Some Fun Letterpress Pieces

While I was working on “Nominal Chinati” I whipped out some quick runs on the letterpress at the Bow & Arrow just for funsies. These will be posted on my Etsy site as soon as I get good images.

One of my favorite wordsmiths, even though he “only” wrote noir mysteries. 8″x 10″, printed in a mix of Standard Italic 30 pt and 18 pt.


One of the unexpected stories to have significantly affected American science fiction in the 60s, “Tlön, Uqbar and Orbis Tertius” was a revelation to me when I read it at age 18. Approximately 15″ x 9″, printed in mixed wood type, Baskerville 24pt and Bodoni Italic 72 pt.


And I seem to have a thing for printing John Cage quotes as a blind emboss with no ink, so this one is propped up on a stool so the lighting enhances the legibility of the words. 8″ x 10″, using my beloved 30 pt Standard Italic.



Printing an Edition: “Nominal Chinati”

The last week I’ve been busy at work at the Bow & Arrow Press using our Charles Brand intaglio press to print an edition for inde | jacobs gallery in Marfa, TX. Some of my prints are listed here. The gallery is preparing to re-open after a long hiatus, and these prints will be available at the “soft opening” the day after Christmas.

The print, called “Nominal Chinati”, is an homage to three pieces, one by Judd and two by Flavin. It’s a shaped-plate relief print cut with a laser into 0.050″ aluminum, and rolled with Daniel Smith relief ink. There will be 45 members in the edition, and perhaps three Artist Proofs and one Press Proof.

Here’s a shot of the inking setup:


Here’s a shot of the plate and press:


A shot of the early round of prints:


And the final stack in the drying rack:


Be sure to contact inde | jacobs gallery for purchasing options.

Residency Wrapup, a Little Later Than Expected

Well, it took me longer than expected to cap off the residency posts with some shots of the closing reception, but better late than never. Here are some lovely images shot during the closing by Rebecca Philio, who has shot several receptions for the Nave Gallery through the years.

Residency-Closing-05Myself and Jesa Damora at the refreshment table as things start. The three rope river, catenary experiments, needlepoint rivers, tetrahedral shapes and some agitated catenary prints are visible here.

Residency-Closing-04Another overview shot, with agitated catenaries, video of the random constructions I did, the 3D pixel rivers, pixel Mona Lisa, flow pattern experiments, a 100-pixel color random pixel object and a 36-pixel grayscale random pixel object visible.

Residency-Closing-03Another shot of the three rope river with pixel projects in the background.

Residency-Closing-02The complied video of my random constructions, with the 3D pixel rivers behind.

Residency-Closing-01Chatting with some attendees.

It was a wonderful end to the summer, and I can’t thank the Nave Gallery enough for the opportunity!

Nave Residency, Day 12

Not really a true work day, just a quick organization day to prepare for the closing reception tomorrow evening. I threw out trash, rationalized the box situation for later packing, put away cameras, pens and pencils, and collected stuff to take home tomorrow morning. Once everything was tidied up, I set out a TV and DVD player so I can show a montage of my random pixel creations, and did some quick final setups:

Final-100-Pixel-ObjectThe final color Random Pixel Object.

Final-Grayscale-RPOThe final grayscale Random Pixel Object.

3D-Pixel-SignatureA large-scale 3D Pixel Signature.

3D-Earth-TweakAnd a 3D tweak on the Earth in the pixel Earth-Moon System

See everyone tomorrow, September 21, at 6:30pm.

Nave Residency Day 11

Something of a disjointed day today, various errands and weather-related interruptions had me going back three separate times. However, I did get stuff done. One of which was a  shot of the Pixel Earth-Moon System with my nice Canon camera; I had tried before but the auto-focus didn’t quite figure out what to focus on, so every shot was blurry. Hitherto:


This, of course, is the Earth and the Moon, to scale in pixel form, with the distance between them also to scale.

Then I signed and numbered the Random Pixel Objects, using some metal stamps I had to emboss the wood. I signed with the initials “LTO” and a four-digit number drawn at random from the pile of number stamps:

Then I did some more experimentation with catenary curves, coming up with quite a few shots of curves, kinks, and agitated chains. Here’s a gallery of some selected shots:

Finally, on a lark I decided to play with the hundreds of tiny pixel cubes I had, and lay out the symbol forms in the original character set for the IBM-PC, Code Page 437. I was only able to get a fifth of the way through the set before I ran out of pixels, unfortunately, but it was still fun to attempt it. Since the cubes are not glued down, I consider it something of a pixel mandala — a temporary construction, ephemerally encoded until I sweep them back into their box.


Nave Residency Day 10

I finally got back to the gallery yesterday, but I was at the Bow & Arrow Press for Open Press Night afterward, so I didn’t get to process things until now. A big portion of yesterday’s work was 100 Random Pixel time-lapse videos, which I present here:

Time-Lapse 09 uses the same rules as the earlier ones, but 10 and after uses a different rule for dealing with obstructing pixels: instead of skipping over the obstructing pixels until a free space is reached, I now simply stack the new pixel on the obstructing pixel so that a three-dimensional form is created.

I also shot frames for a panorama of the two-tributary rope river from last time, and then constructed a three-tributary rope river with the last length of rope I had available:

Upper-Tributaries 3-Rope-River

I also shot a lot of portfolio images of the needlepoint rivers, as I had them on the wall for my artist’s talk last Sunday. Finally, I got out the ball chain I’d ordered just before I started the residency, and began experimenting with catenary curves.


This is the simple construction I made using the steel chain suspended on the hooks attached between the two lally columns in the gallery. I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen with those, but we shall see.

