Experiments

Moth printed on goat parchment

Moth printed on goat parchment

I’ve had to cut back a bit on work for the past week in order to give the inflamed tendon in my left hand a rest. The process of diagnosis irritated the tendon enough that it went from being a weird sensation to a painful one. The pain mellowed out after a couple days, but I’ve been paying close attention to what actions irritate it, and adjusting accordingly.

Thankfully my left hand is not my dominant hand, so I’ve been sketching, researching, scheming, and continuing to carve at about half my normal rate. Aside from working on the project which shall remain nameless, I’ve been exploring the notion of screen printing on alternate materials. During one of the wood veneer printing sessions, I tested a piece of goatskin parchment to see how well the ink would work with it.

I bungled my first pass but flipped the piece over and managed to get a good crisp print on the 2nd try. Since the ink has dried, I’ve been handling the piece to see how well it is set in — bending, scratching, rubbing the surface — and I’m pleased with the result. Now the question is, what to do with it? In the past when I have printed my woodcuts on parchment, I’ve offered them much the same as I offer prints on paper. The purchaser chooses whether to frame them, tack them up on the wall, collect them in an album, etc. etc. etc. Paper has some limitations with regards to durability. So does parchment, but it also has different properties and potential uses. It could potentially be stretched over a frame, used in book binding, or sewn in to a larger piece of some sort. If stretched over an open frame, it could potentially be illuminated from behind — mind you, I’m not looking to start a lampshade empire, but the possibility of incorporating light into my art is an interesting one.

Now that I know I can print on parchment, I’m keen to experiment with leather as well. I have a fair amount on hand due to my past bookbinding coursework, so I’ve been pulling out my supplies and finding test pieces to print on. You can see a bit of it behind the parchment in the image above. I’ve got a few blues, greens, and reds to work with. and some white and gold screen print ink so I’m not limited to printing only black on light color surfaces.

There’s a bit more prep work to do, but I’m looking forward to an experimental printing day soon!

First Friday at Bite Studio

Woodcut in progress inspired by The VVitch

Woodcut in progress inspired by The VVitch

For those not in the know, Bite Studio is the group studio where I pull all of my prints. It is home to a wide variety of printmakers and we’re only open to the public on First Fridays from 6pm-10pm. Join us if you can! I’m not doing many shows right now in order to focus on my large project (not the piece shown above, though I am working on it as well), but I will be in attendance.

Bite Studio
2000 SE 7th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214

Can’t be there in person? Here’s what will be available framed and unframed at Bite: Signum Advenit and Summoning. Mind you, they always look better in person!

Freshly screen printed Tsathogguas on 8 x 10 wood veneer.

Freshly screen printed Tsathogguas on 8 x 10 wood veneer.

Also on Friday, I’ll be picking up the newest screenprints ahead of the party so April Patreon rewards may be shipped as promptly as possible! If you’d like to be part of April’s subscription shipment, today, March 31st, is the last chance to sign up! If you wait until April to subscribe at the Card of the Month level or above, your first physical rewards will ship in early May.

Thanks to my existing patrons, I’ve been able to add to my screen printing supplies and create the new Tsathoggua on 8 x 10 wood veneer! It, and the King in Yellow, will soon be available to all.

Norwescon

On another note, if you’re wondering what the artwork above is, it was carved during my two Art in Action demos at Norwescon. Sunday’s carving demo was done on little sleep so I probably didn’t get as far as I could have. (I worked with an abundance of caution.) On Friday, my first day of carving, I was placed next to a face painter, so my table was swarmed with kids for quite a bit. It was surprisingly not bad considering I was working with sharp knives.

Small children are actually often more respectful than adults about not grabbing artist tools. One of the girls complemented my goat depiction, told me about their herd of goats, and then asked, “Are those hares? They look more like hares than rabbits.” No idea what she wants to be when she grows up, but her observational skills can surely take her far in life. I’m seriously impressed she picked up on that detail.

