I recently began a series of prints of hot rods and custom cars that I have some affinity to. Once I completed the first proofs, I posted a tech article on the HAMB where I spend far too much time looking at hot rod stuff. It is a great place to hang out if you are an old car junky, and they are very supportive of the arts, hosting a Friday Art Show each week. I have posted the article below as it appears on the HAMB. Check the HAMB out here: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/
So after many years of watching with awe the art that is posted on the Friday art show every week, and after being continually impressed with the quality of the tech posts that come through here every week, I have decided to do my own brand of tech- ART TECH. Now I don’t usually make car related art. Most of my stuff lately has been soul searching stuff, not wuite self portrait work in the stricted ‘Rembrandt’ sense, but definitely about me. And I have been exploring with some printmaking methods that are a bit ‘out there.’
But I do often work in linoleum for printmaking because it makes such a nice simple looking picture. I love the high contrast of single color prints in black and white.
I have been thinking for quite some time about what I would do if I ever tried anything with auto related art, and I decided that I would do lino cuts of cars that really blow me away. I have a short list and I will work from that. There are a couple here on the HAMB that slay me every time I see them so I figured I would start with one of those. And what car could better exemplify the HAMB than Bob Bleed’s roadster? It has a great history, strong family ties, and still runs strong today, evolving as time goes by, getting better with age. There are a couple others too, that will come later, including av8paul’s roadster and kevin lee’s (grimlok) modified. I think the Calori coupe will probably make its way to paper soon too.
Anyway, I thought that I would chronicle the process for my own contribution to keeping this board about cars, art, and the process of creating something other than drama.
Oh, one last thing before we get to the tech; I will be printing an edition of 30 of each of these plates. Number 1 from the edition will go to a HAMB Auction to raise money to keep Ryan’s little bench racing effort afloat, the others will go to the classifieds to be offered for sale. So keep an eye out. Now on with the show.
First, we start with a sheet of linoleum, untreated (you can’t really use flooring tiles), and transfer the image you are using to the sheet with carbon paper. What you don’t see here is the drawing I did from a photo of Bob’s car that was then transferred to the lino.
Next, I bust out the tool kit
And get started. Watch out, these suckers are sharp.
Now I start carving, cutting away the areas I want to stay white, leaving that which will be black. After about 2 or 3 hours, it’s starting to look like something.
And then I carve some more. After another couple hours, it looks like this.
At this point I put some ink on a plexi plate and roll out out smooth with a brayer. Once the ink is nice and velvety, I roll it onto the lino plate with the brayer. I didn’t really show this step because I figured no one would really be interested in seeing a black splotch on plexi and newspaper. The next step is probably the best. Pulling the first print is like Christmas morning. You really get a chance to see what you’ve done. The ink that I use at home is a water based intaglio ink, and to print relief needs an oil additive. This process takes a little work to get going and I usually have to pull 3 or 4 prints to get the look I want. I am using Akua Intaglio Lamp Black for this particular edition.
When I have access to the press at school, I use a beautiful Praga printmaking press from Canada. When I am home, I use an old bookbinding press from the late 1800s. These presses were originally used to hold the pieces of a book together while it was glued and sewn together. For my purposes, it prints relief plates like my linocut quite well. It does require a good deal of elbow grease to get a good impression on the paper, a sure sign is a nice little embossing around the edges.
I lay the plate and paper in the press, making a little sandwich with a piece of cardboard and a couple felt blankets. The blankets go on top, allowing the paper to conform to the plate and create that embossing.
Wind the wheel clockwise, pushing the top plate down into the base, and then wind it back out again. Pull the paper off the plate and voila! A nice little linocut print of Bleed’s roadster. This is the second pull I took. I made a few more cuts after the first pull. This is a good example of why you should make several proofs before starting the edition with your good paper though, because if you look under the grille, you can see a white area. That was caused by a little shard of linoleum that was cut away. It got stuck in the wet ink and I never saw it. No problem, wipe it away, and re-ink the plate and pull another. In this state, the plate is ready to print the edition, so now I will tear my good paper to size and print the edition tomorrow.
Look for the edition to be available in the classifieds in the next day or two. I will probably bring some with me to the HAMB Drags too.
Oh, and if I make a print based on your car, you get a print too, if you want it. So Bob, if you see this, PM me and I’ll send one out to you.
Hope you liked a glimpse into my workshop. I can’t chop the top of a 37 Chevy, but I like to contribute if I can. Thanks for looking.