Whimsical article

Hello. Not many 'up-dates' lately, hey? Its because of the rapid approach of the Lost Angeles show and also I was producing the artwork for all the merchandise for Radiohead's immense worldwide tour. And there being only one of me, despite my appeals to the cloning fraternity at Miskatonic University. But look:

I'm making a jigsaw, of course. Any readers of this pathetic semblance of a blog old enough to remember 2006 might recall that I did a jigsaw for a show called London Views as well. This one is exactly the same except with a completely different picture. 192 pieces made of wood. Quite difficult to complete. Really expensive. Choking hazard for small children. In a nice box. Ideal for apocalyptically-minded retirees. Et cetera.
In other news, everything for the exhibition is going okay except for the fact that Comrade Winstanley, my efficient screenprinter, has sliced his hand in half. Which may cause a slight delay. However, the medics have sewn it back together and he now has an extra finger. Always a silver lining, hey?
Anyway I'll try to 'up-date' this sorry excuse for a blog more frequently, but I cannot promise a god-damned thing.

- 7th March 2012

Closer, and exhibition date

Lost Angeles will be exhibited for the first time at Subliminal Projects Gallery, 1331 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026, USA. The show will run from 28th April 2012.

I think things are going better. I have no hard evidence for this; it's just a vague feeling. It may simply be because I have just had two glasses of wine. Here are some close-up photographs I took of parts of the eighteen-foot print that went wrong last week.

City Hall. You can see where the chisel slipped a bit on here. However, I would like to point out that I didn't cut myself once whilst cutting this monstrous print.

This is LAX international airport, with Century City in the background. I was going to add a few plummeting aeroplanes but was dissuaded from doing so by two friends who travel there quite frequently. I said, "it's only a linocut," but they were having none of it. "So meteor and floods and conflagrations are okay then?" Apparently so.

This is the bit I really, really didn't want to get wrong, as there is no going back with a chisel. I was worried that I'd spell it wrong or something. HOLLYWOD. Because of course I had to do everything backwards, it being a direct relief print.

And here is the Walt Disney concert hall. All this from one mouse. Extraordinary. What a country.

- 6th February 2012


Nothing is easy and everything is complicated. As you can see from the picture below, printing this full-length hand-burnished edition of Lost Angeles involves grovelling around on the floor for hours.

Below I present an almost verbatim account of the first day's printing, as told by a long-suffering printer.

It started off ok, very slow... There is the issue of how you keep the print going in a dead straight line, and trying to keep the edge of the paper to the exact line of the registration mark. Quite difficult, as it only needs to move a couple of millimetres and then that would mean you have several centimetres at the end, up or down. A few degrees out and you're fucked. Halfway I could see it trying to wander more off the line and at that point tried to gradually 'bend it' back in.
I should have established base camp there and then and gone home, but I carried on regardless pressing on for a quick ascent of the summit, thinking that this one could be my printers proof. By the time I'd got to the eighteenth hole I was totally knackered and I probably lost one second of concentration and then in that moment the bugger had me! I had allowed extra paper either end for any misdemeanors, and the paper jumped on the last block, so there was a double print!
I tidied up, locked the studio, then walked off to find the car. Then realised in my delirium I had locked the keys in the studio. So then had to find a ladder to scale twelve feet of wall, and once I got over the top realised I couldn't get down the other side because I had a large fucking print resting precariously on boards just below. I had to find a second ladder and then drag that up and then walk across the dividing wall like a tightrope walker before lowering the ladder down the wall to the floor. I drove home and nearly crashed the damned car.

The 'eighteenth hole' is shown here. As I mentioned earlier, nothing is easy, and everything is complicated. Tomorrow we try again. Salut!

- 26th January 2012


Something went wrong. More later. Got to go now.

- 29th January 2012


Yesterday we started print-testing kozo paper on the Lost Angeles blocks, before ordering the rolls of paper and going for the hand-burnishing of the entire linocut, which, after measuring, turns out to be more than 18 feet long; it's 18 feet and two inches.
We tried two weights of paper; 25gsm and 52gsm. Both of these weights are incredibly low (for example, the paper I usually use for screenprinting is 290gsm) but the almost uncanny strength of the paper is due to the long fibres of mulberry bark that handmade kozo paper contains. Kozo was, apparently, what was used to hold the plates of a samurai's armour together.

The heavier weight, 52gsm, turns out to feel like it'll be slightly easier to work with. 18 and a half feet of something that feels pretty much like tissue is going to be impossible; although to be honest there's not a lot between them... As you can see, the ink is clearly visible from the reverse side of the paper.

The U.S. Bank Tower, formerly Library Tower and First Interstate Bank World Center, carved in a quasi-Mediaeval style, printed on to handmade Japanese paper.
It occurs to me that the abbreviation gsm may need explanation. It stands for grammes per square metre. Paper is measured completely differently in the USA, where they weigh 500 sheets in pounds. So, for example, ordinary photocopier paper is about 80gsm, but in the US it's called 20lb paper. Go figure, as I believe they say.

See that? The round thing, not the Sharpie, that's there for scale. The round thing is a baren, and that's what is going to be used for every inch of the linocut, which amounts to (i think) 5,500, in an edition of 12, which in turn adds up to, er, 66,000 inches.

Let's hope nothing goes wrong.

- 19th January 2012