Finally finished my animation Shadow Boy and Shadow Girl

You can click on the link to view it here :  https://vimeo.com/208883758

This work has taken me a while to complete, as I started this series of prints two summers ago when visiting Crow’s Shadow Press in the USA.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.54.44

Crows’s Shadow Press is located on a Native American reservation in the eastern high desert of Oregon. This print studio is surrounded by rolling grassland and huge clouds. Distant views of the mountains are filtered a luminous blue with the atmosphere.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.51.48

The area feels ancient. In front of the studio there is a small graveyard: a scattering of graves on a grassy plot, complete with plastic flowers, windmills, flags and clothing, all in homage and reverence.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.52.06

If you were to sit there for a while, you would only hear the fluttering of flags, the crisp rustle of insects in the dry grass, and perhaps the gentle creak of your own muscles and breath.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.52.32

I started to imagine what it would be like to become and then not become again in this place. I started to make a series of prints of a boy and a girl, dressed in clothing from the 1850s, during the time when formal traditional clothing was being abandoned for western styles.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.52.55

In the animation, the boy and girl emerge from the darkness, defined and described by a sequence of white lines. Gradually they change shape and expression, they appear to get older, more serious, lighter and brighter, until eventually they are carved away completely.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.53.09

The images are from two reduction linocuts which I carved and printed in sequence, using only one type of mark: a carved horizontal line. I made 14 prints of each image, one set of prints for the boy and one for the girl. Then I created thousands of in-between frames in photoshop by deleting the frame in front to reveal the frame behind and saving it as a new image.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.53.36

It was difficult to continue to carve away at the figures until almost nothing was left, as it felt like destroying the individuals themselves. I learnt a lot with how much can be said with very minimal lines.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.53.55

In some respects, the progressive carving and whitening of the block could be read as a loose metaphor for the whitening of indigenous populations, as well as a reflection on blurring of the past…

Here it is again https://vimeo.com/208883758

I’m happy to say that the work will be displayed in China next week.

I have taken a selection of 160 frames at life size (each frame is 15 x 20 cm, and there are 80 frames from each sequence) and placed them side by side to show the working process. The inkjet prints of these frames are a rich and velvety black. As the prints do not exist any longer, because the blocks were entirely carved away, it is nice to bring the prints back to life again. The animation and the inkjet prints will be displayed alongside each other in Changsha Normal University in Hunan province, China, during April 2017.

crow girl poster for changsha sheet 01_eecrow girl poster for changsha sheet 02_ee

crow boy poster for changsha 02_rejigged_eecrow boy poster for changsha 03 rejigged_ee

Pictures of the installation to follow!

Advertisements

crow boy7-8_076The animation I was working on is finished! I put the sound track of carving wood onto the background. crow boy9-10_020

I changed the name of the animation to Shadow Boy as the work was started at Crow’s Shadow Press in eastern Oregon, and also because the boy is probably not native Crow.

crow boy10-11_002I learned a lot about how I work, as the animation involved hours of forensic reconstruction of my carving technique.

Here it is: vimeo.com/164877854

 

Shadow Boy animation will be shown in the brand new gallery space in the architectural-award winning Leicester Print workshop, alongside all the 10 linocut printed pages from the book, Swallow Span. The show is titled Light Line, and is a two person show with artist Angela Harding.

I chose the title Light Line as a description of what it is like to carve lino, as I was aware that Angela also works in this medium. Linocuts involve carving channels into lino to leave a light, or white line. We both work from dark to light, and use similar tools and materials. The phrase Light Line is a sort of pun on the phrase, Life Line, which for me is a comment on the act of creativity and expression, as well as in the more literal sense of the strong narrative elements of both of our work…

IMG_5761

Brush drawing for the dog who speaks Crow

I will be in Leicester giving a talk on my work on Thursday 14 July at 6.30 pm (doors open at 6pm, entry £5). All welcome!

50 St. George Street, Leicester, LE1 1QG. http://www.leicesterprintworkshop.com/

Light Line: Angela Harding and Wuon-Gean Ho

3 May – 31 July

(PS. Sometimes links don’t work, so here is the vimeo address on its own: vimeo.com/164877854 )

vimeo.com/161458407

crow boy _black to first frame038In Summer 2015 I went to Crows’ Shadow Press, eastern Oregon, and ended up making a series of 14 reduction prints of a fictional Native American boy and girl. crow boy1-2-017The reduction print process is one where you start off with a lino block which prints black because there are no holes in the surface. crow boy2to3_058As a mark is made with a gouge, that takes some of the block away, and the line which has been carved will print white, so the image becomes lighter and lighter until it disappears.crow boy3to4_110 The act of carving the face and body out of the darkness brought this boy to life but as I continued to carve I felt that I was destroying him with a literal and metaphorical whitening. crow boy3to4_010His face got sadder and sadder, and he looked older and more jaded until his eyes closed and he disappears.

crow boy4to5_102

He still looks youthful and happy so far. Here is a test animation of the first part, made up of a few hundred frames. There are still thousands more to go!

Click on the link here vimeo.com/161458407

crow boy4to5_019

It’s been interesting: reconstructing my carving technique in order to show how an image is pulled out of the darkness.

IMG_3999

I’d quite like to make the girl version as well…

20140212-001956.jpg
These two prints were started last summer in Crow’s Shadow Press in Oregon. There is a weight of silence in the shimmering breeze. It’s one of the few times I can hear my muscles creak, the blood in my ears and the rush of light filtering through trees: a far world from zone one London.
I’m happy to be carving again and feel good to get back to making things rather than thinking the whole time: I’ve always favoured instinct over logic, though there are tales hidden within…