It’s been a weird year, and a facet of the weirdness has been very little work independently released here on AP. I have been busy but with all sorts of weird stuff that in hindsight is mostly just distractions. Often necessary or good but distractions nonetheless.
It is important to know why you do things, reasons, I mean for the most part antiquated press is all about creating work that lacks the obvious reason and purpose which comes along with projects and jobs and the like. It is about compulsions and hands-never-being-idle, and working in the medium of intaglio printmaking methodically and consistently till always. But then reasons happen. less intrinsic fun projects and endeavors. Not sure what i am saying, except that 2017 was weird. It did bring a lovely show for Antiquated Press, and the massive undertaking of “Whale” and a number of AP things that won’t fully be realized till next year and years to come.
2018 will be more productive, of that I am certain.
I do have a new print, just posted it. And It is also part of a wonderful gallery show 100X100 (all about affordable accessible independently created contemporary art) at the IGCA
. It is “Moon” a 14X14 etching. All done in aquatint. It is an edition of 60 and sales go to support the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. The very same gallery that hosted my show. It is a gallery I have grown quite fond of over the years.
For this print i chopped up the copper into 60 equal pieces, I numbered each and with every print buyers get a piece of the copper. Pretty cool interactive edition thing..
anyhow here are some photos of the process and the final etching.
The whole of the etching was done in aquatint using step biting. I liked working in the negative, but i absolutely missed making lines. I am most comfortable making marks.
I got a nice deep velvety aquatint. Very pleased with my blacks
The plate all freshly etched and clean from removing all the layers of stop out
Inked up very toothy
After proofing and then pulling the full edition. I etched the back of the plate with the edition numbers
I chopped the plate up, and rounded the edges and drilled a hole (so it can hang on a nail)
Since this will be in a show and has the added facet of the copper pieces i built a cabinet/frame. I have been working on a number of wood projects lately so it was fun and familiar. I used some scrap mahogany (beautiful stuff to work with)
sixty prints, sixty tags, sixty nails, glad I didn’t do 100 :)
cabinet all hung in the gallery
Pretty pleased with the interactive nature of this as a gallery piece.
I had the opportunity to exhibit a collection of my etchings at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage Alaska. This was my first opportunity to exhibit close to home and really visually celebrate the medium.
I took some photos of the exhibition.
In concert with the show I also produced my largest etching yet “Whale”.
the final edition measures 25.5″ by 53″ and was a bear to etch, ink and pull on my press. I will be releasing it next week. Also I always set aside some editions for use in an exhibition. And so i will be listing several previously sold out prints in the editions page.
Thanks to IGCA and everyone who came to the show. It was really pretty great.
Hello, so i just posted info about the pre sale for the all new edition from antiquated press. It is a pretty neat print that was so fun to work on. Technically it is my most ambitious project. Multiple hard grounds, aquatints, spit bites. You name it - I threw it at this guy. It is also about 100 square inches larger than my last biggest copper. SO yeah, its got this outrageous content.. crazy process and its huge. I even got a video of me pulling one of the regular editors
When I finally get through all the work in putting together an edition, series, release etc. It is quite the experience releasing it. It starts out with being a huge pain in the ass. I love etching and making these prints, I love the process and the medium and materials. But ugh, the websites and the photos and the “doing everything correctly” is really tough because I tend to be a fuck up.
I grew up reading Richard and Wendy Pini Elfquest books. They had a major impact on me. I was a big fan of Skywise and all things woflriders. Add to that watchign the littles on saturday mornings and basically, if you’re a tiny magical creature.. you are gonna have an awesome steed. It just makes sense.
This is a six etching series. Fox, Hare, Snail, Moth, Sea Chariot and Owl. They are all 6″X9″ copper plates printed on 10″X13″ arches. THey are limited to 40 and well I really ended up pleased with the lot of them. It was fun to work on these smaller plates (especially after the beast that was Regatta). Here are some photos:
Hare: Just a basic hard ground, no aquatint or anything like that. Hare isnt the most exciting of the riders but it might be my favorite.
Sea Chariot: I utilized both hard ground and aquatinit in this etching. I actually drew this as just a drawing years ago, it became a t shirt as well at one of the big shirt places. But I have wanted to revisit it in copper for quite some time. I am far more pleased with this etching than the original drawing.
Snail: This one is also just a basic hard ground. Lots of step biting though. It has a pretty great texture to in due to some pretty deep etched lines.
Owl: Hard ground and aquatint. It was probably the one that gave me the most grief in the process. But still super fun etching to work on
Moth: Hardground, Basically drew itself, I loved working on the thistle, and the little rider is smaller than a nickle so i was working with a loupe and a tiny needle.
Fox: Technically, I am most pleased with this one.Mainly because I have struggled with step biting in aquatint (I am still trying to make acrylic aquatint usable) But It actually worked with this one. So all i see is aquatint step biting win haha
And there’s all the final proofs (with margins cut off) taped to my wall next to my workarea.
Since these etchings are smaller than my normal work, it presented an opportunity to SHIP FLAT (yay, loud noises) Tubes are not so bad, but my mailman gives me grief. And they are kinda tough to do something fun with. After the violently satisfying custom work I did on the astronaut santa christmas cards. I wasn’t gonna miss the opportunity to something cool with the packaging on this series. And because of our Melancholy Press project we are fully equipped on the letterpress side. I ordered some plates with some riders logos. Ordered some polybags and found some REALLY NICE black tyvek envelopes. Water proof, tear proof etc. yay right? well not so much, the paper company basically considers Alaska to be on the moon. When I say my envelopes went from truck to plane, to a freaking BOAT out in the pacific ocean.. I am serious. It took a gruelingly long time to get the envelopes. And I really wasn’t going to be okay with just normal envelopes… I wanted to print them up with silver metallic ink.. it had to be black :(
All the packages also have double thick corrugated cardboard on tops and bottoms to protect the etchings, and each print is polybagged with a cool chipboard backer. I am pleased. I hope it is a nice thing to get in the mail.
