there is nothing else
THIS IS ALL THERE IS, is a multi-block reduction linocut hand printed in a limited edition of 8 prints and can never be reprinted due to the nature of the reduction print method.
the paper measures 66x87cm and is a natural white japanese kozo paper with torn edges
signed and numbered
here is a link to gigapan where i have uploaded a 435 mega pixel scan of the print, you can zoom all the way in a get a close up look at it
i've wanted to make this print for a long time, but i was afraid that i couldn't figure out how to do it and that i would waste too much time doing so.
allow me to explain.
for a while now, i’ve wanted to learn how to make precisely registered reduction linocuts but i wanted to find my own way of going about it. instead of buying a pre-existing solution, i wanted to build my own registration jig, that i could use to make sure all the layers and sheets of lino would align properly. in the past when i have been experimenting with reduction linocuts, i’ve had a lot of trouble getting each layer aligned with the previous layer.
in simple terms, i’ve built a print bed, and a system to precisely place a sheet of paper on it, every time i have to print a new layer. and i wanted to test if my system worked by making this print. but as i was afraid of wasting too much time if it was a failure, it ended up becoming this never ending loop of fear and procrastination.
i usually like to challenge myself every time i make a print, trying to improve my craft. either by making the prints more detailed or complex, or by trying to improve my carving technique, or simply by seeing how large a print i can make, like SPIRIT WAR. and even though i’ve tried to make reduction linocuts a couple of times before, i guess there was just too many new and untested steps in the process that the challenge felt altogether too big, too many variables that could go wrong.
one could argue that i could’ve tested this system with a different print, one that wasn’t as involved as THIS IS ALL THERE IS but that didn’t feel right. so the project sat in a corner of my workshop, begging to get carved and printed, for over half a year.
it wasn’t until the opportunity to exhibit my prints arose and i realized i wanted to have THIS IS ALL THERE IS be part of that exhibition. not only that, i wanted to call the exhibition itself THIS IS ALL THERE IS, so it became this now or never moment to get the print ready in time. i did this on purpose, to get myself out of that procrastination loop and finally test if the registration jig actually worked or not.
the registration jig worked so well, that all the layers on all the prints were registered perfectly. i could see it already when printing the second layer (of which there are 7 in total) that it was working. and just like that, all my fears disappeared and was replaced by joy and relief.
as i worked on the next layers with this renewed sense of excitement for the project i was thinking about how i’ve over time lost the playful experimental attitude towards my work. i think i have been trying to control my process too much, to only work on things i know will work.
i am trying to be as honest with my art as i can, to allow myself to make the work and give it the time and energy it deserves. i don’t know why, but it gnaws at me if i don’t make these images, and i want to make the process as enjoyable as well.
but i also like to optimize my workflow, and to obsess over every step of it to make it as replicable and precise as possible and to avoid making any mistakes, with the tools and materials involved in making linocut prints. but i’ve forgotten to experiment and play with it, to have fun with it and make mistakes, to learn.
this print has taught me a valuable lesson about how i should approach and think about my art. i am incredibly proud of this print, it feels like my best work yet, i’ve given it all that i could give and i’ve learned a thing or two about myself and my art. there’s always going to be things to learn and to improve on, and i am already dreaming up new pieces with this technique.