The Society of Secretive Squirrels

Secretive and Squirrely.

Archive for September 2010

Wher u at?

leave a comment »

So what happened, did I fall down a hole and couldn’t get out? Did Aliens want to collaborate on scientific procedures, or did I just accidentally fall prey to a massive drug addiction and move to morocco – or wherever that’s at these days – obviously not option 3 then.

No aliens nor holes either, not that i couldn’t get out of anyhow.

Nope, I’ve been working on a book, in the past 40-50 days I haven’t had a day off till this weekend, and apparently (massive computer cleanup) I have generated three point one gigabytes of data for the book alone – that excludes research – it’s just my stuff. Scary, no?

So what do I do when i have a day off after (lets split the difference) 45 days of working in a row – well I clean my room of course, and then on day two I clog my fecking drainpipes and have to call in the landlord to help me – at least i had a day to clean before that happened – maybe it looked like I was raised by a better class of wolf? Perhaps not, and perhaps it’s just that the police haven’t raided my crib lately (story would take some unpacking, but suffice to say that I’m regarded as one of the law abiding people in the complex).

I’ve also spent time thinking about an essay, thinking about a presentation (both due in 2 weeks, I got nothing) and my final critique, due in 2 days, handed in the work on friday. I’m almost on top of things… Sorta.

Written by secretivesquirrel

September 19, 2010 at 9:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Linocut printing – the bodgy way.

leave a comment »

This isn’t a post about how to print linocut, it’s how I do it.

I’ll post some stuff about cutting linocuts in the next while, therefore it’ll be further up the page, makes sense no?

I design my stuff by hand generally, not cos it’s better or worse, but cos it makes me happy to make stuff with my hands, this following pic is one of the techniques that I haven’t seen anybody else using for some reason, it’s quite viable though, it’s using a dry erase marker and Q-Tips (they call them cotton buds here), on acetate (oht sheets).

I use white board markers a lot personally, i think they’re neat, and they’re easier and cheaper to use and clean up than permanent markers (handy for making notes on windows too).here the frame is drawn in on the other side of the sheet with a vivid (permanent marker) and then I’ve just drawn and re-drawn till I have something I like – white board marker draws black, Q-Tip draws white.

I do sorta plan stuff sometimes, here’s the page from a sketchbook where i was thinking about the images.

It doesn’t look much like the above does it, not that that matters, cos I transferred the design by hand anyhow, so it changed again when I cut it. That was really an aside, but i had the photos handy, I’ll go over design again when i ramble about cutting lino, to come.

Now assuming we have a cut lino block, I’ve been using stuff that’s not mounted on a block, I’ll be switching to type high some time soon for reasons of convenience when registering (got to make the dies and tools first).

Now, inking – again, I’ll actually make a whole post on this topic, so I won’t go into it here, that might sound odd, but the inking is probably the single most important part of getting a good print, which I don’t have here as I was being all slapdash about it.

This is kinda funny cos it’s so bad, I was proofing at the time, the ink isn’t rolled out properly, and the print is weak, but this is enough for me to see what to do as I’m cutting a block – the cutting tool is the red thing to the upper left, I use a draw blade in it, either that or a No15 surgical scalpel, at this point I’m using oil based ink for proofing (I used water based for the final prints), the oil stays liquid longer, thus meaning that I don’t have to clean the block and wait to keep cutting – this is a very messy process for me, but then, I was raised by wolves, so what can you expect.

The roller is a cheap hard one, which is ideal for this medium, the ink only stays on the raised parts, a soft roller it goes over the edges. At this point I’m actually printing into a sketchbook bar a few tests (as above). You can see something of the iteration of a design here;

oily ink smudges, worn out black nail polish, and terrible handwriting, raised by wolves, remember? This design didn’t really work so well, and I’m stll only semi-happy with it. So anyhow – getting a print onto paper – what this post is supposedly about, cos it’s not about anything to date;

The board thingee that I’ve taped my bit of paper for layout to is actually a bookbinding tool, it’s just a really convenient size and shape for this task. It’s a bookbinding press for binding perfect (glue) bound books – the bottom bar lines stuff up, and the side bar clamps the book to be bound in place, anyhow I digress.

On the paper I’ve drawn the outline of the sheet of paper and then taped a piece of lino in so that it’s edge lines up with the fold in the paper (convenient measurement, no?) –  The lino provides the height to line stuff up accurately, when it’s lined up I press the paper down onto the inked lino block you can see there, and pop a wooden block lined with felt on top;

Like so – the bottom side is lined with the felt – then;

I stomp on it, bounce up and down, move my foot about, and generally carry on like a muppet till I’m quite assured that it’s the ink has stuck nicely to the paper – if proofing this tends to be enough, otherwise I use a burnisher.

