« Arts of Japan series : case construction part 11 | Main | Arts of Japan series : print #2 - predecessors »

Arts of Japan series : print #2 - image concept

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:26 AM, May 15, 2012 [Permalink]

It's time to begin work on the second print in the Arts of Japan series, even though we're far from 'finishing' the first one. I have yet to print the second batch of 100 or so of that one (although there were enough in the first batch to supply all the current collectors, so there's no panic on that), and there is still plenty of case construction work waiting for me in the woodshop ...

The theme for this next one has been decided, and will be sculpture - in particular 'monumental' sculpture. Given that fact, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to make a pretty good guess about what the image might look like!

There are many possible such sculptures scattered all over the country, but I have selected a particular one that is situated not too far from here, and the reason is that ... I think that rather than reproduce an old print of this object, I'd like to have a go at creating a new one.

Yes - does that strike fear into the hearts of the collectors? Dave is going to include originals in this series!

For the curious, here's a Google search of images of the object in question ...

The rest of the time today was spent working with Tsushima-san on her 'Yoshida' proofing, and running up to the woodshop every time my little timer told me that a batch of glue was ready to unclamp. I'm trying to get the next batch of cases done, and am laying up the laminated paulownia tops. This time, I'm also mixing in the first bunch of cases for the Mokuhankan 'Hangaclub' project, so that we can perhaps get that underway without too much more delay ...


Following comment posted by: Michael Kohne on May 15, 2012 11:49 AM

No, not fear - excitement! I look forward to the originals very much - they are always interesting.

Following comment posted by: Dale on May 16, 2012 8:25 AM

Nice to see printmakers printing! Those sheets being printed by Tsushima-san look really interesting, and we are all looking forward eagerly to your newest creation for the series.

I am wondering what I missed in your blogs - this is the first time I have seen any mention of the 'Hangaclub' project. A bit of internet research shows you are working on a new site but there doesn't seem to be very many tantalizing details! I can guess that you are making cases that your customers can use for some of the Mokuhankan prints that have been sold out from your albums...or maybe it is just a new marketing name for the subscription process that allows us to collect wonderful prints.

Do tell!

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 16, 2012 8:32 AM

I am wondering what I missed in your blogs - this is the first time I have seen any mention of the 'Hangaclub' project

I'm sure I talked about this ... there is nothing particularly 'secret'. Just a minute while I check ...

[Hits Google, with a search for 'hangaclub site:mokuhankan.com']

Aha! I see that I haven't yet actually made a post about this! The only reference so far is in the 'roadmap' chart I published in this post!

Well, when I get a minute - perhaps when the first of the little cases is ready - I'll make a post about it (over on Mokuhankan), explaining what we are planning ...

Following comment posted by: Margaret Maloney on May 17, 2012 1:33 PM

Original prints! Yay! As you know, some of my favorite prints of yours are your originals (I'm still lusting after the Solitudes series), and I can't wait to see what you come up with for this.

I am thrilled.

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 19, 2012 3:13 PM

I am thrilled ...

Oh, the stress!

Following comment posted by: Margaret Maloney on May 20, 2012 8:38 AM

Oh, don't worry, Dave, I'll be thrilled however it comes out. I certainly don't expect it to have umptymillion impressions like the Solitudes series did—the treasure chest series are fundamentally different projects.

I was listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast recently, an episode called "Our Buggy Brain". Paul Bloom was on, talking about why we like what we like:

Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

An extensive part of the discussion was about how our appreciation of art depends not only on the physical qualities of that art, but also the stories behind it.

I like woodblock prints just on their own merits, but I never bought one until I started following your activities here on woodblock.com. I think one of the reasons I am happy to pay for them is because by the time it reaches my hands, each one has a story for me; I've seen your struggle with sizing, or your delight at finding a particularly good image to print.

For others of your collectors, part of that story, which they know intimately, is the provenance of the original images: who the designers and printers were, when they were active, their lifetime fame or infamy. But I don't know those orignal creators (honestly, if a reporter were to stop me on the street here in New York and ask me to list all the woodblock printmakers I know—designers, printers, etc.—the only ones I could list by name would be Hiroshige and David Bull!). So, for me, the fact that a print is not only made by you but designed by you as well adds something to its meaning.

All of that is to say: no pressure! :D

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 20, 2012 9:50 AM

by the time it reaches my hands, each one has a story for me ...

From my own point of view, this sort of thing is very important. I have artist friends who say things like, "If I have to explain or talk about the image, it means I've failed," but I disagree.

I don't need the local baker to 'explain' the background to the loaf he sells me, because I already basically 'get the concept'. But for objects of more complexity, that are going to play a part in our lives over and above immediate (and temporary) consumption, I think we need the 'story'; we need to have a way to integrate it with our own experiences, desires, and emotions.

As I have written on these blogs and website many times before, I think that my collectors are not 'purchasing pieces of paper', I think they are 'sharing my life'. Not all creators want to do it that way, but that's the way I'm built, it seems ... And having all this human contact involved - instead of the thing being some boring and 'cold' gallery transaction - suits me just fine!

the only ones I could list by name would be Hiroshige and David Bull ...

That's a 'comparison' I think I can live with!

Add Your Input

Remember Me? (with a cookie ...)

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Back to the Main Page