The Area Between

A/P 3                          Untitled #3                            2010

Plate: 17 1/2″ x 7 1/4″, Paper 21 3/4″ x 11 3/4″

This is a straight linoleum cut.  My intention was to play with using flat black as more a focal point and less a background.  The activity on the right hand side I believe, looking back on it now, was derived by my love of Dr. Seuss, especially his paintings.  To me, it seems like some idealized world, chaotic and bright with action.  Linoleum offers such a clean cut that fine lines really pop.  The creature/man/some have said rat or pig, with the orbs extending from his amputated arm still puzzles me a little.  It also wears a tie.  When carving this section of the print I wanted to create a more realistic feel.  Gradated tones and shadows compared to the world on the right hand side which exists only in alternating white and black lined patterns.  The coil or ribbon dividing the two lines appears in my prints quite often.  A simple alternating white and black rope that opened to reveal the more realistic world.  I;m very pleased with the amount of darkness I was able to achieve in this print, and at least to me, the success I had in making a black expanse the focal point.  When I look at the print I am always drawn to the first orb floating from the rat mans string arm.  I feel this makes the surrounding print more like a frame consisting of image and action, which in turn offers occasion for staring and meditation.

To view more of my work with woodblock and linocut click here:

Copyright © 2011 by Drew Kail


Calling All Destroyers

1/1   Calling All Destroyers   2010

I really like this print, because I struggled at first to keep it progressing.  It is done with monotype and relief printing which builds up into a rich, deep surface.  I wish I could keep track of how many times this piece of paper was run through the press, but I get too involved in the action/reactionary process.  Sometime I will force myself to take incremental photographs of the print in progress to retrace my steps and analyze my decision-making.

As I have said before, I don’t begin a work with any premeditated driving concept.  This particular print started with multiple layers of monotype done with oil paint.  From that point, however, I struggled with what to do next.  I set it aside for a awhile, and after still remaining firmly stuck I decided to just do something drastic.  All that could happen is that I ruin a piece of paper, and the fact that I was so stuck made me feel that it wasn’t going very well anyway.  The result is the large white shape on the top center.

Laying the white shape down created a division of space within the piece that sparked a flood of reactionary printings.  I believe it created the seed of a middle ground.  From that point the middle ground turned into a foreground with repetitive printing.  I shifted the ink used from, at first, heavily mixed with transparent based medium  to complete dark color saturation. This built a foreboding foreground that I think resembles a post apocalyptic industrial setting.

To view more monoprints please click here:

Copyright © 2011 by Drew Kail

Untitled #6

A/P 2/2                    Untitled #6                      2010

Plate: 23 3/4″ x 23 3/4″, Paper: 29″ x 29 3/4

I just submitted some work to the International Print Center New York and figured I would post the prints I chose.  I’m always trying to better my ability to talk about my work to others instead of just saying “I make stuff” when asked what I do.  Also, my previous post “Open Space” was one of the five prints submitted to the IPCNY, so I figured that was a good jumping off point.  Of the five works I chose to submit three are monotype/relief, and only two were straight black and white relief.  This is curious to me, because relief printmaking is my greatest passion.  I absolutely love the flat, deep black that one can arrive at in relief when  contrasted with white or off white paper.  Maybe I’m putting a more fine art label on my monotypes, although I don’t really see any of my work as fine art.  I think there’s good and bad art.  Putting the label of fine art puts a HUGE air of pretentiousness on a finished work that I believe ultimately isolates the non-art society viewer, and creates an unnecessary separation/animosity between the public and the art-public.  But I’m ranting.  I really want to discuss the matter in this blog, but I want to organize my thoughts a bit more, and not just vomit out words.  Back to the print.

I have worked very hard at creating expansive depth within the confines of carved wood.  How far back can I take the viewer is the main question I pose to myself, before even picking up the charcoal pencil to draw on the block.  Like my other prints I almost never begin with a major idea for what the image is going to be.  I draw lines and patterns in charcoal pencil on the wood until eventually these components form shapes and dimension.  A lot of the patterns and lines are derived from physically manufactured elements I see when sitting on the bus or walking down the street.  These could be cracks in the sidewalk, a parking garage, or the shape of a house.  Rarely do I draw natural elements or people. Not sure why.

There is a lot of erasing and redrawing that goes into my woodblocks because of my need for depth.  Making elements smaller, larger or eliminating them all together becomes a laborious task, a labor of love.  The drawing period takes far longer than the carving period.  For instance, Untitled #6 took over a week to draw, and close to three days to carve.

Untitled #6 got its name because it is part of an ongoing series of untitled prints that I don’t want to name.  I feel that by naming them I would be imposing my intention upon the viewer, when in fact, I want the viewer to make their own conclusions, good or bad.  The pieces are all influenced greatly by my own little world in one way or another, and the subconscious nature of the non conceptual making process does hold both positive and negative psychological elements in the forefront, but they are my own elements and the viewer should play around and uncover their own .

I chose this print to include in the submission to the IPCNY, because this was my breakout onto a larger piece of wood.  Previous to this work, the others were all around 12″ x 12″.  In going bigger I was able to both make elements smaller and larger, creating a more expansive depth of field.  I have only printed two artist proofs, A/P’s, of this one so far, but plan on a full edition.  The notification date is March 18th, so my hope is to update this blog with the remaining three submitted prints before then, and post the results.

To view more of my woodblock and linocut work click here:

Copyright © 2011 by Drew Kail

Open Space

1/1      “Open Space”    2010

Plate: 15 3/4″ x 30″, Paper: 20″ x 33 1/2″

As with most of my work, I began this print with no intended image or concept.  With this series I use layers in a dialogue of successes and revisions to sub par decisions until I reach a point where the image simply cannot be anything but what it becomes.  This conversation involves mixing processes(in this case monotype and relief printmaking), media, and a constant rotation of the paper from horizontal, vertical upside down, etc..  This print took almost three months to complete, but I’m very happy with it.

I would like to eventually take photographs documenting each stage of the process, but a combination of how quickly I react to the last layer(there is a momentum to a successful day in the shop), and how disgusted I can become if something does not go well have so far prevented this from occurring. When I think something I did sucks, I don’t want to go grab the camera, set the lighting, and take a photo…I want to fix what sucks.  Regardless, I do plan on implementing this excercise, because sometimes I even forget what has been covered or manipulated beyond recognition.  Also, I feel this is a great way to better understand the creative process.

I have recently realized upon looking back on some stuff I’ve done that most of my work ends up as some sort of alternative landscape of post industrialism. This makes sense due to the fact that I grew up in Pittsburgh around the time the steel industry suffered and love the rusty landscape as well as the people it adversely effected.  It is funny this premonition took so long for me to stumble across, because I love my hometown and talk about it all the time.  A subconcious theme based on sense of place and identity?  I would probably have to say yes, “Open Space” definitely fits this theme, but also holds some kind of larger violence, confrontation or even recreation about which I have not yet figured out.  Luckily I find reading into images, especially my own, fascinating.

Copyright © 2011 by Drew Kail

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