Seven Day Success

As the week of insanity draws to a close, I can finally sit back and reflect on all those 8-10 hour days in the printmaking studio. I regret not being able to update this every night of the last week due to plain exhaustion, but I did manage to snap a plethora of pictures throughout with the help of various fellow Shafer dwellers. I think the easiest and logical way of showing them all will be by each day and each step. I apologize thoroughly for the lack of pictures of me actually printing, it’s a bit of a stressful, messy and fast-paced process. Stopping for pictures would mean ink drying in the screen!

Day 1 involved a number of things happening simultaneously: Prepping the screen, completing the image to its final state and printing the outlines on the plotter in the Davis lab, using Screen Filler for the first color to block the white space where my face will go, and cutting Rubylith for the second color while everything dried. Simple duct tape was used to prevent the ink from sloshing everywhere or leaking through the edges of the screen. The screen was then washed and degreased so that the filler could consistently adhere to the parts I wanted to block. I used the printed outline as a kind of map for tracing and cutting the Rubylith later on for each of the colors.

The outlines are also seen here, underneath the taped and degreased screen. I have the screen propped on a few pieces of foamcore so that the paper outlines did not stick to the back of the screen. Clear acetate was also under the screen to further prevent any drips or mishaps to the only copy in my possession.

By this time, Akus Gallery director and curator Elizabeth Peterson had popped in to see what I was up to:

The finished product:

And while this was drying, I cut each and every one of these mustaches out with an X-acto knife.

It seems so simple; lightly trace with the X-acto over the matte side of the Rubylith, and peel back the thin, red layer of film. I started this at noon. It was complete by 6pm.

This was only Day 1. Eat your heart out Rubylith.

My life is just one big ever-evolving To Do List.

Image

This being the last week before Spring Break, I’ve compiled a refined To Do List. This weekend is a trip to the RISD store, Jerry’s, Utrecht and anywhere else I deem necessary in preparation for next week’s lock-down. Tuesday of next week is when I’m letterpressing the mustaches with the wonderful Amanda Lebel. The rest of the week will be dedicated to pumping out the prints and searching for a framer. The search goes on for a suitable table. Buckle your seat-belts.

Ain’t nothing going to break my stride. Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I’ve got to keep on moving…

If I could be so bold…

This four-day furlough president’s birthday weekend leaves much to be desired in the ways of free time for me. Instead of kicking back I am force-feeding myself a never-endingĀ  diet of scholarly JSTOR articles and library books that have not been checked out since 2008. Such is the life of someone voluntarily taking a second writing intensive course, just for the fun of it. It’s not been all bad though; the paper will compare and contrast the work Fucking Hell, 2008 by Jake and Dinos Chapman with Gassed, 1918 by John Singer Sargent. The paper will mostly be about the atrocities of war, manipulative propaganda, cruelty and brutality of humans, and how all of this is represented or not represented in art. David M. Lubin’s “Losing Sight: War, Authority, and Blindness in British and American Visual Culture, 1914-22” identifies Field Marshal Herbert Horatio Kitchener, hero of British Victorian imperialism. This guy:

Alfred Leete's "The Britons (Lord Kitchener) Wants YOU" British WWI propaganda poster1914

oh those glorious whiskers. The article explains,

“That mustache, according to one biographer, ‘was justly celebrated not only throughout the Army but throughout the Empire. It’s length and bushiness were unique, and it would be easy, but wrong, to dismiss it with a smile. It was the ideal of drill sergeants throughout all the armies of Europe, and in that exaggerated form it became a symbol of national virility. During the 1914-18 war, a British recruitment poster showed Kitchener, his mustache dark and heavy as ever, jabbing his finger at the viewer and pinning him with a severe gaze, while beckoning him to fulfill his duty as a citizen and join the military,”

(Lubin, David M.Losing Sight: War, Authority, and Blindness in British and American Visual Cultures, ART HISTORY. Vol. 34, no. 4 (September 2011): 797.

At this point in the game I should also point out the significance of the mustache symbol in today’s context. The mustache has embedded itself deeply into the “hipster” culture of the late 2000’s serving as another stereotype for people dressing in flannel, skinny jeans, dark rimmed glasses, while drinking PBR, riding bicycles and fussing about liking bands before you ever heard of them. Mustaches can also be found in many works of the growing Steampunk phenomena which combines alternate history, speculative fiction and science fiction notions of time travel, gadgets, Victorian-era Britain, invention and innovation.

Each viewer will ultimately create the connotations of the final piece based on their personal experiences. Even though this project focuses mainly on identity, given that it is in fact a self-portrait, I am embracing all the mustache has to offer.

Steampunk Bizarre Exhibit: "The Unknown" at the Mark Twain House

The Design Brief – Preliminary Artist Statement

Hello all, if the last post left you bewildered and confused, fear not. In this post I am giving you another little glimpse into the inner workings of my mind and hopefully it’s starting to make a little bit of sense. The images in the second picture go along with what I’m talking about in the Design Brief. Feedback, encouraging or critical, is tremendously appreciated, just click to see them better. Enjoy!