SO yeah. I set aside 15 of the 40 editions for matching numbered sets. And gave a break on the price if you get the whole set. But those sold out in the presale, so I added 7 more. This doesn’t really effect anything, but I mention it because if you order just a single print, they will be in the edition numbers of 23-40. I think even if the sets all sell out again, I will leave up the set option and just try to find matching numbers as I go. Until theres only singles left.
Like I mentioned earlier, I had some pieces in the Mondo House Party SXSW show that happened last week. It was an amazing show with incredible talent. And I do have a pretty neat Etching I did for Monty Python, Based on the Crimson Permanent Assurance skit. That show will take place in Leeds UK - but is rescheduled to probably sometime in May. I will probably send out another awkward newsletter with lots of mistakes. Haha
Oh, speaking of neat things!! so for those out there who have a Fireflies.. or clockworks etchings. The television show Hawaii FIve O purchased a bunch of my prints to decorate the office of
Jerry Ortega’s (Jorge Garcia)… (HURLEY!!) bunker office. Since Jorge is a regular on the show, his office shows up quite a bit and it is oddly surreal seeing Fireflies making regular appearances.
And Lastly, I wanna show off this amazing framing job on a Regatta. This comes from my dear friend (and phenominal artist, author) Terry Fan.
Pretty nice with the black matting huh? Terry has good taste.
Thanks for hanging with me, if you read all of this. I have some fucking rad stuff in the works. Really. There will probably be two more releases in 2016, and they are gonna be ambitious. I hope to do better with posting things, but really i prefer to be in the studio scratching on copper. I have been trying to use instagram more. I posted progress shots on riders there.. look me up if you do the whole IG thing @isaboja
We have been secretly working on this project for a couple months. And now that they are arriving in folks Mailboxes I figured I would post a little “Astronaut Santa Story” Cause well, even though by all appearances these are basically christmas cards.. from our perspective they were this huge project with a million little steps that was as satisfying as it was challenging.
It started with wanting to do a christmas card for 2015. But I had this vision of something different. First off we wanted to do a small intaglio print. (Which ended up being the largest Intaglio edition to come out of AP). We printed up hundreds of these little prints. I used mainly scrap arches from various other prints. So there are some paper variances. And it was time consuming.. But insanely satisfying,There was no concern for marketability or sales or release dates or anything. It is so cool doing something exactly how we want it without any bullshit distracting from the point of it all. Intensely enjoyable.
After printing and flattening. We went to work on the backers. Decided to send these out in a polybag with a rigid chipboard backer. And then just simply print a christmas message on the back of the chipboard..
That’s the metal type for the backer, Love using metal type, Luckily Donna is a champ at setting type. Cause I have these useless sausage fingers.
And there is the heartfelt message. We did another run through the C&P to give a nice metallic silver medallion. It has a lovely embossment into the chipboard. I am quite fond of these backers.
We printed on the Intaglio itself too. It is rare to get an opportunity to use a gothic font. There was no hesitation on pulling the trigger on Gothic Font haha. The mixture of Intaglio and Letterpress is so cool. It’s a tactile experience!!
For the envelopes we wanted to do something different too. Astronaut Santa can’t be mailed in a bland envelope.. nope nope. So we bought the biggest damn roll of kraft paper in the world. 800 feet should be enough right? and proceeded to cut and glue hundreds of envelopes. yeehaw This was a family affair - (Sally and our Niece Tracy were huge helpers)
Which of course had to get run through the C&P as well.. (more gothic font.. just screams yuletide cheer)
And went ahead and threw some silver on the back as well for good measure.
Then we addressed and packed and glued them all up. We checked and double checked and hopefully only a couple of you got empty envelopes haha
Last but not least, we busted out my hundred year old perforator.. cause you know - perforation is important -
And well then we mailed them all off - and that was pretty damn stressful. I had a panicky feeling leaving the post office, like all my envelopes would fall apart in the mail machines.. inexplicable irrational.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays to all of you, I hope your cards make it safely. Me, Donna, Sally and Lil Joe Appreciate you all with the force of a thousand exploding suns. .
so 2015 is winding down and I have been working on these plates for most of it. Actually I think I started Airship in 2014… But Regatta is the real beast. Largest most difficult etching to date. the plate itself is three feet wide and the final editions measure 40″ X17″ just dealing with that sized paper (at 270 gsm Arches) is a challenge. The editions for both are low at 30. and as usual they are in the AP editions page http://www.antiquatedpress.com/Editions/
Here is a nice photo of the man himself… Mat Pringle
And scattered throughout all these words are photos of our collaboration: The Phantom Huntsman.
And for your reading pleasure, Mat and I did this Q&A discussion about this collaborative effort.
___________ cue intro music ________________
Joe: So it is pretty great we finally get to release this collaboration! (loud noises) It was a long time coming, but the final product is pretty great. For those who do not know, the way Mat and I collaborated on this piece was he drew the original illustration and I interpreted it on copper. Mat: That is pretty much the gist.
Joe: So Mat, you are a London based artist. An illustrator and printmaker extraordinaire who I have admired and considered a pal for years. For those not familiar with you - how would you describe your work?
