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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Thief of Time


Well, I finally did it yesterday, I committed the heist I'd been planning since the early 1990s. And if what I did is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
I stole the Larkin Administration Building, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece that actually was removed from the map in 1950. However, there is still a small piece of the building on the site. And while the main portion of the ruins is lovingly maintained by dedicated volunteers, a large piece remains crumbling into the parking lot. So, yesterday I pulled up to the wall and snagged a fragment, and took it home. HA HA! MINE ALL MINE!
But let's not make any hasty judgements, as there was purpoise to my purloining. I will be using the brick to match colors for the Larkin Building Print that I will be executing this week, and you are all invited! So keep checking back!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Missed It By THAT Much


After I began woodcut printmaking in 2002, our hobby of haunting local estate sales took on a little more excitement as I searched for anything print-related, from artwork to equipment. With Buffalo having had quite a rich history in printing, I figured some good stuff would eventually start to make its way out of dusty attics and musty basements.
But, no, it never really did. As far as the artwork goes, the closest thing was a "woodcut" which was being sold as a print for $300; getting up close, I could see the sawtooth edges that are the hallmark of a computer printout. And as for equipment, I'm pretty sure that it is dictated by law that every garage/estate sale has at least one drawer from a California job case.
So, this morning we headed to Elmwood Avenue to check out the Elmwood Festival of the Arts, where, naturally, we were confronted with a banner that reminded us that that event is NEXT weekend. So, we poked around the neighborhood shops, and happened on an estate sale in a ridiculously large and beautiful home on Lafayette Avenue.
Being Sunday-- Day 3 -- there wasn't much left but some books and knick knacks (and, I swear, a California job case drawer). We went to the second floor and pawed through some more stuff, and frames, and the attic apartment, which was mostly empty, bun fun to look around. Finding nothing of interest, we probably should have left, but as the owners of an old house, we can't resist looking around the basements of old homes.
I immediately found a box with receipts. I love old receipts from back in the day, but these were even more meaningful. They were receipts from a printing company for business cards, letterhead and forms, many made for Buffalo's leading businesses in the mid 1950s. Not cool enough to buy, but pretty cool to behold for a minute. That's when the Little Woman said to me, "Ooh! Look at that old press!"
This beautiful old cylindrical proofing press sat in a sad little corner piled with junk, and set around it were boxes of old type. It had finally happened. I hit the jackpot.
"The press stays with the family," came a voice as a gently caressed the press' drum.
"Oh," I said, a little sad. I already have a press that I'm happy with, and being broke, I knew I couldn't have afforded the press anyway. Had there been other printing-related items, I'm sure I could have snapped up some stuff, but I didn't have much use for the press and the type.
"Yeah, this is day three," the voice continued. "Everything is pretty much gone. But two days ago it was PACKED WITH PRINTING STUFF."
Yes. It turns out that the house was owned by Mildred Andriaccio who passed away in April at age 93. Her claim to fame was, of course, that she was the first woman to own a printing business in Buffalo, Andria Press.
So, Mrs. Andriaccio, I salute you. And I implore anyone out there: If you hear of any sales "packed with printing stuff," won't you give a brother a shout?
(Note: Pulled the accompanying photograph from the web. The photo was called "The Ghost of a Printing Press," and I think it fits the post pretty well.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Primary Focus


In the coming posts, you will be seeing a huge difference in prints, primarily the colors. After a lot of R&D, I have found that using just the four process colors (magenta, cyan, yellow and black, not only can I make any color I need, but the colors are more vibrant.
Until this point, I have been using a shelf of mostly opaque inks which worked well for reduction prints, in which each successive color is printed on top of previous colors.
I've abandoned that method for the traditional multiple block method, in which each color is printed from a separate block. This means that, for the most part, each color will sit in one layer on the paper, providing true vibrancy and true color representation.

An Instant Classic

In my last post, I provided a photograph of the Knox Farm stable and the print that I made from it. Well, last week the Little Woman and I drove out there to find that the tree that caused the wonderfully wabi way of the wicked wall has been rem0ved. It always saddens me when they take down a tree, especially one that is just so aggressive as this one. But I have to assume that their ultimate goal is to save the structure...and let me tell you, that is one lofty goal. It always saddens me when they demolish a building, especially one as tenacious as this one.
However, if I discover that they killed the tree and the building, hoo-boy! They are really going to get one blistering letter from this hombre! So watch it!