monotype & me




When I was in college, an ever-increasing amount of time ago, I took a few (2) printmaking classes. I learned something. I'm a painter, through and through. I'll never have the discipline (some might say neurosis) to be a printmaker. The painter's philosophy is "Eh. I'll paint over it. No big." You don't get that luxury with printmaking, and everything must be planned out from the get-go. Make an error? Start over. No room for improvisation.

Fuck that.

See, the other good thing about painting is that while the equipment ca be expensive, no really special materials are required. Paint, canvas (or fabric) stretchers, media and brushes. You can use wax or freezer paper in place of a palette, and that's about it. No zinc plates, no nitric acid baths, no asphaltum or hard ground, no lightboxes, no photosensitive purple goop requiring darkroom access...you get the idea.

To date, as a result of the classes, I can aquatint, dry-point etch, silkscreen, and monotype. I owned a pretty large silk screen for a while, but ended up selling it--something I partially regret (I would have been able to make so many awesome T-shirts) but can rationalize due to practicality (no darkroom). I have a lot of odd prints stacked away somewhere, and I barely ever look at them. Except for these.

These three monotype prints were created by simply rolling colors across a Plexiglas plate and spraying it with mineral spirits, then printing the results. It ended up being a 10-piece series called "Little Apocalypse," which more or less detailed an indeterminate apocalyptic event in America's heartland and the aftermath. It tells loosely of two unseen travelers wandering through the wasteland until they find a place they can call home. The structures were later drawn on with pen (as seen in these three) or white pencil (on the darker images).

These three, from the top down titled Our House, Valentine City, and Storm Country, are the best photographed of the ten. I'll have to re-shoot the others one day, so that the world can know their glory. Our House is actually the last of the series, and is an underwater biome that the two protagonists share at the end of their journey. The photo is out of focus, but I love it and so had to include it. Valentine City is sort of a debauched urban area, full of advertising and consumption, but also great beauty (and perhaps the beginning of my fascination with lurid pink). Storm Country is sort of an image of bereft Middle America, where prospecting promise has dissolved into dust.

Storm Country, though, lives on. It, and another, poorly photographed print from the series, inspired a triad of oil paintings currently in the works. Something about the fresh-faced optimism of golden America combined with some tragically radioactive future dystopia really spoke to me. Big surprise, eh?