Tag Archives: lino print

‘Medusa’ by Neil Stavely

‘Medusa’ by Neil Stavely

As soon as I came across this lino print, I knew I had to make it mine, as it mixes two of my favourite things; my love of retro tattoo art and the curiosity I have about the mythology of Medusa. Along with his wife/partner-in-crime Kerry, the Stavely’s create art that draws inspiration from all over the place- tarot cards, animals and even Richard Scarry.

Name: My wife Kerry and I are partners in a small business called the Horse & Hare. The name is derived from our Chinese Zodiac. I am a Hare and Kerry is a Horse.
Location: We live and work in Winchester, Virginia. Winchester is located in Northern Virginia about an hour west of Washington D.C.
Weapon of choice (medium in which you create!) and why?
Most of my output in the past few years have been linoleum block prints (linocuts). I think I’ve gravitated towards block printing in part because of the reductive nature of the medium. I have a tendency to overwork things so working on block prints force me to finish a project or else all the material will be carved away and I will be left with nothing.  I also do mixed media painting (often incorporating linocut elements).  I’m also trying to transition into woodcut printmaking and I work full time as a tattooer.
Tell me about Horse & Hare, what is it that you do?
My primary role in the Horse & Hare partnership is creating the majority of the linocuts and doing most of the actual printing. Kerry does her share of printing and carving as well but she tends to push the marketing and business side of things.
The subject of your artwork appears to come from all over the place; animals, authors, ancient mythology, children books. What does inspire your artwork? When you stumble across something, what makes you want to turn it into art?
Some of the first serious prints I made were based on images from the Tarot deck. I was attracted to the Tarot because of the fantastic and archetypal imagery and also because it references back to the early days of printmaking. Card decks, including the Tarot, were among the first materials produced with early printing technologies. From there, I just started working on anything which strikes my fancy. Some projects have originated as commissions but generally I just make things that seem like they would be fun to carve. Often I gravitate towards images that have a bit of a literary feel such as the author series or the latin name pieces which have a pseudo-scientific aesthetic which you could almost imagine stumbling across in an eccentric textbook.
What was the inspiration behind the ‘Medusa’ print?

The origins of the Medusa print actually arise out of teaching a lesson on ancient greek pottery at my daughter’s school. In preparing for the lesson I rediscovered the Medusa mythology and of course found it fascinating.

What are the details of ‘Medusa’ (ink, paper used etc.)
The Medusa is a small linocut print (probably the first in a series of images based on greek myths) printed in water based block printing ink on cardstock paper.
As a tattoo artist, what do you think when you see your artwork on someone’s body?
I view tattooing as a craft. Unlike a painting or printmaking project the point of origin for a tattoo comes from the customer and my ultimate job is to please them, more-so than myself. Of course my own aesthetics come in to play and I want it to look good, but it’s a different process than creating something  to satisfy my own needs and curiosities. That said, when I see a client and they love their tattoo it’s a feeling of satisfaction and of a job well done.
What has been the most challenging design you’ve had to create for a client? 
I started getting my feet wet in the tattoo business about 14 years ago and it’s hard to pick out a particular piece I would consider the most challenging. Any time you have to step out of your comfort zone can be challenging. I always think some of the simplest designs can be the most nerve wracking. The slightest imperfection in a circle with a straight line through it will show up like a sore thumb.                      Who are your artistic idols?
There are so many… Gregory Gillespi, Albrecht Durer, Max Beckmann, Ivan Allbright, Tony Fitzpatrick, Lucas Cranach, Phillip Guston,  just to name a few. Much of my favorite work was done by anonymous craftspeople. I love old buddhist paintings, illuminated manuscripts, gothic cathedrals and woodcuts from the early days of printing.Do you have a favourite piece of work,? Something you are particularly proud of?
There are a handful of pieces I’ve done over the years that I think are Good with a capital ‘G’. I tend to reserve judgement on my work for a year or two. When something is new I feel like it’s hard to be objective about it. Either I’m so excited about it that I think it’s better than it really is or I’m so frustrated that it hasn’t lived up to unrealistic expectations that I hate it. It generally takes a lengthy cooling off period before I can see a piece for what it is.Are you working on anything special currently? 
Recently, I’ve been messing around  with carving wood blocks for woodcut printing, unfortunately  I may have to give it up because that, in combination with tattooing seems to be destroying my wrist. I’ve just started a circus seal linocut I’m excited about. I’m also working on a linocut on the subject of tattoo machine frames and a handful of paintings.