Mat: Ha it’s odd in this day and age we seem to gather friends from afar without ever meeting them and before you know it you’ve been pals for ten years or so and you still haven’t met each other and yet with us all plugged into this brave new world of social media we can follow each other’s exploits relatively closely! I always remember discovering your work on Threadless and being totally blown away by your drawing technique and fantastical concepts so it was a real joy to see you move into printmaking full time.
My work is predominantly me, my trusty dipping pen and a bottle of Indian ink. Just about everything I do be it lino or increasingly watercolour pieces stem from that initial pen and ink line work. It’s evolved over time from being obsessively detailed into a slightly less detailed style - I think this is to do with confidence in my own abilities - my initial approach to drawing was wow the audience with lots of detail to distract from the fact I’m not so good at drawing but I’m now at the point where I don’t feel the need to do this. This combined with the desire to be constantly learning new approaches means my ‘style’ is always evolving but it nearly always starts with my dipping pen and Indian ink.
Joe: It’s so true about this era of connectivity.. one day were gonna share a pint or 12.. so, What sort of themes, concepts and ideas inspire you?
Mat: Music and films are a huge part of my life and have been since my spotty adolescence so these both play a huge part in my inspiration. More specifically folklore, horror movies, bestiaries, cryptozoology, the occult, flora and fauna. I’m at the point where I want to do something more substantial than just a print or poster; I’m more interested in publishing zines and books. I’ve got a couple of children’s books on the go that I want to finish in the next few months but it’s harder to find the time to work on them with teaching and commissions etc.
Joe: Oh man, I love the unknown, esoteric and Fortean stuff.. one of my favorite dog eared books is the dictionary of the unexplained. For our piece we did The Phantom Huntsman, Im also a huge fan of old fables and tales. Tell me about the piece and what inspired to draw it.
Mat: The Phantom Huntsman is from English Folklore; the story goes Herne the Hunter saved a King’s life by throwing himself in front of a raging stag but in doing so the stag’s antlers pierced Herne’s heart. As he lay dying a passing wizard (convenient right?) saved him by somehow attaching the stag’s antlers to Herne’s head. Herne eventually hanged himself in the ancient forest of Windsor and is said to haunt the area.
The illustration is part of series I’ve been working on called FOLKGORE in which I’ve reinterpreted old Folklore tales but with extra nudity, violence and more sexual swear words. I’ve even created some of my own tales such as the Bird Woman of Brockley. I’ve compiled the first run of stories in a zine which has just gone to print and will be available very soon.
Joe: how exciting, save a zine for me. The way I am approaching collaboration editions at AP, instead of involving money.. is to split the edition. So you ended up with half of the prints. There are so many companies that offer to put art on products but I really want to be in the clouds with AP and avoid all the bullshit.. what do you think about the way we did things?
Mat: I think the way we (you) worked the collaboration was perfect. I wouldn’t have got involved otherwise but the design world is currently full of shady companies offering to put your artwork on mugs, coasters, prints, contact lenses, condoms etc and it’s total bullshit. Total fucking bullshit in fact. The profits are typically very low and what’s more you’re cheapening your artwork by allowing it to happen. I’m a printmaker and I make runs of prints with love and [occasional] hard graft; I don’t want the same artwork being mass produced on fucking napkins and teabags. Plus that approach encourages all kinds of bullshit such as ripping off other people’s work, churning out endless shitty pop culture referencing crap and it encourages laziness in creativity.
By doing it the Antiquated Press way we have absolute control over the artwork, I know the prints are going to be fucking great because I know you really care about what you do and if people like them we both benefit.
Joe: that really is encouraging.. and I couldn’t agree more. The landscape of derivative work right now is depressing.
One of the toughest things was shipping the completed prints to you for signing.. I know that was stressful. It is a long way from Alaska to London and back. But it is seriously satisfying having both our signatures on the work. Maybe it is just me, but i get anxious whenever I mail anything… cause of the crazy amount of work involved. I reassure myself that i am just being crazy.. I tend to be crazy sometimes. Is it just me?
Mat: Ha no that part was a nightmare for me too not least because the Postal Service in the UK is so fucking expensive. I went back and forth to the Post Office three times tweaking the package each time to get it to a certain size and it still cost a veritable fortune to send back without a signature! I was in a hellish limbo waiting for you to confirm you’d received them! It felt worse because I know it was 99% all your hard work too!
Joe: You do amazing lino cut prints, I own several. How do you feel about a medium like relief printing as opposed to straight up drawing for silkscreening or other types of printmaking?
Mat: Aw shucks thanks. I think the medium works for me really well as it retains my pen and ink line work perfectly; I’m very conscious of not veering too far away from that aesthetic. Plus it tends to dictate a very limited colour palette too which is something I like to stick to as a result of doing a lot of screenprinting. Plus I suck at lots of colours…
Joe: I too am not a big color guy (no surprises there) I have a hard time not cutting my hands to bits with lino prints.. One day we will get a chance to hang out and you can give me some tips.
Mat: Yes it can be a beast. I teach Illustration and Printmaking at the BRIT School in London and I’ve seen a student slice through her finger. It’s not pretty. I tend not to teach lino cut printing now…
Joe: So if you were able to give advice to someone out there. Lets say a person who is considering working towards being an independent artist. What would you tell them?
Mat: Always be drawing. And draw what inspires you and drives you, don’t get caught up in what everyone else is drawing and how they’re drawing it. Stop with the shitty pop culture references; the world doesn’t need anymore Breaking Bad/Game of Thrones prints. Don’t be a dick. And don’t work for free.
