stockholm

Zebra under the Bridge

Upon discovering the dramatic looking stairs and graffiti-covered walls under St Eriksbron, I've decided this small bit of Stockholm deserves a print of its own. I knew it was to be a big black-and-white print (like the tiger on Urvädersgränd) - what caught my eye first was the texture of the concrete, and then, the enormous structure in shadow in contrast with the bright sky. 

I thought the zebra would be the perfect animal for this scene, just to push myself further in terms of different lines and textures. So I dug out photos I took of the zebras at Kolmården last year and started working. 

Carving the block (30 x 45 cm) took three weeks; despite being a one-block black-and-white, this turned out to be the most labor-intensive print I've ever made with all the bits and pieces. The constant visualizing and decision making also add to the intensity (and the fun!),

I used the Dremel tool I got as Christmas present last year to clear out a lot of the sky; with the first test proof (left one below) I wanted to see how the sanded texture would look would work with the lines on the stairs. In the end I carved away all the sky - the open part on the right bring out the stairs even more and the whole print just look much more dramatic. 

I also tweaked a lot of small things - marked on the text print with post-it's as you can see. At this point I also like to take a couple of days away from the print and see how I feel about the way things are. 

So here's the final print, which I'm calling St Eriksbron, is a limited edition of 20 prints on Hosho paper, each signed and numbered at the bottom. The print measures 30 x 45 cm, and the paper 40 x 55 cm. You can find the print in the shop

 

Painting on a Wall

Last two weeks I've been busy with a big project - painting someone's living room wall. The client lives and works near St Maria Magdalena church and really likes my linocut; and I just couldn't refuse a commission to cover someone's living room wall with my print. 

After covering around the work area with lots and lots of newspaper and masking tape, I sprayed the surface with a light Phthalo blue almost identical to the background color I mixed for the linocut

For the outlines I used a projector (I drew faint white lines in the 3rd photo above). The light from the projector actually made it quite hard to see, so I turned it off once I had a good structure. 

I got a bunch of supplies from Highlights, a graffiti supply store in Stockholm; the folk there also gave a lot of good advice. Aside from gloves, mask, tape and basic supplies, I mainly used MTN water-based color - spray paint, markers and refills. 

It was hard to get enough ink out when drawing directly on the wall, so I ended up using the markers as brushes, dipping them in the refill which I put in the spray can caps. 

Last step was to put a layer of varnish over the whole wall to protect the design.  

All done!

A whole new kind of project like this was both exhausting and fulfilling (I completed the wall in 4 days), and this year will hopefully witness many new things - prints, patterns and workshops. I'll post about the new zebra print very soon too :)

 

Linocut, S:t Johannes Kyrka (St. John's Church)

This will be an update with mostly process pictures of my first two-color reduction linocut, S:t Johannes Kyrka (St. John's Church).

Making this print was really challenging but also great fun, so I tried to photo and document everything. If you have any questions about any step or something I used, feel free to comment and I'll be happy to answer.

I've been drawing, carving, proofing and printing non-stop for the past two weeks, and the next week will be the last before the deadline for next year's

Liljevachs

Spring Salon (Liljevachs vårsalong). Background information: Liljevachs public art gallery was opened in 1916 as the first independent, public museum for contemporary art in Sweden. I am planning to apply with a couple of my original linocuts, including two new reduction prints featuring churches and rooftops in Stockholm.

S:t Johannes Kyrka is the first of the two and is the view of

Vasastan

roofs with the church's peaking Gothic tower. I've been going up to the roof park on Sveavägen to look at the amazing geometry; this linocut is my interpretation of it.

I started with a sketch in Photoshop. Here's what I learned: clipping masks work great when sketching for reduction prints. Nothing fancy at this stage - just messy doodle to show myself the overall composition and colors.

I did a quick transfer, tracing the outline (I printed it out to A3, same size with the block) and draw the details right onto the block. Here's me carving for the first layer. 

At this point I'm carving away what I want to leave white. 

First test proof of the lighter-colored layer. I'm making two editions, with this layer being red or yellow. 

I made enough prints of the first layer, in both colors, to give myself some margin for error in registration. Prints would hang to dry for 3 - 4 days before I print the second layer. 

This is the yellow one - a bright, rich color that really reminds one of the sunrise on a beautiful day. 

When the prints were hanging on the wire, I cleaned the block using baby wipes and baby oil, then started carving more from the block to prepare for the second layer. Here I'm carving away what I wanted to leave yellow/red. 

First test print! Apart from the dark color not saturated enough, I also marked with little stickers all the places I wanted to tweak before printing the final edition. Oh, also - you'll notice I signed this test print in Chinese :)

Printing the final edition :) Registration turned out great, and the dark color really made the lighter one pop.

Another angle - 

And the completed print, in yellow and dark gray (Sunrise), or red and dark purple (Sunset).

Can you spot the squirrel?

Some details on the print: 

Well, that's the print :) It's available for purchase in my shop

here

. Limited edition of 10 original linocuts for both colors; the design measures A3 and is printed on Hosho paper. 

Until next time!

/Tian

Two Interviews this Month

Two of my recent interviews are published this month - one in Swedish and one in English.

Happy face :3

For the first one, I was chosen to be

Lidingö

's Start-up of the Month by

Nyföretagarcentrum

.

(Lidingö is the island in Stockholm archipelago where I live and work. The Swedish Jobs and Society Foundation is forcefully supporting entrepreneurship in Sweden through professional start-up advice for people who want to start a business; they do this through 

Nyföretagarcentrum

- Enterprise Agencies that cover most parts of Sweden.)

Lidingö

's

Nyföretagarcentrum

have helped me a lot before and after I started my freelance business as printmaker and graphic designer. It's great to have somewhere one can go with all their business-related questions and get professional help, and it feels totally awesome to be recognized as a member of the community.

Here's

the interview in Swedish

.

If you don't speak Swedish, you could still check out the second interview in the latest issue of 

Nordic Living magazine

. I talk about when I started the business, my work process and exciting stuff happening in the near future.

Maria over at

Nordic Design Collective

is responsible for this well-curated magazine that introduces independent designers in Sweden.

Here'

s the magazine!

I'm still preparing my next two-color reduction print that features Stockholm buildings and a little something extra. Start carving tomorrow - we'll see how long this one takes :)

/Tian

Blackbird & Rowanberries, Linocut

A couple of pictures to record the process of making my new linocut with a blackbird on a rowanberry branch. We had a blackbird nest in the garden this summer and we watched three eggs turn into beautiful birds.

Blackbirds come often to the rowanberry trees in our garden and this print is inspired by them.

Starting with a carving out linoleum - I'm using Jack Richeson this time. 

Prints hanging to dry. These are printed with Caligo oil-based ink on 200 gram Hahnemühle paper.

Hand-coloring the prints with watercolor. 

Getting to the leaves on the branch, mixing in yellow, blue to get different shades of green.

The print measures 23 x 30.5 cm (or 9" x 12") and the paper roughly 40 x 40 cm (16" x 16").

The print is available for purchase

in my shop

Have a great week!

/Tian