Workshop Update for Summer

I’ve updated my workshop page (click at the top) with Summer workshop information and links. The registration for these opened up this week and most have already had enrollees, so don’t wait too long. The first, Monotypes for Advanced Beginners is intended for those who have been printing in recent years, and want to explore a more intermediate level- finished, frame-able work for a show or portfolio perhaps; larger, multi-layered work, or those who need only a minimal refresher in print room technique who want to execute a project or series. There are still openings for this one, which begins June 20, 6-9:30 PM. It runs  5 weeks, excluding July 4.

I’m adding more workshops, and alternating more between morning and evening sessions, so if you don’t see a time slot that works for you, check back for Fall, and it’ll probably be offered.

I’m preparing a long post on the intersection of comics and fine art, but it’s been busy, so I’m not sure when I’ll have it ready. I’m finishing new work in the studio, and I’ll have some new photos to post in mid-May. Summer Art Market is coming June 10-11!

Color in Monotypes

Most printmakers use a somewhat limited color palette. Editions of hand-pulled prints often require a separate plate for each color- which can lead to a fair amount of time and expense. This has lead to a tradition of very strategic and inventive color use in printing, and its growth as an advertising medium since the Industrial Revolution has reinforced this. Advertising’s need for bold, simple visual form and messaging dovetails with this, too, and it’s no accident that printmaking is very often- not always- on the leading edge of modernist visual style.

Monotype prints- not technically printmaking, we are reminded by an educational poster in the Art Students League Denver print room, since there is no repeatable matrix from which to make identical prints- is not technically bound by the problem of multiple plates, but there are other reasons why the impetus towards simple color schemes pertains. The tradition of bold, clean-edged design is only one of them.

Artists encounter special challenges in using color inks, which are formulated to withstand the roller of a press, bond with different kinds of paper, and create vibrant results when dry whether applied with brayer or brush. Different ink formulations are used with screen printing, wiping etching plates or rolling onto litho plates and wood blocks (though most of these are fine for monotypes). And while oils, for example, are fairly consistent in texture (subject to modification) and are usually intended to be applied with brush or knife to canvas, inks tend to vary a lot in stiffness and viscosity, transparency and covering power. This makes predicting how they will interact with the more and less delicate types of paper used a learning process.

In monotype, ink can be mixed right on the plate, but delicate final effects can be hard predict after a ride through the 5K psi pressure a typical press generates. Textures, brush strokes and glazing are wiped out, so planning often becomes essential, even when trying for expressionistic or “spontaneous” effects. But these strategies work well with graphic, hard-edged modernist imagery too.

Layering is a good strategy for putting down a spontaneous effect in one color that will retain its integrity when another color is laid down next. Transparency in inks or modifying mediums allow different textures and hues to shine through while creating new tonalities and blends. A good understating of positive and negative space and how the (often) white paper will interact with these allows for light to shine from within, like glazing in oil, or watercolor. And printmakers will often pick a limited selection of colors and make a given color perform multiple roles, as in “process” color (CMYK).

A fairly simple image that actually stretches every rule of color usage in composition to create a compelling, dramatic visual message.

The example I’ve included here, which I’ve often used in classes, uses not a “somewhat” limited palette, but an extremely limited one. Its visual elements also are simple and separate themselves very straightforwardly into five elements; two in the foreground, two in the middle ground and a background. It’s in the colors assigned to these elements that we get a sense of creative transgression, and a feel for why the image is so arresting to the eye.

The first foreground element is the press, done in near silhouette, which provides a deep black field to highlight the second  element, the printer’s address. Clever way to deliver crucial advertising info, yes, but for this discussion the important fact is that we are used to seeing black as a background, as in the prints of Rembrandt, or Castiglione (monotype’s inventor), who use it to convey transcendent mystery, or to highlight bright foregrounds. Here it’s used as a visual tease of sorts, with the darkened foreground obstacle challenging us to peek at what’s going on behind.

The middle ground also has two elements- The printer, done in a simplified chiaroscuro to impart the drama of what he’s doing, ala Rembrandt; and the print he’s inspecting.  This is the most important info in the poster, the printer’s solitary quest for perfection, his attention to detail; and it is substantively done all in white, or to be precise, no color at all, since it is the white of the paper that is generally used by printmakers to get the brightest highlights. There is black, of course, to outline the intensity of the expression on his face, and to set his business-like suit off from the background. We are given to understand, both literally and figuratively, that this print shop owner stands out.

The background is the background, naturally. They often suggest distance, a void, an infinity; restful to the wandering eye, open to contemplation on what has been seen in the fore- and middle ground, but not often a hot, in-your-face foreground-type color like red. It is so insistent that it pushes the middle ground out toward us, adding to the intensity of the message.