Joe: When I work I need to have music playing in the background, it is part of my ritual - I have lots of little rituals when working. What sort of environmental things do you require to be productive and creative? What albums are on your drawing playlist right now?
Mat: Same. Records are key. And tea. Plus biscuits. I generally like a tidy workspace too as I feel it’s conducive to being productive but if you could see my studio right now you’d laugh your cock off at that statement. It’s a fucking tip.
I’m currently reassessing my record collection off the back of a back-breaking house move by listening to every single lp from A to Z and I’m in the Bs right now so lots of Broadcast, Boards of Canada, Bonnie Prince Billy, Black Sabbath and the Beatles (Instagram hashtag #vinylcullatoz if you’re that way inclined…). I have a theory that if somehow you could only listen to music made by artist’s starting with one letter of the alphabet, B would be a strong contender. Think I’d have to wangle it in such a way I could have Captain Beefheart in there too but that kind of works right? Which letter would you choose?
Joe: Oh wow… B is a strong contender.. Beck, Beatles, Black Sabbath, But the idea of restricting to a letter is gut wrenching.. what about C!! Cake, Cave Singers… I do like your approach though. I sorted my vinyl collection biographically like in High Fidelity. I know I know.. but it is nice to revisit eras in my life based on its location on the shelf. And it keeps a lot of the bullshit from cluttering up my favorite zones. I tend to pick like 4-5 albums and play them nonstop for the duration of a project.
Mat: It’s nearly Halloween too so I’m listening to shit loads of John Carpenter soundtracks, the 'Under the Skin’ OST and Death Waltz records.
Oh and Life Without Buildings because I missed them the first time around and they’re incredible.
Joe: The artistic landscape right now changes so dramatically so fast, you and I participated in the gold rush era in the tshirt business. And that seems to have been replaced with this bizarre world of direct to product manufacturing.. (my art on duvet covers… waht?!) But at the same time an etsy revolution with traditional work and one of a kind work also having it’s place in the sun. Where do you see all of this leading? And what sort of opportunities do you see for small independent artists (like us) in the future.
Mat: Ah the golden era of Threadless. Actually I was a little late to that gold rush but it’s certainly evolved a lot since then. I’m not sure where it’s headed to be honest. Seems like everybody is an artist these days with something to sell. It makes me reluctant to get involved. I think for artists like you and I we have to remove ourselves from everything else and just focus on making artwork that moves us and brings us pleasure/contentment, mastering printing techniques and generally just being miserable old bastards.
Not super helpful I admit…
I think it’s great that there are people like you around to carry on great printmaking traditions, steering clear of the industry bullshit and making beautiful work in the process. It was a pleasure to be asked to collaborate and I can’t wait to see who else you work with over the coming months and years.
Joe: Aw thanks so much for that Mat, For people who are not familiar with your work.. gimme some links to share.
Joe: Anything else you wanna mention? about any cool projects you have coming up in the future?
Mat: The first edition of FOLKGORE is coming very soon. I’m also part of a new publishing group called Spirit Duplicator and we have our first release 'Atlantis’ coming out soon featuring artists, poets and writers responses to the theme of Atlantis. It’s fucking great and I can say that as my involvement was relatively minimal.
Joe: Thanks for your time Mat! and thanks so much for working with me on this edition. It will forever more be in the Antiquated Press Archives and that is pretty great.
Mat: Thanks again for asking me and doing such a righteous job with the prints.
For a while now I have been working with the amazing Terry Fan to make these collaborative editions. Leviathan is an edition of 60 and very fine hat is an edition of 30. Terry is a good friend and incomparable talent and I am so happy these are finally available on the AP website. http://www.antiquatedpress.com/Editions/index.php
I feel pretty damn inconsistent when it comes to posting stuff. It would be awesome to say it’s due to being so productive in the AP studio. But unfortunately I cannot use that excuse. I jus been tugged in a lot of directions the last handful of months. Not to say I haven’t done some neat stuff. Like the debut album cover for Kodiak Deathbeds. A wonderful album with the combined talents of Derek Fudesco (Cave Singers) and Amber Webber (Black Mountain) It is a spooky good album. Working with Derek and Amber was excellent, just wonderful artists who restore my faith when it comes to collaborating on the vision side.
At the beginning we decided to do a limited edition of hand made intaglio album covers. SO i approached the project with a 1:1 scale. Which was pretty great. I am a big fan of music and vinyl. Part of my appreciation of analog processes and the brilliant tactile rituals that come along with vinyl LPs.
It is a copper etching on Arches cover, the ink is a graphic chemical renaissance black (my favorite ink)
all the song titles and the album title were etched..
looks pretty swell as an album cover
Each of the limited edition (50) was hand pulled, cut and glued in the AP studio.
Even letterpressed these handbill inserts. ohhh gold metallic ink on arches cover stock..
I really didn’t intend to release these prints along with the thanksgiving holiday. It just happened this way…
But hey! two new prints - and the first in my Folklore series.. YAY! (loud noises)
You can see them and more details on the EDITIONS page. But the gist is that Treehouse is a pretty large print (22X29 inches) .. well it is large to me and I have been pecking away at it since June. I only editioned these to 35. That’s it. Cause they are kinda a pain to print and i wanted to keep it a really small personal series.
