In the summer, I made a short film composed with all the little linocuts that I’ve created since the beginning of lockdown, with a voiceover of me talking about my private hopes, fears and absurdities. It’s six minutes long, with six months of prints in it: and you can see it here!

I’d like to talk about some of the extra prints which I put in the video.

Poison Cloak (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut 15 x 20 cm

I know we are all now wearing masks, but I couldn’t help imagining the particles of our personal microbiome spilling out into the world, touching everyone who ventures into our zone. I was temporarily obsessed with the fear of being a secret super-spreader (a person who could merrily infect dozens more than the average carrier): and whether I would find out before it was too late.

Screen Overload (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut and Monoprint

Working from home became a thing. It was something I was doing before, but only twice a week: now I was there all the time. I pictured my body attenuating under the strain of working through the screen, like some kind of spider trapped in a web of her own making.

Death by Email (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut and monoprint, 15 x 20 cm

During Spring, the weather became absolutely and infuriatingly beautiful, but outdoor time was restricted. In my little flat, stacked above and below and beside a hundred other little flats, the westerly sunshine would stream in and cook the floor and fill the room with a dancing fug of warmth. Even with every window open to the max, the heavy air brought no refreshment, and the lassitude from computer work made me wonder whether it might actually be possible to die from too many emails.

Gilded Binbag (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut 15 x 20 cm

I am so grateful to live alone. My space is safe and spacious for one person, and it’s the first time I have had a place I can call home. I wanted to draw this space as a kind of golden cage, but it turned out looking a little bit more like an upside-down parachute, or a bulging plastic bin bag…

Lockdown Chop (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut and monoprint, 15 x 20 cm

Lockdown chop: actually, I’ve cut my own hair for a while. There’s two reasons: firstly I love the sound of scissors slicing and scattering hair, it’s very soothing. Secondly, I have a mild phobia of hairdressers (they usually marvel at the coarseness and thickness and always promise they’ll do something magical, forgetting to mention that a lot of styling products will be part of the magic)… This time round, I knew that my efforts would not need approval from the outside world.

This orchid plant is a gift from my Japanese Woodblock class students at East London Printmakers from 2013. She’s moved house with me three times and always blossoms for months and months. When movement was most restricted, putting my face next to her petals made me feel so happy, as if I had come really close to another living, responsive being.

Virtual Hands (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut, 15 x 20 cm

When lockdown ended, I made a trip to visit my dad for the first time in months. It was so lovely to see him, yet so brief. For reasons of safety, I was not permitted to touch him, even though our usual interactions would have included me washing his face and doing his hair. I wished I could have sent over a million pairs of hands to his side of the fence.

My Love! (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut and Monoprint, 15 x 20 cm

I have been helping out on weekends and evenings as a vet in my local clinic. This job always provides a welcome antidote to an overdose of solo time: unlike most vet clinics this place allows clients to enter with their pets. Direct work with real living beings provided a chance for me to remain in touch with the world. Working with people and animals in real life brings so much absurdity and adrenaline…!

Whewwww I can’t believe it’s been ten whole months since I last wrote a blog post. Life has changed, the world is upside down, and I’m still making little linocuts to soothe the soul, inject humour in the day, and explain to myself what I think is going on.

horro scroll colour

The first few weeks of working alone, isolated in my flat in East London, were a mix of relief at stopping my commute, tinged with fear of the virus. I would spend hours looking at my phone, wading through pages of horror stories, like an unending river of disaster and dread. I couldn’t really do much but worry about my parents.

pray to blossom colour_e

The tree outside the bathroom window became a wall of blossom and I would open the window really wide, and stare out into the breeze, and pray that everyone I know would stay healthy.

Bracken House garden print

Likewise, the communal gardens were bursting into leaf, and it was just so nice to sit under the dappled shade, even though my thoughts were of death and destruction.

blue mood_e

Sometimes I’d make myself extremely sad by wishing hard for a hug. Then I’d think, that as no-one had seen my face for days and days in real life, that perhaps I didn’t have a face anymore, and that I was in effect just a paper bag ghost.

dream lunch colour

My paper bag ghost would still be hungry. I’d think of my dream meal, inspired by mum’s mackerel with belly stuffed full of curry powder and onions, with blistered skin and sweet sticky rice. The sun was shining every day and I would set the table on the balcony and make myself a bowlful of raspberries with sweet vanilla ice cream.

send help in colour

Somedays I didn’t speak out loud all day, and my train of thought would start to crumble, as if my sense of identity, without a listening ear, was optional.

I'm doing fine

Somedays I would start drinking at 4pm to see if it made anything better. Somedays I tried video conferencing parties with friends. It didn’t really help…

covid zoomin_e

There are undoubtable benefits to working from home. I can now attend zoom meetings while sitting on the floor of the bathroom, with no trousers on, if I want to.

two metres colour_e

I can go for a jog in the neighbourhood and terrify the locals by infringing on their two metre zone.

yoga bum_e

Facebook Live videos of exercise classes have become my favourite moment of the day. With all the isolation, inactivity, stress baking and comfort eating, my bottom is getting bigger, but at least it makes mum laugh.

home studio at night

Anyhow, this series is ongoing: I have many more prints that I would like to make. My tiny desk in the corner of the living room is a lot more than I would have had if I were living in rented accommodation in one room, as I did for the past 20 years. And the best thing about a handmade print (oh! actual ink on actual paper!) is that you can chop it down, scribble on the back, and post it to wonderful people, like an old-fashioned talisman.

I'm doing fine blue

PS.

I gave a talk on my print series a couple of weeks ago, and mentioned some of these prints towards the end. If you are interested, have a watch here (it’s 23 minutes long, and was a seminar hosted by the Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.)

https://vimeo.com/413495704

 

 

 

 

The Novosibirsk International Triennial of Contemporary Graphic Arts in Russia: Oh, What a fancy sounding show! I’ve seen some technical and graphic excellence from Russian and former Soviet Union artists, and imagine the show will be full of excellent work.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.54.44

I’ve been invited to take part by a curator of the digital section, Derek Besant.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.51.48

For those who know my work, it’s resolutely analogue, except I do make many of my prints into animations! So, the use of digital software qualifies me to take part.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.52.55

I’ve submitted Shadow Boy and Shadow Girl, as two sets of still frames (nine frames per panel) and the animation on a flash drive. Fingers crossed the film works over there!

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.53.55

The Novosibirsk International Triennial of Contemporary Graphic Arts runs from 14 Sept to 4 Nov.

If you’d like to see the animation, it’s here:  https://vimeo.com/208883758