Incidentally, I didn’t chose to depict the witches as hares because I knew I’d be carving this on Easter. That was just a nice coincidence. Mostly, I really liked that The VVitch incorporated the hare form of witches into the plot. Carving in my studio may be more productive, but sharing the process with folks who may otherwise never see woodcut in action. Thanks to Norwescon for the opportunity!

Where you can find me at Norwescon

Live life deliciously and come see this woodblock carved during my Art in Action times.

Live life deliciously and come see this woodblock carved during my Art in Action times.

Are you as excited about Norwescon 39 as I am? Norwescon will be held in SeaTac March 24th – 27th, and this year’s theme is “Remembering the Future.” As always, there will be plenty of programming designed to appeal to all interests and appetites, including scheduled gaming, midnight movies, dancing, and workshops. You can even learn how to make a movie with some of the creative team from Hellbender Media. There will also be four guests of honor, all distinguished in their respective fields of art, writing, science and publishing, as well as a plethora of professional guests.

As one of the professional guests, I’ll be participating in the following panels and demonstrations in addition to having a display  in the art show and unframed prints available in the print bins.

Art in Action
Table F
Friday, 9:30 AM -12:30 PM

I’ll be demonstrating my carving technique on the new woodcut seen above and will also have a small selection of magnets, cards, and small prints available. You’re welcome to stop by for as little or long as you like. Questions are welcome!

Monster Mash for Mature Mad Scientists
Cascade 12
Friday, 1:30 – 3:30 PM

In this workshop, I’ll help to facilitate the dissection and suturing together of stuffed animals to create the plushy chimeras of your dreams. There will be a $5 materials fee. Not for young children or the easily distressed.

Creativity & Disabilities
Cascade 10
Friday, 6:00 – 7:00 PM

We will discuss and share the ways in which disabilities and limitations inform our creative disciplines. I participated in this panel last year and it ended up being a great group discussion with many resources and tips shared. All are welcome and topics are likely to cover managing mental challenges as well as physical.

Handling Your Online Image As An Artist
Cascade 9
Friday, 8:00 – 9:00 PM

This workshop will explore how to create an effective online presence to better market your art, develop a fan base, and deepen your relationship with them through social media.

How Big a Fish Do You Need to Be?
Cascade 7 & 8
Saturday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Independent creatives will explore what it takes to make a sustainable living as an artist/writer/musician/[insert other creative path here].

Art in Action
Table D
Sunday, 10:30AM – 12:30 PM

I’ll be continuing to carve the new woodcut seen above and as on Friday, will also have a small selection of magnets, cards, and small prints available. You’re welcome to stop by for as little or long as you like. Questions are welcome!

Selling Your Art as Prints & Reproductions
Cascade 2
Sunday, 1:00 – 2:00 PM

Have a question about making or selling prints? Then this is the workshop for you. I’ll be discussing Oregon’s fine print laws, and the other panelists and I will be fielding questions about fine prints, giclee, and digital art. Includingthe advantages of DIY vs. fulfillment services, among other topics.

The Business of Art
Cascade 12
Sunday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM

This one will cover the not-so-fun but nevertheless indispensable aspects of making a living as an artist: health insurance, taxes, self-promotion, marketing, work/life balance, and more.

Aside from the above scheduled events, you’ll also be likely to find me around the art show — it’s a big show and I like to take my time exploring it. Please don’t hesitate to stop and say “hi” if you see me about!

Other News:

A book I contributed to, A Rose Veiled in Black, has begun shipping! I’ll be unveiling the artwork made for it online after my return from Norwescon.

I’ve been updating my Patreon blog regularly. If you’ve not checked it out yet, there are both public posts and special Patron’s Only posts to be found there. You can also use Patreon to subscribe for monthly art shipments starting as low as $8 a month! Subscriptions are charged and shipped on the first of every month, so if you’d like to be part of April’s shipment, you need to join before the end of March.

That’s all for now. I hope Spring is treating you well!