The inspiration behind treehouse comes from my own personal love and fascination with tree houses. When you are in a treehouse, there is this magical feeling.. it is quite unlike anything else. Being up in the trees with a slight breeze. The leaves whispering, the calm sway of the trees. It is one of a kind, and without fail it brings simple inexplicable joy. I remember building my treehouse with my dad when I was a child, and then as an adult I built a treehouse with my kids. The memories and feelings of wonder were just as familiar playing in the trees with my kids as when I was a little guy. The magic of being in the trees is only a climb up a ladder away. I have considered these houses in the leaves. And how attractive it must be for the forest sprites. A place for the spirits, the kodama to enjoy. I imagine the countless abandoned tree houses in the woods. Or the ones that are all quiet at night being irresistible for them to occupy and more than likely part of the magic one feels in a treehouse has to do with these guys. It is a little place where the tinkerings of man and the natural way of the woods come together. So I made this edition, and its little companion. To celebrate the magic and wonder. I went with an antiqued white arches paper that compliments the woodland mood of the editions.
Kodama is this little companion print (it’s only 11 X 11 inches) that I made for Treehouse. And anyone who orders a Treehouse edition gets a little matching edition number kodama with it. (I also printed up 15 extra for those who only want the little print)
These are super fun editions that will feel at home in a kids room as well as the most sophisticated living area (maybe not the MOST sophisticated)
Thank you all for supporting AP, that is what I am thankful for. The awesome folks out there who keep me making these crazy copper etchings.. you all are the best.
it has been a while since I posted anything on this here AP blog. It’s funny how things work. I find my mind drifting and contemplating the things I do, don’t do.. want to do.. don’t want to do and the WHY of it all quite a bit.
For example.. I haven’t really been productive as of late. I mean I haven’t been drawing on copper and making prints and posting them or anything like that. Which to folks who follow this blog and or facebook or whatever (sure I am assuming much) appears like i am just probably institutionalized or otherwise intoxicated and fallen off the map. Or whatever. That’s what I think when my pals disappear for a bit. But all that is only half true. I have been busy.. I always seem to be busy.. but just not with the stuff I want to be doing.. namely making prints CREATING ART.
See I recognize i am self sabotaging. I really really get it. It would be hilarious and depressing to give a run down on all the opportunities and amazing doors that have been opened for me artistically that i have just kinda shrugged at and let close with only the slightest consideration and a chaser of fine scotch whiskey. These events just act to remind me of how undependable and inconsistent and at the whims of the cosmos I am when it comes to creative endeavors. It is also why I turn away from any sort of “job” or “commercial” effort or even collaborations (with the exception of those few amazingly patient souls who know me and know what they are getting into.. which is to say an exercise in frustration)
SO yeah. I mentioned at the end of 2013 that I bought another intaglio studio and got a bunch of equipment. YAY. Well here in 2014 I bought another studio. This one being a very old Letterpress Studio from San Diego called Barley Brea. Pretty awesome right? It came with a beautiful Chandler and Price platen press, a wonderful proofing press and over 150 metal and wood type sets in these ancient hamilton type cases. Pretty much christmas. Everything has been sealed up in storage for as long as i have been alive so it was all this amazing time capsule of print history. I have been so busy/lazy not really posting about it. It was a ton of work and here are some photos.
SO you might be asking yourself “what would a rogue intaglio warrior want with all that letterpress relief equipment” annnnd you’d be right. Beyond making a series of prints under the slogan “WHAT THE FUCK?” I really am not at all sure. I can only say that sometimes things happen with unfettered manic psychosis . look forward to a bitchin hand letterpressed christmas card from AP this year I guess.
Elsewhere I have done some neat projects.. like making this shirt for one of my favorite bands.
and making this neat stuff for the International Gallery of contemporary art. I was going to actually participate in one of their events but then I realized that would involve actual “people” and “interaction” so instead IGCA got these flags and books that they could use as giveaways for people who signed up for membership at the event. Everyone wins!
But seriously, the IGCA is a wonderful group and a solitary warrior in the state of Alaska providing a non-coffee shop environment for contemporary artists so YAY IGCA.
Oh and for October I did the INKTOBER thing. I actually made one of those instagram accounts and have tried to post daily ink drawings.. if you want to check it out http://instagram.com/isaboja
So at least I am drawing stuff right??
Well. I have quite a few plates in the works that i hope to actually complete before twenty fifteen (UGHHHH) One thing I will guarantee is that I won’t rush it. haha. It will be JUUUUUST RIIIIIGHT when I finally do complete something.
Oh and I was invited to be in a contributor at the Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) Conference in 2015. Which if I miraculously meet the deadlines will be pretty rad. wish me luck.
So, I have been “making do” in the aquatint area for a while. I always planned on making an aquatint box to fit into a space in my “Awesome Table” for quite some time. and this weekend I finally got around to doing it. I thought I would take pictures along the way for a few reasons; 1: because pictures are fun 2: because someone out there might also need to build a box and might like some help that such photos could provide 3: for the future AP archives of awesome.
OH! also for those who do not know what an aquatint box is… Basically when etching there is a process called aquatint - which is a really bad name but whatever. The point is to create a consistent (or mottled) dusting of coverage on the plate of a substance (mainly a rosin) which is then melted and creates a dense series of dots millions of dots that protect the plate from the mordant. See you cannot just etch the plate and expect it to hold ink - it needs to have grooves and unetched areas (even infinitely small) to actually hold the ink.. the alternative is called an “open bite” which is a whole other thing. SO say I had a plate i did a hard ground on and etched some linework into it.. if I wanted then to make a section of the illustration absolutely black.. or a mid tone - or even add a mottled texture.. well my best bet is to aquatint it. So in order to get this coverage of rosin on the plate super fine and consistent. you can make a pouch and slap it in your hands over the plate (it does not really work well.. the rosin is the consistency of powdered sugar and makes a huge mess and is really hard to get consistent) or you can make a box like this and install a fan and a method of setting the rosin over the fan - then you can create a STORM OF ROSIN within the box. then you set your plate in through a narrow door and let it sit in there while all the rosin dust settles and VOILA!! you are ready to put it in an aquatint oven or set it on your hotplate to get set.
and that my friends is the worse/most confusing explanation of aquatint EVER.