After that experiment, I upended a desk and used the legs and cross supports to string the copper chain in various intersecting catenaries. I then started my camera shooting once every three seconds, and began agitating the chain. Below are some of the more interesting images, some with a touch of Photoshopping, some without. Further experimentation is definitely in the cards.

Agitated-Catenaries-07 Agitated-Catenaries-06 Agitated-Catenaries-05 Agitated-Catenaries-04 Agitated-Catenaries-03 Agitated-Catenaries-02 Agitated-Catenaries-01

Finally, I’ll leave you with a lovely little curve from the steel suspensions that I shot on a whim:


Nave Residency, Day 9

With Labor Day and various other stuff happening, I haven’t been able to get over to the Nave until late this afternoon. Alas, I was only there for a couple hours, mostly to make more repairs to the Mississippi and to lay the other two out on a different support system. The plinth wasn’t quite the right height, and both the Nile and Yangtze started sagging in weird ways. Evidently wooden cubes and wood glue are more pliable than originally expected. Here are the rivers in their new layouts, with clamps visible on the Mississippi:

Nile-Supports Mississippi-Repair Yangtze-Supports

I also took the opportunity to hang up the latest Flow Pattern drawings, made by dripping ink over wet paper that had been set over newsprint to make interesting topographies:

Flow-Patterns-07 Flow-Patterns-06 Flow-Patterns-05 Flow-Patterns-08

The black Flow Pattern drawings are made with reclaimed inkjet ink, which contains a certain amount of every ink used in professional-grade inkjets. So I was hoping that some kind of separation would happen as the ink dried, and different colors would become visible against the composite black shade. And, indeed, there are areas of cyan and magenta bleeding through the basic black in certain areas of these drawings:

Flow-Pattern-Inkjet-Detail-02 Flow-Pattern-Inkjet-Detail-01

Finally, I pieced together another Tetra Experiments piece, this time following a pattern: I started with a basic zigzag line, then added an extension with three empty sleeves to every third segment. I then attached it to an earlier piece, the one curled around the pole with a cube held in a little cage.


Nave Residency, Day 8

Today started off, oddly enough, as something of a clean-up day. I moved the trash bags I’m using as floor protectors for the wet projects, I shifted a bunch of the loose cubes over to where the river production area was, I cleaned up the pixel dice construction site, and collected boxes in one area and trash in another. I have some of the flow-pattern ink drawings in process, but I didn’t get around to photographing them. Next time!

For a consolation prize, here are the rivers, mostly complete. The clamp on the Mississippi is joining the Ohio/Upper Mississippi/Missouri complex to the Lower Mississippi/Red/Canadian/Arkansas complex. The clamp on the Yangtze is to hold together a faulty glue joint, which broke at around the Wuhan area.


I also put the Random Pixel Objects on display on a plinth, just to get them out of the way:


In the new cleared space, I expanded on the silly idea from a couple days ago, which is to try to draw riverbeds using rope. So, here’s a confluence of rope rivers:

Confluence-of-Rope-03 Confluence-of-Rope-02

Then I did enough pixel dice grids to get me up to 100. This makes for a nice concatenation, especially when I remove as much as the margins as possible and normalize for size. Squishing them together in a 10 x 10 grid makes for an image composed of 60 x 60 pixel dice:


Then I re-normalized all of the grids with a 50 pixel border all the way around, which made for a nice steady video of randomness:

And finally, since all of those frames were pretty much as aligned as one could ask for, I averaged them all together to see if there were any non-random processes that might crop up. If there were, some of the pixel squares would vary from neutral gray, either being lighter or darker. As it turns out, there’s not much variation, which suggests the way I make these grids is fairly random, especially for a human-driven process:


Continuing on the randomness concept, I also did some more 100 Random Pixel time-lapse videos. Here are the resulting pieces, and the videos that accompany them:

100-Random-Pixels-08_04 100-Random-Pixels-07_01 100-Random-Pixels-06_01 100-Random-Pixels-05_04

I won’t be in for a few days, but we’ll see whether I feel like coming in on Labor Day.

Nave Residency, Day 7

Interesting stuff today. I was hoping to have images of all three pixel rivers done, but the Mississippi is being difficult and I needed to re-glue several tributaries, this time using clamps. I should have been using clamps the entire time!

But anyway, other stuff still got done. I finished all nine of the Random Pixel Objects, which are all available for sale to interested parties! Here they are in a group shot:


I also did ten more Random Pixel Grids:


And the carbon-atom tetrahedral experiments are now taking over portions of the gallery:

Tetra-Experiments-07 Tetra-Experiments-06 Tetra-Experiments-05 Tetra-Experiments-04

Finally, I haven’t had a chance to get lights in to properly banish the shadows on the 100-pixel random grid, so I started playing around with the pixels by themselves and ended up creating larger and more colorful Random Pixel Objects with them. The first one I did completely as a lark, so all I have is the final result:


This is 100 Random Pixels Number 0. After I did this one, the prototype, a light bulb went off in my head and I set up my camera to shoot time-lapse videos of the next four. I’ll post the still shots first, then the Vimeo links afterward.

100-Random-Pixels-04_01 100-Random-Pixels-03_03 100-Random-Pixels-02_04 100-Random-Pixels-01_04

These videos are all very short, so you won’t have to sit through a long, drawn-out construction process. I did save these at 24 fps instead of my normal 30 fps, because the slower frame rate made it look less frantic.

Anyway, more stuff tomorrow, hopefully the Mississippi will cooperate with me, and I started dribbling the used inkjet ink on wet paper.