Announcing Patreon Art Subscriptions

Salamander cherry wood card

Salamander cherry wood card

Greetings, fellow Xylographiles!

The 17th was my birthday, and I celebrated by continuing to unpack from my Pantheacon trip, which was both incredibly fun and exhausting! I’ve also just launched something I’ve been quietly working on since last year: a Patreon page!

For those of you not already in the know, Patreon is a crowdfunding resource oriented toward ongoing financial support for independent creators. Whereas traditional crowdfunding websites aim to raise a set dollar amount in a limited timeframe, Patreon allows sponsors to make ongoing contributions to the artists of their choice. It also allows creators to blog easily, and offer both public and patrons-only posts. You can pledge as much or as little per month as you like, and receive different rewards (both digital and physical) depending on your level of sponsorship. It’s an incredible, symbiotic way for creators of all stripes to develop and maintain an ongoing relationship with their supporters, and to give back to those supporters in tangible ways. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the old-school tradition of artistic patronage (think the Medici family) that used to be artists’ main source of income.

Stag on Cedar wood

Stag on Cedar wood

When I launched my Patreon a few short days ago, my most immediate goal was to raise enough money to purchase more screenprinting equipment. This would allow me to expand the selection of wood veneer postcards and 8 x 10 screenprints I unveiled at PantheaCon last week. At this time I’m offering four different screenprint designs and three new wood cards, and I’d love to be able to make more. I had high hopes yesterday when I launched the Patreon, but I was nevertheless floored when several new supporters helped me reach my first goal in only a few hours. The instant positive response has been hugely encouraging, and I’m already hard at work setting new goals and brainstorming more rewards for new patrons.

Speaking of which, let’s talk a little about what kinds of rewards are on offer. As with other crowdfunding sites, Patreon is based on a system of contribution and reward. Depending on the dollar amount you pledge each month, you’ll receive one or more rewards to thank you for your patronage. At the $1 level, you’ll receive my thanks. $2 will earn you access to my patrons-only Patreon feed, as well as early ordering privileges for new prints. Higher reward levels are a variety of subscription services: a wood card of the month, a monthly print from my Zodiac series, a grab-bag of surprises that may include early and experimental woodcut prints as well as other items, and more. (And given the very positive feedback I’ve gotten in under 24 hours, it’s clear that I’ll need to diversify the range of rewards even more.) How much you contribute each month is up to you, and every single pledge helps assure a steady flow of new art!

Figure VII on Bullseye Maple

Figure VII on Bullseye Maple

Before I sign off, let me take a moment to remind you that I’ll be in Seattle, Washington for Norwescon 39 next month. I hope to see many familiar faces there and make a few new friends as well. Until then, I hope February is treating you kindly.

PantheaCon 2016

Guess who learned how to screenprint?

Guess who learned how to screenprint?

Soon I’ll be boarding a plane to San Jose for PantheaCon 2016, my first event of the year, and one of the few I’m attending as I work on my big project. This annual conference of Pagans and heathens coinciding with President’s Day weekend boasts more than 200 presentations and attracts over 2000 guests every year. This year, its 22nd year running, PantheaCon’s theme will be “Change Makers,” inviting attendees to ask ourselves how we bring change into our lives and the Pagan world. (If you’re interested in learning more about the history of PantheaCon and what it’s like to attend, check out Heather Greene’s blog post about last year’s conference.

Krampus approved!

Krampus approved!

I’m happy to be returning to PantheaCon for my second year, and looking forward to reconnecting with a couple of old friends and fellow artists: Catamara Rosarium of Rosarium Blends, and Laura Tempest Zakroff of Owlkeyme Arts. I’ll also be bringing with me a sizable selection of new items. I understand that not everybody has the resources to buy an original woodcut print, and since enthusiasts of my work continue to express interest in lower-priced items, I’ve been happy to oblige with a selection of silkscreened graphic T-shirts, and now some new 8×10 screen-prints. Each of these pieces is created by hand, and like my popular assortment of wood cards they are all printed on real wood veneer.