‘Love is my drug’ by Lexie Harding

‘Love is my drug’ by Lexie Harding

Reminiscent of a theatrical Betty Boop animation (or maybe even a little Toot Braunstein from Drawn Together) Lexie Harding’s lino cut of a woman throwing back a prescription container full of love hearts grabbed my interest not only through it’s vintage simplicity, but also through a subtle sense of sarcasm, making you almost scoff at the hopelessness of the print’s subject. Harding answered a few questions for me, though I’m still kind of puzzled as to how her works comes out so eery.

Name: Lexie Harding
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Weapon of choice (medium in which you create!) and why?

Linocuts and collagraphs. I enjoy the process of printmaking with its intense tactile qualities. The smell of ink, different textures of paper, malleability of linoleum and the physical act of wiping ink from collagraph plates.

What generally influences your artwork?

People, places and events in my life are the inspiration of my work.

You explain in your Etsy bio that your ideas come from everyday living; things you hear on the street and things your daughters say, however your work possesses  a slightly sinister side, even your print Family  has an ‘American Gothic’  feel; is this something you try and achieve, creating something strange out of what may have been a fleeting moment of over-heard conversation?

I take snippets from everyday life and use them to make an image that tells a story, often poignantly satirical.

‘Love is my Drug’ radiates a 1920s drama about it, like a theatrical Betty Boop cartoon; what was the inspiration for the piece?

Recently I read an article entitled Love is the New Drug and from that I envisioned this image.

What are the details of Love is my Drug? (Inks, paper used etc.)

 I’ve printed Love is my Drug on Somerset Satin paper using Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. black oil based ink.

Who are your artistic idols?

Artistic idols … that’s hard. I love William Steig’s illustrations, Grown Ups Get To Do All The Driving is one of my favourite children’s books. Colin Moore (printmaker), Robin Arseneault (installation artist) and Ken Housego (mixed media).

Do you have a favourite piece of work,? Something you are particularly proud of?

I have a collage piece that I won’t part with. It’s made up of a mix of 30 – 2″ x 3″ linocuts, watercolours and found items.

Are you working on anything special currently? 

I am currently working on a collagraph called Duke’s Last Meal. An old watch dog moves to a farm to live out his last years, eats the family’s pet rabbit and dies in his sleep.

 Lexie Harding on Etsy

‘Bumble Bees’ by Michael Torrance

‘Bumble Bees’ by Michael Torrance

Michael Torrance’s lino print Bumble Bees caught my eye one day while trawling through Etsy. It initially exudes a bold contemporary aesthetic through its simplicity and sparse use of  bright colours, but the more I looked the more i was reminded of the pages of a vintage encyclopedia displaying a line up of insects and their scientific names. The Glaswegian artist briefly answered a few questions for me about his artwork and it’s inspirations.

Name you credit your work with: Tournesol Prints
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Weapon of choice (medium in which you create!) and why?

Linoprinting as it is the easiest medium with which to print and for now, I don’t have much room in which to work.

Before discovering lino printing/ relief printing in art school, what was your medium and why did you take to lino print?

No specific medium but I found the strong contrast in lino print very interesting.

In general, what do you draw inspiration from, for your work?

In general anything from natural although buildings and architecture are always interesting too.

What I’ve seen of your work on Etsy, it usually depicts not just natural scenes but the intricacies of nature; insects, feathers, flower seeds- is it challenge trying to recreate/interpret these delicate structures?

There is a challenge in using the materials as they can be unforgiving, but rewarding when the print is successful.

Was there any particular inspiration behind Bumble Bees, how did the idea for the lino print spawn?

Last year there was a lot in the news about the decline of bees and what people could do to encourage them in gardens.

What are the details of the Bumble Bees print? (ink, paper details etc.)

Linseed oil based ink on Zerkall mould made paper.

Who are your artistic idols (if any?)

Angie Lewin, David Hockney.

Are you working on anything special currently? 

More dandelions.

Do you have a favourite piece of work that you have done? Something you are particularly proud of?

Nothing in particular, I just hope to try and improve on each piece of work.