Single Colour Lino Cut

For this next exercise, I was tasked with producing a single colour lino cut on the theme of place. I began brainstorming ideas, and considered how we are so restricted now due to Covid and the places that can be visited are so very limited. It caused me to reminisce about places I’ve visited in the past, as a form of escapism. Thinking about the wonderful sites I had seen and escaping to them in my mind, as my body will not allow. My favourite part of the world I’ve travelled to is Asia and this is where my journey begins.

In 2019, I took a trip travelling around Asia for 8 months, I visited 8 countries during this time and enjoyed various different adventures, meeting different people, seeing different architecture, landscapes, animals and wildlife. I tried surfing for the first time and visited a South Korean Bath house – called a Jjimjilbang. I had lots of new experiences and this is the place both physically and in time I want to explore further. I brainstormed and thought about the highlights of my trip.

I started trawling through the hundreds of photos I took on my 8 month long trip, choosing those which I had particular fond memories of, were particular poignant, or beautiful. Below is my final selection of photographs, along side them are the digital manipulated versions where I have adjusted the threshold to capture what they might look like as single colour lino cut prints.

I started to think about the little memories I wanted to pick out of these places and so set about lifting the buildings and objects from the pages. Of the above I felt there was 6 with liftable images/objects and then 6 which stand alone as landscapes, where the whole photograph is the object of memory so not anyone thing can be picked out. I thought however what if I was to combine them?

Here are the floating images, I tried to put them in a clear sequence but there wasn’t quite enough room on the scanner. I really like them as just floating objects on the page though, little moments and memories trapped in time, all belonging to me.

I then set about combining the images, some of them worked really well and some didn’t due to perspective, size ratio or content. For example I purposefully paired the Tiger Shark Whale with the shoal of fish in the ocean as they belong to the same habitat however due to the patterns of both, the Whale is almost camouflaged amongst the fish. However some of the buildings transposed into natural settings I think really worked well, like the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, in Japan against the wetlands in Suncheon, South Korea; or the Golden Pagoda of Kyoto, floating by the shore line in Siargo, The Philippines.

For my first print I wanted to explore the images which have had something taken away and removed. It symbolised to me this feeling of lacking and loss which is quite a popular feeling in society at the moment with the on-going fight against covid. People may have not only lost loved ones, they may have lost their independence, sense of self, their jobs, belongings, homes. There has been a real loss of travel altogether which I think the below print symbolises, it’s a travel photo of fun holidays and times gone by, but the car is missing, the travelling is all of a sudden lost.

I thought the image would also be quite fun and challenging to recreate with the geometric flooring and palm trees in the background, the shape of the missing car is quite striking too. Here are the four A5 sized prints I produced for this image. The final print, number four, I think has been the most successful. I hadn’t quite cut the lino deep enough for the car which resulted in some ink markings in the centre which I wasn’t happy with, so I went back over this to remove the problem in the next print. In print two however I don’t think I have quite applied enough ink in order to achieve an even and clear finish. Print three is slightly improved in the top half of the print, however the lower half of the car and the flooring has become patchy. Finally, I think print four is the most successful, the cuts are bold and clear. There is a slight error with the border on the lino, unfortunately I must have slipped and just cut through at the top right hand corner, but I don’t mind so much. The images sort of remind me of old holiday Polaroids so I think this just adds a little character to the overall image.

For the next print I wanted to explore the idea of two photos merged together, two places becoming one. For me my travels took me to many different places and when I recall them in my memory sometimes it’s easy for them to become jumbled when I think of a place or an experience, was it here? Or was it when I was there? These prints highlights this, in how our recall and memory can become jumbled and we can merge our thoughts and experiences together over time. For this print I merged the Hiroshima Peace Memorial with the wetlands in Suncheon, South Korea. I think the pair work beautifully well as they both have this sense of serene calm. Even though the Peace Memorial signifies and remembers this really horrific event of destruction and horror in Hiroshima, Japan, the memorial itself signifies Peace. I can recall visiting the museum vividly and reading about the awful harrowing experiences of the survivors and what they had seen, but at the end how there is a strive for and towards Peace so that something like this doesn’t ever happen again. Equally South Korea has also been affected by war, with some families still separated by the border and regime of North Korea, however the wetlands of Suncheon offer this real sense of peace and tranquility, dedicated as a protected area, both images strive towards protection and the removal of harm, I think that’s why they go together so well.

Below are the first two A4 sized prints taken form the lino cut, I tried to make improvements in my technique on the second print but actually it has appeared more patchy and uneven than the first! I notice in this print, I’m overall quite happy with the Peace Memorial building, however the right hand side of the building isn’t quite finished properly and doesn’t look correct. I’m also not very happy with the final lines in the sky line which have appeared as I have not cut the lino deep enough, I also intend to rectify this.

In these second two prints I have worked on the sky line and removed additional lino. I have also slightly manipulated the cuts on the right hand side the Peace Memorial, however I feel that actually it’s very difficult to rectify as with lino cutting once it has been removed it cannot be replaced. Although I don’t feel as though it detracts wholly from the overall image, I would just prefer for this part of the building to look quite differently. I’m happy with how the grasslands in the foreground have been depicted, I worked quite carefully to be able to still show the small little bird sitting on the shore line, and I’m happy that it subtly sits there in the final print number four, overlooking the Peace Memorial and the trees in the background.

Moving on from the image missing an object, and two images combined, both object and landscape. For this final print I decided to work on a larger scale, creating a newly formed landscape altogether A3 in size. This was a little more difficult than just cutting images and combining them. I had to merge four worlds together to create this entirely new and imagined landscape. Combining the depths of the ocean surrounding The Philippines, the waterfall and unusual rock formations in Taiwan, and the beautiful mountainous islands of Flores, Indonesia.

I used printed images, and then continued the imagined spaces and allowed them to merge into one another by sketching the new landscape on paper. Once I had my newly imagined world created I set about cutting the lino and creating the space. Below are the two first prints made. The first I have clearly not used enough ink, or pressed sufficiently to create a clear image. perhaps as I have been working in smaller sized prints I underestimated how much ink would be required. I feel like on the second print however this problem is completely resolved

However when I reflect on the images, I feel as though some finer detail is required. This first cut feels a little too basic and simplistic, so I decide to use a smaller cutter and add some more detail to the shoal of fish swimming in the ocean, and the mountainous region overseeing it. I’ve also decided to remove some parts of the round and swirling rock formations that haven’t quite presented correctly in the print.

I think the remaining prints are the most successful with the small tweaks to the landscape providing more detail and interest. The last print, number four appears to be the clearest with the most even ink adhesion to the paper. Overall I’m pleased with my selection of landscape prints, each reminding me of my travels and allowing me to escape into merged and new worlds, some lacking, some combined, but all bearing fond memories of adventures and travel, something which can only be a memory or dream in the current climate.

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