This PantheaCon, I’ll be debuting the first of said screen-prints including the Salamander seen above at left. Additionally, I’ll be offering a variety of silkscreened graphic T-shirts featuring my art produced in collaboration with my friends at Sigh Co. Graphics. (More on my relationship with Sigh Co. in this previous blog post.) But while new work and new products are always exciting, I must admit that it’ll be hard to top the thrill—not to mention the sheer romance—of meeting Krampus in the flesh (the fur?) last year on Valentine’s Day. Here we are together at right, and as you can see he was awfully pleased with my portrait of him. At least, I think he was pleased. The glistening fangs make him a little hard to read.

A Stag screenprint is born!

A Stag screenprint is born!

Remembering how eager conference attendees were to collect badge ribbons at last year’s PantheaCon, I’ll be sure to bring along some Xylographile ribbons you can use to broadcast your love of woodcut, and identify your fellow xylographiles! Maybe if we’re feeling really ambitious we can form a marauding band of woodcut aficionados.

PantheaCon 2016 will run February 12 – 15 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California. Pre-registration has closed, but if you haven’t done so already you can still register onsite. For a more comprehensive picture of this year’s offerings, check out the PantheaCon 2016 program guide, peruse the full list of vendors, and visit PantheaCon’s Facebook group for news and updates.

Also, stay tuned for more about my upcoming trip to the 2016 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, an event I’ve only just added to this year’s events schedule. It should be a creepy/maddening/delightful old time!

Sigh Co. Graphics and Xylographilia shirts

Krampus shirt at Wells & Verne in Portland, OR

Krampus shirt at Wells & Verne in Portland, OR

A part of my artistic life that I haven’t discussed much so far but take a tremendous amount of pride in is my creative partnership with Portland’s own Sigh Co. Graphics. These are the talented folks who make it possible for me to offer hand-silkscreened shirts and tote bags featuring my art. If you’ve attended any of my recent sales events, it’s very likely that they were vending at a nearby table piled high with Xylographilia shirts, as well as shirts featuring their own original graphic designs. Sigh Co.’s work is inspired by the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, horror film and literature, the occult, and other influences, and includes an eclectic range of items from clothing to glassware and beyond.

Roger D. Bones modeling a Cthulhu shirt.

Roger D. Bones modeling a Cthulhu shirt.

Sigh Co. was founded in New Orleans, Louisiana by Brian and Gwen Callahan. After eight years in business, they pulled up stakes and relocated to Portland, Oregon where they have made their home ever since. True to the artisanal spirit associated with Portland, Sigh Co. is a small, locally owned operation specializing in handmade goods that help to support self-employed artists. Of the many reasons I value my partnership with them, at the top of list is the knowledge that together we’re offering high-quality products printed in the USA. The closest attention is paid to ensure that each silkscreened design is a crisp, faithful reproduction of the original woodcut print: a testament to Sigh Co.’s pride in their craftsmanship.

TshirtsThe current collection of Xylographilia shirts features my Raven, Wyrm, and Phoenix, as well as a Shub-Niggurath work shirt with my Ram on the front pocket, and a newly redesigned Cthulhu work shirt with the addition of a Lovecraftian “Eye of Providence” that I designed especially for Sigh Co. There’s also that year-round favorite, the Krampus shirt.

We’re considering adding new designs to the inventory, so if there’s a particular woodcut you’d like to see made available as a shirt or tote bag, drop us a line! It may just turn up in the future.

Ashes to Ashes

David Bowie has been an inspiration to me since childhood. I can remember watching the Glass Spider tour on TV, and dancing to “Fashion” and “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) with my stuffed animals when they came on the radio. As a teenager I subscribed us to Bowienet internet service and was active in the online Bowie fan community, trading CDs with people all around the world — one online friend, even ended up working for him and got me his autograph. My mom and I traveled to New York City for his 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden — we stood in line hours to get a decent place on the floor. We still talk about it to this day. He was great to see live, and if I had a time machine, I’d use it to see shows from his entire career.

