work and prayer, a backlit painting of a glacier landscape and an overall rusty retro aesthetic. He commented that the music from my forest room complemented the slightly mournful nostalgic air of his construction.



Other shows that I really enjoyed were:

David Faithfull and Edward Summerton’s drinkable edition of beer called Perennial Drift, which took the idea of creating a multiple to its logical conclusions.Image

State of the States, a fabulous portfolio of prints from invited US artists. I was thrilled to recognise lots of names in the etching section! The prints were of a really high standard, and the vision ambitious and quirky, all strong points of the US printmaking vibe at the moment.ImageImage



Sean Caulfield’s monumental woodblock prints were stuck to the wall– I think you can tell how large they are by the size of my shadow in the bottom of the picture.ImageImage

Liz Ingram and Bernd Hildebrandt’s long litho/ mixed media book on swimming called Turbulent Chroma: The Imperatives of Water and Body.Image

A great series of woodblock prints by Henrich HeyImage

There are many more shows and prints that I enjoyed which I didn’t photograph at all, the range of ideas and execution was very inspiring. David Ferry’s panels of Pop British culture, a wall full of money, Anita Jensen’s velvety ink jet prints of shells and film stills from Japan, and so on.

Of course the demos and portfolios were a lot of fun too. I particularly liked seeing a demo on conductive ink which inspired a lot of hilarity as a battery placed over the two printed lines could complete circuits and activate either light or sound: here the nose glows.Image

Tim Moseley had some beautiful books based on the haptic experience: books that challenged the viewer to tear and modify in order to “read” them. He prints colour on both sides of translucent Japanese paper and then binds the pages in trastional book format, but also sticks pages together. The act of tearing the work in order to explore what lies between the hidden areas feels very transgressive!


Finally, all good conferences have some good talks. About a third of the talks were great, but many were poorly delivered, and some with uninspiring or frustratingly dense content. One of my favourite talks was by Marjorie Devon, talking about how artists who come to make prints have been profoundly affected in the rest of their work. She had gathered some hilarious quotes such as Askin, “As far as I’m concerned (printmaking) is the best thing ever invented, better than sex and rocky road icecream”; Cohen, “(Printmaking) refreshes me, shows me new ways of solving old problems”; and Close, “Ideas are generated by activity”. Another inspiring talk was Suzanne Anker, who gave an excellent keynote speech on biotechnology, covering diverse facts such as the use of bio-ink on cell friendly bio-paper to print hearts that have an intrinsic heart beat, and pointing out that the replication of DNA involves the use of a matrix to make copies– a kind of printing of course! The best panel I came across was one on animation, with Ben Partridge, Nathan Meltz and Andrew Super each describing the use of time in their respective works. In terms of delivery, my favourite talk was by Richard deMarco, now in his 80s, who paced the hall like a hungry lion and proclaimed Scotland, “The oldest landmass in the world, the land of Macbeth, the land of the witches… I would like to congratulate you all for being in Dundee and not being in Edinburgh!”

Dundee Contemporary Arts down the road welcomed us to visit their workshop, complete with electronic etching press, and we also visited the Sister Corita Kent show in the gallery.




All in all it was a super fun experience, and meeting lots of friendly printmakers from all over the world made every minute worthwhile.Image

Girls from Glasgow


Girls from Norwich


Tamarind master printers and the Aber crowd in one small pub boothImage

Paul Croft with a print portfolio APPPImage

Kari Laitenen doing a woodblock demoImage

Boys from WrexhamImage

A big thank you to Umberto Giovannini, fellow printmaker, who helped me put the show up and take it down. Looking forward to the next conference when it comes back to Europe in 2017!


