Six Cranes is finally in the hands of its rightful owner. After months of transit delays due to the Pandemic it arrived in South Africa only to be stolen from the framers. After a visit by the boys with the blue lights, it miraculously reappeared. Couldn't make this up.
My client is finally able to enjoy the moment and I feel the same.
Now a tangent. It's been a crazy challenging few years, not just in art space but everywhere, I gave up smoking, started overeating again, S.F.D! (rude acronym) I had a really nice period last year of being fit and also producing lots of decent work and even exhibiting! But it's a neurological fact that even being in great shape loses its power of reward and eventually gets boring and quotidian, and in that headspace, chocolates, crisps and bottles of cremant become very exciting!
I've also become bogged down by one single new print that has consumed waaayyy too much time, Krakatoa. I also view this as evidence of a lumbering and inagile artistic workflow. I'm doing something about that!
So this what my four art years has taught me so far. There's a lot of talk about working towards end rewards, I'm beginning to learn that this may not be the best way forward.
The samurai Miyamoto Musashi said: 'It's in the training'. In other words, it's the act of making art, not the sale of the painting that will keep me going, yes yes money... but more training leads to better art, and better art, more commissions and sales.
In parallel, it's some sort of joy of having a daily discipline of eating healthily, and not the physical end results that is going to keep me on the right track, to being productive long enough to be the greatest artist I can be.
The guy who commissioned Six Cranes decided to trust my skills after I flatout told him I am going to be the greatest artist ever.
He also gets up at 5am every morning to cycle obscene distances. I have a feeling he already gets it, Miyamoto's words I mean.
I wish it didn't take me this long to learn this lesson.
A selection of original pieces by Bram Tan was exhibited at Micro Folie, Saint Germain en Laye from September 4th to end October 2021. Among the pieces were reproductions of classic Japanese prints by Hokusai and Bram Tan's originals
Micro Folie, Saint Germain-en-Laye. 1 Place des Rotondes, 78100 Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Tel: 01 30 87 20 32
Henri Riviere was a big fan of Hokusai and even created an homage to the great Japanese artist with '36 Views of the Eiffel Tower'.
Wikipedia: 'Between 1882 and 1886 Rivière created a large number of etchings. He also showed an interest in photography, making a series of picturesque scenes of everyday life. He later experimented with colour woodcuts and chromolithography in the late 1880s. Rivière first visited Brittany in 1884, spending most of his summers there until 1916. Together with bustling Parisian life, rural Brittany constituted the majority of the subjects of his landscape works.
Rivière’s prints were generally intended to be published as collections. These include forty images used in Breton Landscapes, created between 1890 and 1894. He also made colour woodcuts for The Sea: Studies of Waves, and prepared other sequences that remained unfinished, including 36 Views of the Eiffel Tower, which were eventually published as lithographs. These were influenced by the vogue for Japonism at the time, modernising the famous prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai of 36 Views of Mount Fuji.
His colour lithographic series' include:
I found a cool online tool called Zebratrace - 'ZebraTrace is a simple tool to trace bitmap images into a pattern of curves with a variable width. You can control amount of curves, resolution, min and max width, functions for plotting the curves. The application was created primarily for Guilloché pattern design and all kinds of creative engraving.'
I've used a photograph of the Eiffel Tower I snapped during winter when it was covered in snow. I think the results are very interesting. It was a good test for the 3D printer and the process. However I prefer a less photorealistic look. I believe the Guilloché effect is similar to that used to render images in the design of banknotes.
Grateful to British Council Paris for hosting me to talk about 3D printing and Japanese woodblock printing in June, 2019. For more British Council 'Talks in English' go to: https://www.britishcouncil.fr/en/events/talks-english-season
My wife's family has a very old noren bought in Japan more than 50 years ago. I knew it would make a stunning print.
Cherry blossom season is a pretty cool spectacle. Unfortunately I remember this 2019 one because of the viral stories about tourists shaking trees to artificially create a bed of petals around their feet to get a better selfie for Instagram. Outrageous.
Despite this, I was inspired to reproduce Hokusai's 'Mount Fuji Behind Cherry Blossoms'. I could only find a half decent example online which would have to do. There are many small details on this one so I has to make sure they were large enough for the printer to print each tiny island, which were only around 1mm wide. This define the overall size of the painting which ended up being 900mm wide x 300mm tall.
I won't go on about why I wanted to become an artist at 45, my reasons and everyone's reasons will be different. I'm willing to bet that something that we do share is this thought - Is it too late? I certainly asked myself that. I've been an industrial designer all my working life and now this? What in the world do I hope to achieve?
Short on ideas in the beginning, hoping to quickly develop my non existent style, I happened upon Dr.Ishihara's colour-blindness tests online and thought to myself 'wow these are designed to test if someone has a certain type of inability to see colour'. What a great way to illustrate my predicament.
The three paintings I eventually made says 'it's not too late' but myself and other viewers, colourblind or not, have to work hard at seeing the word 'not'. I hope my painting keeps reminding me to never stop squinting and always believe, It's not too late. Because it never is.
I once had a dream that people from the 'real' world regularly visited our 'virtual' world for entertainment. They arrived via fountain. I asked the tour guide what their world was like and he said "your virtual world is mostly based on ours except America is made up". To practice my new printing skills, I made three images from my dream.