I’ve never admired another artist more, and I’m grateful he got to end with a successful musical and a haunting new album.

Thank you Mr. Bowie.

Happy New Year!

Photo courtesy Todd Chicoine Toddcphoto.wix.com/toddchicoinephoto

Photo courtesy Todd Chicoine Toddcphoto.wix.com/toddchicoinephoto

Is 2015 really over already? This year has gone by far too quickly, though perhaps it just seems that way because it was such a busy year. It kicked off with the second annual Curious Gallery here in Portland, Oregon. Curated by local artist and author Lupa, this event is “a festival of the wunderkammer revival” and features an art show, live demonstrations, and hands-on workshops about a range of subjects from taxidermy to cryptozoology and beyond. Curious Gallery 2016 will be held on January 9 – 10, and though I won’t be able to show at it this time I do plan to attend.

This was also my first year attending PantheaCon, which incidentally will be my very first event of 2016! PantheaCon 2015 was the 22nd annual conference of its kind, boasting attendance of 3000+ pagans and polytheists from all over the world. I’ll be back in San Jose, California on February 12 – 15, in the vendor’s room with my usual array of art plus T-shirts. Hope to see you there!

IronThrone

This Throne lacks proper woodcut knives.

In April I was invited to Norwescon 38—the Pacific Northwest’s premiere sci-fi and fantasy convention—as a guest artist. This year’s theme was Distant Horizons, Epic Adventures, and the author guest of honor was none other than the man himself, George R. R. Martin. In addition to participating in the art show, I was invited to be a panelist and share my experiences as a printmaker, a working artist, and an artist with disabilities. I’m pleased to have been invited back this year and look forward to Norwescon 39, check your schedule for my panels and be sure to visit the art show.

April and May brought CthulhuCon PDX and HPLFF San Pedro. These two Lovecraft-oriented events are among my favorites, and feature a selection of short and feature-length films, live readings of Lovecraft-inspired fiction, tabletop gaming demos, and no shortage of art. At both, I was once again a competitor in the Pickman’s Apprentice Live Drawing competition, racing against several other artists to beat the clock and complete an original image based on a prompt issued by the audience. I’m thrilled to say I won at HPLFF San Pedro.

Omens & Portents opened in July at Seattle’s Gargoyle Statuary, and featured a selection of old and new work inspired by Hermetic magic, illuminated art, and alchemy. My work can be found at Gargoyle year-round, so if you’re in the Seattle area I encourage you to stop by and check it out, along with the rest of their huge selection of art.

Cody Goodfellow and friend at NecronomiCon.

Cody Goodfellow and friend at NecronomiCon.

Then in August, I flew to Providence, Rhode Island for NecronomiCon. Since this was Lovecraft’s 125th birthday and the birth of weird fiction, this year’s conference was a Lovecraft International Homecoming. Some of my prints were in the Ars Necronomica showcase, alongside the work of artists including Skinner, Nick Gucker, Lee Moyer, Paul Komoda, and others. I also assisted with vending at the Arkham Bazaar booth, and signed an awful lot of books. NecronomiCon is an amazing event, and I’m already excited for the next one in 2017.

The 7th annual Esoteric Book Conference followed in September, and once again I enjoyed the privilege of hosting the art show. This year’s featured artists included Raven Ebner, Valerie Herron, Anne O’Neill, Travis Lawrence, Michael Cowell, and Troy Chambers. The lectures were excellent and I particularly loved Oksana Marafioti’s “Magical Realism in Russia: How Ancestry Worship, Shamanism and Christianity Shaped the Nation.” I also somehow managed to make it home without buying too many books.