SO first thing Saturday morning i grabbed a sheet of paper and a tape measure and jotted down all the dimensions and rough plan. I always do this for building. It is not really orderly nor does it make much sense but helps me sort out supplies needed and the like.
I used a single sheet of maple hardwood ply and poplar sticks. but you can use whatever materials you want.
I have no idea why i took this photo
I glued and screwed everything to make sure it was SEALED TIGHT. do not want rogue rosin drifting into my studio (well… want to keep it to a minimum at least)
I had this sweet little fan in my storage for many years just waiting for a reason to be used. I think a small box fan would work as well - just some kind of blowing device.
I made that sliding rack out of dowels and poplar and it works pretty good. removable and adjustable. that is what the plate will rest on - and the fan sits under it. rocket science.
I made a cardboard ridge around the fan then wrapped some spare tarlatan over the top - it works pretty good at diffusing the airflow and giving me a place to dump the powdered rosin. this is an action shot of the fan blowing.
I put half inch weather stripping all around the front access of the box - again trying to keep it sealed up tight. NOTE: see the fan goes IN THE BOX - one would not want to vent a fan that was outside of the box. that would be a bad idea because then it wouldn’t be an enclosed circulating system of air and rosin. also it would need a way for the air to escape since the fan would be pumping fresh air in. does that make sense? Just make sure not to plan on your fan being anywhere but in the box.
I used these sweet buckles to attach the front. this keeps it sealed and makes it easy to remove the front to clean the rosin out. (which needs to be done after every use) you can see my narrow plate access door there.. the front of the box is probably the most spectacular.
here is my completed box sitting on top of Awesome table. it is quite large really… the bigger the better. well actually the more height the better and my box could be taller.. but i am locked into the space I have. you can see the fan in there. I drilled a hole in the bottom and fed the cord through. then sealed up around the hole.
And here is the box in it’s forever home snugly fit into Awesome table. I really should have double checked my measurements because i thought I had a quarter inch to spare and i ended up with a 16th… very close to not fitting… otherwise known as fitting PERFECTLY.
and here is a shot looking through the access door of the rosin on the fan during some tests. this picture is totally useless.
All in all the box took me ten hours to make - all in a saturday. you might say “shit Joe, that’s a long time to build a box?!”… but I was also drinking fireball and petting my dog the whole time so don’t judge me..
So there you go, this concludes the Aquatint Box chapter of Antiquated Press’s studio stuff posts with the mosts.
Today is a beautiful Alaskan Summer day - In fact this summer has been exceptional all around. It is July 5th and I wanted to devote this post to a pal of mine, Adam White.
Adam is a wonderful artist and human being who has been battling early stages of multiple sclerosis and paresthesias.
Being a creative / freelance artist can have it’s downside, for example not having the safety net of health insurance. Unfortunately in addition to the difficult health issues Adam is fighting, he is also battling the tidal wave of costs involved. And that is where the Help Adam White Effort comes in. All sales through the AP shop for the last month have been sent to Adam, to help with his medical costs.
His fellow artists, pals and the like have all gotten together to set up two stores. First with the help of Threadless (the best tshirt company on planet earth) we have set up an entire store of 30 tshirts where all net proceeds go directly to Adam. CHECK IT OUT HERE
My contribution to the store is this Shirt:
So that is pretty cool!
We also established this Store Envy Shop http://helpadamwhite.storenvy.com. It is loaded with original art, prints, crafts and other items. All donated by Adams Pals and again, all proceeds go directly to adam. I have some AP prints in there (plus everything is FREE SHIPPING) everyone is going to keep populating the shop as items sell. So there are all sorts of ways to help!
So, there you go - We may not have the best safety net - or health insurance, or be the most consistent about posting on our blogs.. or even really make sense all the time, refrigerator pterodactyl!, but we watch out for our own. And we have big hearts.
Thanks for your time. I hope things are well for you. I am working on the next AP series RIGHT NOW - so keep an eye out for new Intaglio work in the hopefully not to distant future.
Joe Carr PS: SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES.
Last item on my list of spring cleaning is sorting through my flat file. In the process I found some gems to give away on the Antiquated Press Facebook page. like comment or whatever to be entered. I will be drawing winners next week or so.
my use of cooper black proves this is awesome
here is a test print from 08 for “harder they fall” from full metal tee. it is signed and a pretty swell print.
here is one of AP’s first prints, “Migrating Bureaus” from 2009. A screenprint and one of very few out there.
“workshop” another screenprint from ‘09
made for the ap homepage. only a few of these made for complete clockworks edition sets. yeah, the website started in copper.
this is a test print from society 6 - 2010 i think. Ordered several of these to see the quality. “Icarus” i went ahead and signed it as well.
It is so rare that I give away (never sell) original ink work. This is an original pencil and ink drawing of thor i did for a potential licensed by marvel tshirt which never came to be.
this is one of only a couple proofs of the one lost plate in the clockworks series. it is a sad story.
the wolf II edition is not just plain “wolf” because of this print. it did not make the cut into CW 13 and only a few were sent out to pals.
the original concept sketch for “woods” edition in CW 13
original concept sketch for “balloon” edition in CW 13.
so yeah, you can comment here - or swing by the facebook page and shout out which one you’d like. i might be pulling some other sketches and stuff. thanks for supporting antiquated press
So, here it is February something or other. Been a bit since i posted anything. Basically last thing i posted was about getting all my new studio gear (PRESSSSS) and then proceeded to play catch up in a bunch of other real world important stuff. The studio had to take a back seat to a trip to Portland to get my boys ticker fixed. And then I have been promising my daughter an updated room for a couple months. THe last time I did up her room she was 7 and now that she is a teenager.. well the room was a bit dated, so I spent a month tearing out her tree and renovating her oddly shaped tiny tall room. While I was working in there Sally took up residence in my studio.