Mirror Mirror

Ian Boyden and Wuon-Gean Ho

Aug 1 – Aug 31, 2013
Artists’ Talk, August 11, 3:00 pm


Lansu Lake, Relief print, Wuon-Gean Ho 2013


Lan Su Chinese Garden’s current art exhibition “Mirror Mirror: Ian Boyden and Wuon-Gean Ho” features works by American artist Ian Boyden and British artist Wuon-Gean Ho. Their videos, prints, painting, and sculpture interpret their personal experiences in the garden. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.
Boyden and Ho respond to the garden from ecological, historical, cultural and psychological perspectives. Boyden’s work draws from his experiences living and working in classical gardens in Suzhou, China, as well as his recognized expertise with Chinese inks. Ho’s work is driven by her mastery of Japanese woodblock printing and her Chinese heritage, which both feed her narratives of identity and dreams.The show occupies two rooms in the garden. In one, a dreamlike video installation by both artists contemplates self-identity in the context of the garden, and playfully hijacks the bystanding observers—the resident ornamental carp. In Boyden’s video, carp kiss and devour his head: life-sized self-portraits cast out of fish food. In Ho’s video, a mindscape sequence of self-portraits portrays a microcosm of the external world. Around both videos swim a school of Ho’s relief prints of carp.

The second room features prints by Ho and paintings and an installation by Boyden. Ho’s prints depict a love story set within a Chinese garden, where a man meets a mysterious woman not of this realm. The characters are inextricably entwined with the theatrical space of the garden, and the love story can be traced as a theme running through all her prints in the show. Boyden’s installation is of two self-portrait heads made of concrete, engaged in a game of weiqi (go in Japanese). The scene is flanked by columns inscribed with calligraphy by Hua Rende, a cherished teacher of Boyden’s and about whom Boyden wrote a book entitled Reflections on Forgotten Surfaces (2005).

Discussing the self-portrait installation, Boyden says, “Last year, as artist-in-residence at the Jia Yuan Garden in Suzhou, China, I submerged 15 self-portrait heads in one of the ponds. Each head dispensed fish food from the mouth, prompting the carp to put the finishing touches on the pieces. Over 14 months, the carp polished the mouths of the portraits until the pieces were declared complete.”

Ho and Boyden’s work reflect an exploration of how we are informed by the vestiges of the past. Through both their work they create a parallel dream world that links us to our experience of the Chinese garden.

Ian Boyden
Ian Boyden’s practice links the literary, material, and visual imagination. He has an abiding interest in East Asian aesthetics: he studied in China and Japan; received degrees in the History of Art from Wesleyan University and Yale University; and recently spent a year in China researching the history of carbon inks and designing an art gallery for one of Suzhou classical gardens. In 1998, Boyden founded Crab Quill Press, an imprint through which he has published several artist books. His work has been exhibited internationally including a solo exhibition at the Suzhou Museum in 2012, and is in public collections including Reed College, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Suzhou Museum. He is currently living in Otis, Oregon, where he is an artist-in-residence at Grass Mountain. You can learn more about him at his website: 

Wuon-Gean Ho
Wuon-Gean Ho graduated in History of Art from Cambridge University, before taking up a Japanese Government Scholarship in 1998 to study traditional woodblock printmaking in Kyoto. She lives and works in London, UK, creating prints, artists’ books and animations, and also participates regularly in international residencies: notably Caldera Arts Center, Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts and the Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology, all in the USA; the Bluecoat Arts Centre and Aberystwyth School of Art in the UK, and the castle of Montefiore Conca in Italy. She was awarded the John Purcell Paper prize in 2007; the Printmakers’ Council prize in 2009; and the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust Award of Excellence in 2010, and her artist books are in the collection of the Tate Library and the National Art Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum. To learn more about Wuon-Gean, please visit her website or blog

Lan Su Chinese Garden 
Located at 239 NW Everett Street, Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of Portland’s greatest treasures. A tranquil oasis in the heart of the city, Lan Su is a powerfully inspiring experience that takes you through time, offering a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking. Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily admission is $9.50 with reduced rates for students, seniors & special family rate. Learn more at Phone: 503-229-8131

Sitka Center For Art and Ecology
Founded in 1970 on the Oregon coast, the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology offers summer creative workshops and winter residencies for artists, musicians and natural scientists. We invite people of all ages and abilities to take a class in the inspiring natural setting of Cascade Head and discover your core creative self in the process. Workshops are 1-5 days long. Learn more at Phone: 541-994-5485


Mindy Chaffin
Events Coordinator
Sitka Center for Art & Ecology
56605 Sitka Drive, Otis OR 97368

Scott Steele
Director of Marketing & Communications
Lan Su Chinese Garden
503.228.8131 ext. 1011

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