Ok, so it’s a plastic imitation bone paper folding tool, but it’s the intent than counts, plus this is actually easier to use than any other burnisher I can afford (I found it in the street).

After that I remove the paper from the block and i have a print – sadly all I have to show for my troubles here is one of the test prints;

this is one place that being somewhat dyslexic is actually a boon, I can read and write at backwards (mirrored) a considerable fraction of the speed that I can write and read normally, thus writing stuff mirrored is no big deal to me.

Rolling out the ink, inking the block, pressing it to the paper (burnishing), and the removal of the paper from the block are the central skills here, burnishing probably being the easiest and least important (it’s terribly important, but if you don’t get how to remove the paper you’ll never get a good print – there are machines for pressing, not for rolling out ink or removing the finished print).

Slightly better print, but still pretty crap really – I decided on my last project to let the quality go and let the faults in iteration be part of the work, doesn’t look so good when i’m trying to explain why, oh well.

Written by secretivesquirrel

September 19, 2010 at 9:39 am

Compulsory fourth year show.

leave a comment »

It wasn’t actually called that, but I like my version more than the real name.

So we had a show, organised by my year group, and it counted towards our grade, but wasn’t marked (wtf?). So we went through the whole art school process of ego, ass pats, and herding cats, and it came together, not perfectly, but it went over alright.

Cos I’m an egotist and this is my blog I’ll write about what I did (that and the fact that I wouldn’t have the faintest clue what some of my classmates are thinking about). I made a book, and a bunch of really little paintings, also a plinth/(dis)honesty box. Here’s some pics for the attention defficit.

Yup, the bull is made of shit – it smelled some, and the thing behind it that looks like a sloppy yellow poop, well that’s a pile of bullet shells, and another work, and the cord going to the back of the cow, well that’s another work which was 15′ behind the cow, but to the left of that, above the pile of cartridges is my work, the thing with five dots above it, yup, they’re my oil painting.

[zoom in]

Five oil paintings, and a book of prints on a plinth.

[click on the thumbnails of the paintings if you want to make them bigger]

If you’re curious about scale, they’re about 9cm (3 – 2/3″) to a side. Oil paint on laser cut ply – I didn’t pay for or cut the ply, it was offcuts from another persons work, and i liked the offcuts as objects.

I also had a book of prints as I said, these are the same images (illustrating the same things), not after the paintings, they were produced at the same time, I wanted to see how I could change the reading of each by dint of presenting both iterations together.

The prints are linocuts about 5cm (2 “) square in a book that was the same size as the paintings above, this was presented on a plinth which also doubled as an honesty box, though which exhorted people to seemingly do something dubious, more on this later, here’s the prints.




My camera battery ran out – that’s right, I had to go back and re-photo the rest (done), no biggie. the plinth carried a message…

You see, I wanted to do a couple of things with this, one was to mess with intersemiotic references with regard to reproduction – not sure how many people got that – another was to make people stand in a corner, turn their backs on the whole gallery and read a book, that worked brilliantly 😀 – and another was to play with people’s conditioning by asking them to write on money – we all know it’s bad, right? Well, not really so much here, our money is plastic and a quick swipe with some thinners will clean it up nicely, no big deal.

And how did it work?

Gettin in there – I built the plinth so that it could be cracked open again with a minimum of effort – in practice the glue was about 20 times more durable than I’d anticipated – I had been worried about it spontaneously collapsing, in reality I nearly needed to take a damn hammer to it to get it apart.

Crap, no money!

Names blacked redded out to protect the probably innocent, and the fairly provably not.

The card is from someone who eventually brought the five oil paintings, and the piece on the right from a rather prolific graffiti artist, i guess they liked my work, or perhaps it’s just that the plinth had a marker pen attached and it presented a new opportunity for getting up, either way I appreciated it 😀

So I sold the paintings, and gave that person one of the books too, she seemed happy with the deal, I was certainly happy to not have to work out what to do with them. And another booklet went in the direction of the aforementioned other person, I assume they have it now.

So the experiment – well, it failed didn’t it? I didn’t get anybody to write on money, though unexpectedly it also worked quite well at another level, so it balanced out.

All in all, fairly ok, though I have a stack of work to do in the next 4 weeks.


Written by secretivesquirrel

September 19, 2010 at 2:55 am

Posted in art, exhibition, project