Back to the Future
One of the great ironies of influence is that one can’t necessarily pull apart what has caused you to be what you are, artistically, without removing a few of the key bolts that keep the whole structure in place. Asked to remove a specific influence from an artist’s work is a massive game of Jenga, and just because the artist is rooted in their field by the various flotsam and jetsam that they have been exposed to, it often doesn’t make the artist the sum of the parts. It is thus that, when my good friend Matt Rebholz approached me and offered for me to spend to a day make a silkscreen print with the infinitely generous and patient Greg Nanny of Drive-By Press that I jumped at the chance and told him to his shock I had never done one before.
Clearly, my work is heavily influenced by the analog printing process; my parents, founding members of the Graphic Workshop at Mass. Art, were old hands at the process, and our household was filled to the brim with incredible prints, from lithography to woodcuts to silkscreens. However, I also happened to come of age when the first Apple computer, the Mac IISE, entered into our house. Photoshop 1.0 was a revolution, and I totally taken with it. And so it went, me recreating the influences of my life (analog) with the tools of the future (digital). And last Thursday was my first dip back into the cool waters of influence. It feels good.
The above print is the first of a series of prints I’m planning on creating, based upon the lesser known tales of Phaedrus (Aesop), as translated by the amazing, amusingly old-school Christopher Smart . If you can’t read it, the text is below:
The Dog, Treasure, and Vulture.
A Dog, while scratching up the ground,
‘Mongst human bones a treasure found;
But as his sacrilege was great,
To covet riches was his fate,
And punishment of his offence;
He therefore never stirr’d from thence,
But both in hunger and the cold,
With anxious care he watch’d the gold,
Till wholly negligent of food,
A ling’ring death at length ensued.
Upon his corse a Vulture stood,
And thus descanted :-” It is good,
O Dog, that there thou liest bereaved
Who in the highway wast conceived,
And on a scurvy dunghill bred,
Hadst royal riches in thy head.”
You can see a larger version of the print on my Flickr page. The few still remaining will go on sale soon. Stay tuned.