So I got my studio back, which I celebrated with a fine cigar.
Then promptly got to work on my sink. I know it seems kinda ridiculous to be so excited about a sink. But seriously… look at this sink.
There are few things that can halt production and drive a person MAD the way poor facilities can. And I have been working with a less than adequate sink. This majestic stainless steel beast was fabricated specifically for etching. It is unbelievable. I feel so spoiled. Like a big printmaking princess. My trays fit in the table perfect, it has a nice slope to drain in the sink. it fits against the wall in my studio like it was built for it. It is a dream sink. a dreamy sink.
SINK OF THE GODS
so yeah, I am excited about the sink. I will have it all installed this weekend. Also going to place my press and level the bed out and all that. Hopefully some organizing etc. Then I get back to working on plates. I am not sure if I will be posting progress shots on the upcoming work. Maybe just a few select plates in the series. To you know.. be in touch or some such.
Here it is the last day of 2013. I have been pretty quiet through the holidays. It was a crazy madhouse at the AP studio shipping Christmas orders. Then the holiday break was a nice respite. But I had a certain big thing “THING” as in event/stress/goal planned for the 27th of December. This was the day that will have a huge impact on Antiquated Press moving forward into 2014 and beyond.
2013 year end… what a year. I am glad it is over for many reasons. But when reflecting on Antiquated Press this year and where it was a year ago today, I cannot help but be a bit taken aback. When you are knee deep in the intricacies of the day to day week to week month to month, Personal deadlines, release dates, etc, well it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. A year ago I was just getting my studio all set up and dialed in.. I had only a couple of the clockworks plates being proofed and the whole clockworks series was just this almost unachievable hopeful vision. I had all sorts of ideas on how this phase of my work would be accomplished and received. I imagined crickets and boos, I imagined no one even noticing. It really didn’t matter. I wanted to do it. I wanted to work with my hands and start something lasting and substantial.
And now here a year later it actually exists. I have a stack of copper and drawers of editions and prints. And there are these whimsical robot prints hanging on walls all over the world. That is pretty damn rad. I am quite pleased with the evolution of AP this year.
Right, so how does 2013 end? What happened on the 27th? What is the result of Clockworks and all the efforts and the ultimate success of the series? Well AP has gotten a supercharged upgrade kit. Using the proceeds of the Clockworks series I have purchased new equipment… The main piece being a Beautiful (if not a bit intimidating) Praga Press (looks kinda like the death star). This new press will allow me to make prints BIGGER.. it will allow me to work on giant copper.. GIANT copper. The Field and Ibex prints pretty much maxed out my Griffin press. That was as big as I could go. Instead of being limited to a 16X22 sheet of paper.. I can now print 30X50… Which is no small upgrade. The Praga is a university class press and it is currently sitting in my studio - ready to go to work. (not to worry, my griffin will still be used and loved and taken care of.. now she just gets to sit next to this massive beast.)
Add to that mountains of paper and copper and this incredible stainless steel sink/table designed and fabricated specifically for etching and printmaking, new supplies and gear.. this list goes on and on. Thousands of pounds worth to take AP to the next level. It is HUGE. this retooling has my studio in a complete state of disarray.. which right now is just making me kinda a neurotic stressed out mess. But I will slowly get everything sorted and ready to rock. Rest assured many updates and photos will follow.
Speaking of which, what can be expected in 2014 from Antiquated Press? All these new toys.. Well, the whole collaboration efforts will actually come to fruition and i wish I could say more about that but i’m not gonna.. you’ll just have to wait and see. Also I will be making some single prints here and there releasing them as I edition them. And then in the summer there will be another AP series that is currently in the works. It is a series that will be a lovely follow up to Clockworks, it will be ambitious and I hope will really help define more of what AP is all about. I am stoked. I am looking behind at a year of infancy and growth, AP came a long way in 2013 and 2014 will be full of kick ass intaglio crazypants happenings. So exciting.
I want to thank you all, everyone who has ordered a print, everyone who has shot me a supportive email or clicked the little like button on our facebook page. All of you who have participated in this. You have my eternal gratitude. Making old school ancient prints these days is kinda whacky, unless you are a high brow sophisticate. Which I am the opposite. I like to think maybe AP can bridge the gap between that sophisticated world and the low brow hillbilly art me and my pals make. Our modern culture of homegrown independent artists which moves a hundred miles a second with experimentation and vast pools of amazing talent and work has a lot to offer- and the forgotten antiquated substantial hand crafted methods of old is my favorite place to hang out. It’s all really bitchin.
OH one last thing, My work will be featured in THE HAND magazine next month, so that’s pretty cool. Buy one cause it is a great magazine full of awesome hand made art.
So, there is a bit of backstory here. I will try and do my best to make as brief as possible. I love my dogs, well our dogs. Gizmo and Wallace. Wallace is a 7+ year old great dane with a heart of gold and the personality of a very catered to prince with a slight depressive disorder. Gizmo is Sally’s dog and her constant faithful companion. He is excitable and pretty much a perfect doggy.
