A brand new set of instructions for beginners has just been uploaded. They target three groups, people who have bought a Printastique! Home Printing Kit, Printastique Greeting Card Kits and participants at our Art of Blockprinting workshops. All three guides aim to help beginners achieve a great first time result. View the slideshow or download the PDF at:
I just finished editing a four part video on printing Katsushka Hokusai's Dream of a Fishermans Wife. They cover an introduction to the 3D printed kit and contents, colour choice and and colour mixing strategy and printing from start to finish. I really enjoyed this one! I think the video has found it's way to some fans sand I've started receiving orders for this advanced and challenging kit.
'Dream' is one of Hokusai's most famous Shunga/ erotic works. The large size printing kit of 7 plates makes roughly A3 sized images, I used paper measuring 700mm long x 500mm wide to achieve a nice sized border. The print is very satisfying as there is a variety of shapes and details that make up the image.
Check out the videos here: www.bramtan.com/ukiyo-e-kits.html
I completed a piece for an old friend who is a tree surgeon. The company needed a new letterhead design and it was decided that it would be one of my prints. Sam asked for a lone oak tree about 100 years old. I wanted to merge his requirements with an unmistakable Ukiyo-e feel.
Although it was to be an English Oak, I live in France so I studied some trees in Bourgogne and came up with a composite tree that fit the brief. All in all I made seven prints before arriving at the right one. However I also gave Sam an extra print I could not resist making, an Autumn themed one!
The artwork was modified into a monochromatic form later, to become the company letterhead. My client was very happy with all the results.
A idea for a greeting card printing kit has been in the pipeline since Spring of 2022. I have finally conceptualised, tested and perfected several finished kits consisting of Hokusai's famous views of Mount Fuji and his classic studies of 'Large Flowers' series.
During the Summer I made a bunch of handprinted greeting cards that went on sale on my Etsy shop. I used this experience to develop the kits further. Now they come with paper, envelopes and all the instructions and tools needed. They are very easy to use and with practice, multiple beautiful cards can be made in a less time than you imagine. Check them out here: http://www.bramtan.com/ukiyo-e-kits.html
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