This is a super project: #ArtOnScreen is a year-round presentation of digital and artistic exhibitions curated and organized by Big Screen Plaza, an arts media organization in New York City that owns and operates a 30 ft. digital billboard overlooking a 10,000 sq. ft. public plaza. The intention is to connect local and international artists to the New York community by showcasing their work to the public. (quote from their website).
… and I wish I could visit: My art series ‘ Humanize the Code’ of 2020-21 (oil paintings) is being presented at Big Screen Plaza, in the frame of this project.
The presentation is running daily on the screen from 11:00-11:20 AM (EDT) through 31 December 2022. It is part of the FALL 2022 Exhibition!
Works of this series of paintings are available on Saatchiart .
[earlier times were:1:30-2:00 PM (EDT), through 31 August 2022. Update: Extended until 22 September!]
This new series of lino prints started with the image of a sleeping cat lying on top of a couch. Then came the ‘Cat in snow’, a tiny lino print in two versions, printed in black and in red. This design is inspired by the music performance “Thomasina” presented by the youth string orchestra Swing; the music performance is in its turn based on the film “The three lives of Thomasina” of 1963. The series contains seven designs; in some there is more than one cat present; they can be viewed here.
Linoleum plates carved
Lino print surface material
Lino print or lino-cut is a relief engraving and printing technique where one or more linoleum (lino) plates are used as an engraving surface. Linoleum is a material based on solidified linseed oil, invented in the mid-19th century in England. It is more known in its use for floor covering – think of corridors and kitchen floors – due to its durability and flexibility.
In engraving art, linoleum is used just like wood. To some extent it has substituted the wood plate, to the horror of traditional engravers. However, now we are more than one century away from its first use as an engraving surface, so its use is equally accepted as the use of wood. Linoleum is easier than wood to carve because it is softer. The argument against it is that it does not have the charm of wood, which passes its own relief character onto the print; plainly said, linoleum is a flat surface and that’s all it is. Less of a challenge yet easier to cut, easier to find without much variety in quality, and cheaper than wood. This speaks in its defense too.
Wood print where a knob of the wooden plate has become part of the design
‘Sleeping cat’ lino print close-up
Lino print engraving technique
A short description of how a lino print engraving is done follows, as a basic explanation either for trying it out or for knowing how it is done next time you see a print in an exhibition. Should you decide to try it, remember to always carve in direction away from your body, to make sure you won’t stab yourself. Also, the hand holding the plate must be out of the carving area. It is recommended to use a wooden cutting board with a tilted edge, so that the linoleum plate pushes towards this edge when you’re carving.
The idea of engraving and printing is that we have a design that we want to reproduce in several copies. To do this, we first copy the design (a drawing or a photograph) on transparent paper. Then we reverse the transparent paper and with the use of carbon paper we transfer the mirror image of the design on to the linoleum.
Helpful note: Before anything else, it is good to slightly sand the linoleum plate. This improves the printing quality in terms of ink grip and coverage. Sanding the plate is especially needed when the ink to be used is water based. Regarding sandpaper smoothness, the higher the grit number, the smoother it is. We sand linoleum plates with a smooth sandpaper nr 100 first, and nr 150 (fine grit) to finish. This is done lightly and shortly. After sanding, sweep the plate with a soft piece of cloth. Then the plate is ready for the engraving procedure.
Carving or cutting
The transferred image – mirror image of our design – is then cut into the linoleum surface. There are special carving/cutting tools for linoleum (and wood) in different shapes and sizes, like V, U, and square gouges, knives, etc.
Helpful note: If the linoleum plate is too hard, it helps to heat it slightly before starting with cutting, for example, let it sit in the sun or on a radiator.
Logic of relief engraving
The uncarved areas of the surface will be inked and printed. The carved areas – the areas where the engraver cuts into the surface – will not appear on the print. The cuts can be lines or forms; small or bigger areas cleared. Lino prints (and wood prints) aim in balancing the black and white areas with minimal use of tones. Where different dark tones are aimed, their range is given through stronger or weaker cuts; in density and/or repetition.
Multi colored prints are usually made with a separate plate for each color. This type of print has a different focus and deserves a separate chapter.
When ready for printing: The ink is applied on the carved surface with the use of a roller so that the relief (raised surface) takes on the ink while the cut/cleared surface does not. Lino prints can be printed either in a press or by hand. Printing in a press results to less copies because the linoleum is squeezed and thus flattened fast. Printing by hand – also called hand-pulling – allows for more control on the pressure applied on the linoleum plate. It is usually done with a big spoon; a metal or wooden spoon will do. After inking the plate, we put the paper on it, and we press it gently with our hands to feel that the paper sticks on the plate evenly. We press the back side of the spoon with gentle round movements throughout the surface that needs to be printed. Once we’ve gone through the whole surface, we pull the paper gently from the linoleum plate.
After each copy, we ink the plate again. In principle we don’t clean the plate unless there are impurities that need to be removed.
Paper for printing
For hand printing we use lighter paper than for press printing. The light(er) paper is up to 100 gsm, which makes the paper stick on the inked plate and we can also see the progress of printing. Soft types of paper work out the best.
When the carving has reached a good progress point, a proof print is made. Proof prints are made upon the decision of the engraver. After each print, the plate is swept with a piece of newspaper; you can put a drop of water on this piece of paper, if you’re using water based ink. The plate does not have to be cleaned thoroughly but the more ink is removed the easier it is to go further with carving. The engraver uses the proof print for deciding which areas still need to be carved, which lines need to become thicker, etc.