Wallace and GIzmo are our family dogs and Studio dogs. They are always on the studio couch keeping things real. I think studio dogs are potentially the most vital component of a print shop. But I also just think dogs in general are the kindest most authentic creatures on the planet and i love them.. they are also prone to mistakes and being dumb and I can really relate to that.
SO yeah, thats my dogs
Now part two of this here post. See I meet all kinds of amazing people doing this weird shit I do. Making tshirts and prints and that sort attracts a unique crowd. The best kinda crowd. Years ago I was lucky enough to connect with the great Nichole Lillian Ryan - an amazing artist that illustrates and sculpts and does all sorts of magic.. if you are really cool and have great taste you might very well be wearing one of her shirts right now.
Well she makes these amazing Pet totems. that’s right.. and like a genius I ordered little totems of my doggies from her awesome shop for christmas presents for my family.
I received this in the mail today - and I wanted to share. These babies are going under the tree (BUT I couldn’t wait to check them out)
here are the ADORABLE custom boxes they came in - the excitement to open was ELECTRIC
lots of super fun goodies, buttons, a custom tiny canvas, and wicked cool cards.
And there they are, PERFECT, it’s like my dogs have been shrunken down to action figure size.
my photos do not do them justice, the craftsmanship and attention to detail is amazing.
Wallace is getting old, and his health is not the best :( :( :( this totem of the best dog that ever was is really important to me. And I cannot thank Nichole enough. He is perfect.
THANKS FOR THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT I COULD EVER GET. all caps authentic.. seriously, they are to be treasured in my studio by myself and my family for EVER.
last little note: this is the sort of thing you receive from hand made one of a kind artists (Like Nichole) who put little bits of themselves into their work. You cannot get this sort of thing at a “store” and it has more heart and soul than anything in a plastic clamshell or proprietary packaging or corporate endorsement could ever have. Support your local (or non local) artist / artisan / crazy person.
I packed up a complete set last night and took some photos.
Each print is individually wrapped in newsprint, then packed in a protective dense board taco thing which is carefully taped together and placed in a sealed mylar bag - since there are large and medium sized prints in the series I end up with two sealed bags
this particular set is numbers 8 - the complete sets are made up of the low number editions.
The completed mylar envelopes are stacked on a half inch maple hardwood board. Brass through bolts are placed on the corners to attach aluminum straps. The pouches are protected with a thick high impact lexan sheet. And an exclusive AP clockworks home page edition is placed under the lexan.
The straps are tightened down with brass thumbscrews to make it easy to dismantle when it makes it to it’s forever home.
Then I pack this in a super high density box specifically made to its dimensions with room for plenty of packing paper. The entire thing has been tested with hits, drops and impacts and has survived without a dent or scratch. Also makes for a pretty sharp package to open up.
SO yeah.. there you go - that is what a complete set flat shipped looks like.
I have been promising to post more cool studio stuff. SO here we go. Let me introduce you to the Antiquated Press’s sweet little letterpress man. We call him Mr Bitey - but he is officially a Excelsior Mercury 5X8 - These cool presses were made for a hundred years by the Kelsey company starting in the late 1800’s I would give a detailed history but thats all kinda boring. If you want to get into these sorts of machines there are some really great resources and old timers with insight into the production and distribution etc.
I wanna talk about RESTORATION!
so Mr Bitey was discovered in a sad corner of a thrift shop - he had been out in the weather for years and suffered from ages of build up rust and deterioration.
the shop owner (I didn’t catch his name so let’s just call him snaggletooth mcgee) well he was eager to sell me what appeared to him to be some sort of hamburger patty maker. And he offered it to me for a hundred bucks. I didn’t hesitate and he obviously was disappointed he did not ask for more. I am not much of a haggler… the opposite actually, its hard not to be all “are you kidding me! this is an original Kelsey! "
SO I took poor rusty Mr Bitey home and took some details of his condition.
really besides having some serious rust issues in on the platen, the chase and the inside of the base.. and the rollers being completely rotten. It was in pretty decent condition. Nothing was missing except a few of the retaining clips.
it would not function obviously as it was rusted solid. But slowly I dismantled it piece by piece. Sometimes having to chisel away the barnacle like accumulation of rust.
you can see in this picture the chase is really bad. but once I got it all taken apart I deliberated on how to clean it up. Knowing it was cast iron which is pretty much indestructible (pretty much) and since i grew up with southern roots I have cleaned my fair share of cast iron jambalaya pots. SO i figured oil and steel wool would be a good start.
Oil and steel wool is really non toxic and awesome but didn’t even come close to getting this poor guy straight. So I whipped out the rubber gloves and got my Naval Jelly (the only thing for the job) and one of these guys
its a multipurpose stripper that attaches to your drill. It worked like a CHAMP and really took the elbow out of it all. So after about 30 applications and dwell times with the naval jelly followed up with scrubbing and stripping with this.. well my kelsey was looking pretty damn good.
I protected the platen and chase and the areas that the rollers ride on the chase with some masking tape before priming all the parts.
I ordered replacement ink rollers from ebay - they were pretty affordable. And then painted it up real nice in a two tone black and blue.
look at those shiny parts
everything fit together like butter… BUTTERRR. and check out that smooth platen.
more saucy photos
Mr Bitey gained his name right after this photo was taken, as he is prone to chomp at fingers. But he does function perfectly - smooth operation all around. Lil Joe even sorted out how to print type high blocks with his solidoodle 3d printer to make custom letterpress images. pretty sweet.
And here he is at home with our studio etching press.
If you too are restoring an old rusty letterpress - feel free to give me a shout. If you ever run across one of these in a thrift shop.. and it is complete BUY IT - they are wonderful machines.