HPLFF touched down in Portland in October at the historic Hollywood Theatre. This year began with

Proofing Signum Advenit

Proofing Signum Advenit

a 1920s-themed gala celebration with music, dancing, burlesque, and a screening of The Call of Cthulhu. I returned as a guest artist along with Cody Goodfellow, Leeman Kessler, Molly Tanzer, Jeff Burk, and others, and in addition to vending I helped put together Kickstarter reward bags. This involved hand-numbering the limited edition of 250 Miskatonic Expedition log books and creating a Kickstarter reward print, Signum Advenit. I also sat on the Medium of Madness panel, where we discussed artistic media and how they mesh with Lovecraftian influences.

As action-packed as this year has been, there’s plenty more coming in 2016. I can’t say much at the moment, but I’m currently working on a large-scale secret project. While I’ll be reducing the number of shows I attend in 2016, I’ll also be upping the number of woodcuts I’m creating. How much am I upping it? I officially released 7 new print editions and made three 90-minute woodcuts in 2015, I’m already working on 8 new woodcuts, and that’s just a fraction of the large project.

Figure 7. -- The last print from this edition may be seen on The Magicians.

Figure 7. — The last print from this edition may be seen on The Magicians.

In addition to creating new woodcuts, I’m also working on new wood veneer reproductions. Since the response to the cards has been so favorable, I’ll be expanding the wood card series and beginning to offer 8 x 10 reproductions. Also, the SyFy viewers among you should keep your eyes peeled for my work on upcoming episodes of the new series The Magicians, which contacted me earlier in the year for set dressing items. (More on that in a later post.) Finally, I’m in the process of setting up a Patreon that will go live in January. The Patreon will allow me to easily share updates, glimpses into the woodcut process, and offer monthly subscriptions for magnets, cards, and even original prints.

Huge thanks to those of you who’ve continued to show interest in my work by coming to events and exhibiting such enthusiasm for the art of woodcut printmaking. Have a safe and happy New Year, and I’ll catch you all in 2016!

Coupons and Krampus and events

This year has been flying by, and I’m about ready to settle in for a long winter’s work on new art! But first, through December 5th, you can use the coupon code WINTER2015 in my Etsy store for free shipping within the United States. Simply apply the code to any purchase totaling $20 or more and then brace yourself for that hot free shipping action! After all, it’s the holiday season, and who isn’t looking to save a few bucks wherever we can?

Card_Krampus4And speaking of the holidays, December 5th happens to be a special day for another reason, too: Krampusnacht, of course! On this holiday costumed celebrants take to the streets with clanging bells and torches blazing in a parade known as Krampuslauf. Traditionally celebrated in Germany and Austria, Krampusnacht has begun to catch on in the United States, and Krampuslaufs are cropping up in cities all over, including here at home in Portland, Oregon!

Speaking of Krampus, although my woodcut print sold out this year, I’m now offering Krampus greeting cards! Available as individual cards or six packs to convey your seasons greetings, these unique wood veneer cards are available in an array of natural woods. (And if Krampus isn’t your style, you’ll find more varieties here.)

Also, for those of you living here in Portland, I have just two more events to look forward to before 2015 winds to a close. The first is the Bite Studio show this Friday, December 4th, from 6 PM to 10 PM. We’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Bite Studio with an array of our best prints. My selection includes my very first woodcut print, two
unique hand-altered prints, and the most complex print I’ve made to date. (Please note, I will not be in attendance all night, because I will be setting up for my last event of the year.)

Next on the schedule is the annual da Vinci Arts Fair this Saturday at Portland’s da Vinci Arts Middle School. ThisMona-Lisa-on-cream-web-copy
yearly event brings artists from all around Portland into the school to sell their work, with proceeds helping to support da Vinci’s arts and academic classes. I’ll be there Saturday, December 5th from 10 AM – 6 PM with a selection of prints, cards, bookmarks, and magnets—ideal for stocking stuffers—as well as my popular Krampus shirts. Stop by and say hello!

Lastly, beginning on December 11th some of my work will be showing as part of the Print Arts Northwest exhibition From Here to There
at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon. The show runs through February 6th, 2016.