A proof print is a try out, an impression of the lino print artwork at any given stage before the final result.
The number of prints made of a plate make an edition. We number each print on the left side under the image. For example if our edition has 10 copies we mark the copies like this: 1/10, 2/10, etc. On the same line in the middle we write the title of the work (same for all copies), if there is one. On the right, we put our name/signature and the year of creation.
Notes on engraving techniques
I make notes on work processes, especially on art techniques. Engraving is a time consuming technique (or techniques, as there are a few types) which also demands a specific mind setting. There are several publications about engraving and I intend to add mine; t.b.a. This is an earlier post about engraving.
The new project “Mia trypa sto nero” started with two postcard size works. They are made on aquarel paper: blue ecoline drawing, text, and on top crochet with cotton yarn from my inheritance. People have to look in the hole to see the drawing and read the text.
Their titles: “μια τρύπα στο νερό: on futile achievements” “μια τρύπα στο νερό: on futile actions”
I’ve put them in an envelop, each one apart, and sent one of the envelops to Mellifera Action for their new mail-art project SEA – FIRE – HUMAN PROJECT 2019/ 3 STRONG ELEMENTS OF LIFE & DEATH. I do not know which is sent and which stayed with me.
The ball of yarn used here is the last that I have of this colour, a beautiful off-white (crème), inherited from my mother together with a few more yarns and some crochet experiments that grandma Elpiniki had made; highly precious–belongings that passed on to me. The blog-article ‘Grandma and the aunts’ dated 2011 was already talking about the textile inheritance.
These are some of Elpiniki’s (Koniari) crochet experiments, made with an extremely thin crochet hook:
and this is my precious ball of yarn:
This is a curtain that my mama Athena had made with the same yarn; it hangs in my room:
Exhibition in Nicosia-Cyprus
at E.KA.TE. 16-30 June 2017 Curated by the artist Katerina Neofytidou
My contribution is:
12 drawings, ink on paper, 25x25cm each, drawn from one of the sketch pads lying around in my living space, be it the studio or the house. They are concentration exercises executed in batches of usually 10 or 12. They materialize streams of thoughts and point at themes that could become a larger body of work.
The proposed batch revolves on the theme “the inside and the outside”.
The invitation text reads:
You are cordially invited to Small Treasures, an artists’ exhibition revolving around and exploring the notion of the artistic process, through small works of art.
The exhibition is scheduled to open on June16th and run through July 7th, 2017.
Inevitably, upon our entrance in the hidden chamber where the talisman (1) was set up, we found ourselves in a space full of diverse, compelling, and exquisite little gems. In the very depths of the chamber, a sitting old man was holding an emerald tablet. Looking closer at the gems, we were surprised to find out what they really were: small works of art, emphasizing process, small scale, experimentation and craze. Their essence was so soft, uncompounded and pure that ‘in what shape they choose, dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, can execute their airy purposes, and works of love or enmity fulfil.’ (2)
The Smaragdina in the possession of the elder, contained the secret of the Prima Materia and its transmutation, by the artist’s hand. Tantalizing and seducing our imagination, we decided to collect these jewels and exhibit them in an attempt to reveal the process of turning the “base metal”, into a conscious creator. In the beginning of this journey there is the death of the ego. The desirable destination is the ‘alchemy that transforms death drive into a start of life, of new significance’. (3)
1. Talisman – the word has Greek origin from the verb τελείν , which means I participate in the mysteries and the ceremony that were performed to create this special amulet.
2. Paradise Lost: Book 01 by John Milton.
3. Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva
The first chapter includes:
1. Alex Welch
2. Andreas Tomblin
3. Koert Van Den Beukel (K_Van)
4. Sofia Kapnissi
5. Αnthi Pafiou
6. Elena Kouma
7. Efi Ioakim
8. Theodora Foutrou
9. Ioanna Chimona
10. Katerina Neofytidou
11. Maria Leonidou-Alexandra Pambouka
12. Machi Papadopoulou
13. Ourania Gabriel
14. Rebecca Efstathiou
15. Flora Marommati
16. Chara Stephanou
17. Christos Hadjistylianou
18. Liz Kuntz
The blog post as prose – a workshop for performing documentary texts
The workshop is based on texts published on the blog ‘artB-the status of artists’ which is part of the artistic practice of the author. The aim is to exercise association and empathy to the artists’ status. Both professionals in the field (visual artists, performers) and amateurs (general audience) will be asked to read/ perform a blog post as a monologue; the participants convey the text in variable expressions, according to their position towards the artists and their practice. The read outs/ performances will be registered on video and/or sound recording equipment. The result will be presented online through the blog.
After the event: How this plan was realized differs from this description. Just the same, I am grateful for the cooperation of the fellow artists and for the result. This all gave me a great deal of inspiration too.
Monumental drawings at Zuiderstrandtheater in The Hague.
Two large drawings, 140x255cm inspired by the statues found in the depths of the Aegean sea, presented in the Duin foyer at the evening of the opera performance “Ariadne auf Naxos” of Richard Strauss in a fabulous production of the Nederlandse Reisopera.
Painting has an important role to play in our society despite of what people and the art world itself proclaim with frequent judgements. Painting – the act of and the responsiveness to – is a role-model to the following:
Self-sufficiency, to the reachable measure
A sense of devotion outside religions
A measurable ability for concentration
A chance for contemplation with result to non-navigated thoughts
A movement of the brain in connection to the intelligent movements of the hands
A sense that time and space expand, shrink and take forms in respond to our disposition
A counter balance to art as entertainment
A living connecting point to tradition and history