Almost every color decision is the opposite of how our instincts tell us color should behave in a realistic image. The foreground is an obstacle to entry into the picture. The most important information is done in no color at all. White is the color most often used to denote negative space, but here used to denote the most positive elements in the composition, printer, press and print.The background is a hot, insistent, almost bludgeoning primary. But these visual transgressions grab us and lock us in instantly to a simple, powerful message (presumably, about printmaking’s power to deliver simple, powerful messages).

Again, bold, graphic, advertising is not necessarily fine art printmaking, which often needs to convey complex messages. But the two have developed hand in hand since the dawn of the printing press, and there is much to learn from it. Thoughtful, unique color use can really make your monotypes stand out.

My next workshop is Monotypes for Advanced Beginners, a studio class for people with some past printmaking experience who want a dialogue about developing their ideas in unique ways. Register by February 21 here:https://asld.modvantage.com/Instructor/Bio/1053/joe-higgins

Source of the picture is The Poster in History, Max Gallo, NAL, 1975. I’ve left the photo credit on the scan, at the top. I could find no further info on the artist, Ming.

 

 

Winter-Spring Update on Workshops and Shows

Winter-Spring Doings:

I hope all of you had a wonderful autumn, and a great Holiday/Solstice season! I’ve got a lot going on this winter/spring, and I’ll be getting off to an earlier start in 2017.  I hope to see you for one of these events.

Workshops:  The next session of  Monotypes For Beginners begins January 17 and runs until February 7. There are still spots open, if you’d like to or get a start on some creative “me” time in 2017. The full workshop runs on Tuesday mornings and gives you every basic step needed to certify you to work independently in the Print Room.  I also have one Moxie U Monotypes sampler, on February 21. This is a three-hour, hands-on intro type class. I do most of the technical stuff, and you just make monotypes. And it’s less than $30! There are still spots open for that, too. Online registration is here.

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Monotypes For Advanced Beginners comes right after that, Feb. 21- March 7. This is a follow-up class to my Monotypes For Beginners workshop and is intended for people with at least some printmaking experience. It covers some more advanced techniques, such as larger work and Chine Colle, and is a bit more portfolio-,  or studio-oriented. Take it as a part II continuation of Monotypes For Beginners, or take it independently if you’ve already had that course, or other printmaking experience, and can demonstrate knowledge of the press.

 I’ve added an evening session of my Monotypes For Beginners workshop

The biggest news is the spring schedule  running a bit later, as I’ve added an evening session of my Monotypes For Beginners workshop.  I’ll have a Session B of Monotypes For Beginners, beginning  April  4 on Tuesday evenings and it will run for 5 weeks, making it very affordable. It filled up very quickly the last two times I’ve given it, and I’ve also had quite a bit of feedback that more evening sessions would be welcome. This affects younger people who have to work, and teachers looking for development credit, which is available at the League. In all, there are more of my workshops of various sizes and times available this spring.  I’ll post a complete list at JoeHigginsMonotypes.com, or you can search and register online at ASLD.org.

There is also a holiday show wrapping up in Colorado Springs at G44 Gallery. I’ve recently refreshed there with about 10 new pieces, so go say hi to Gundi!  You can buy selected works online through their website, and on JoeHigginsMonotypes.com.

Appointments to see work are always available. Email or call 720.855.7340. This is a productive time of year for me, so if you just can’t wait till Summer Art Market to see new work, contact me.

I will have a brand-new debut piece in the Art and Soul Gala marking the 30th Anniversary year of the Art Students League. Sale of this piece will partially benefit the League, which I believe in, and enjoy teaching at. If you have a question about any workshop or show, feel free to contact me.

Finally, people already active in the print room  have an opportunity to help the League! I’ll let Libby Garon, our Marketing and Development Coordinator, and a printmaker herself, explain:

“After a very creative conversation with Mr. Joe Higgins & Shari Ross, we all came up with the idea of having programs at ART&SOUL [Benefit] with original artwork from the printmaking department on the front.

Prints that have not passed your quality inspection can be torn down to 4”x6” to create unique pieces and placed in photo corners of each program, creating a unique framable piece for each guest (or each pair) to take home that night as a party favor.

If each printmaker was able to donate 12-15  4”x6” pieces we would need about 20 printers, approximately.

The goal is to have a total of 250 and we will have volunteers place each piece in the photo corners.

I am suggesting that we all get together Thursday, January 5 from 4:30-9:00. There will be snacks and wine as well.

Please note: you don’t have to attend the tear down party to participate. You can tear them on your own time, but please do let me know how many you can submit, and  drop them off by January 20.”

To me, this sounds like a fun way to not only support the League, but to meet other artists, compare notes, and creatively re-assess work you’ve already done. As I often say in my workshops, a good print is sometimes not a function of what you put in, but what you take out. I’ll be there, so I hope to see you!

 

A very happy and peaceful New Year to all. We’ve had a rough 2016, but I still believe in the power of art and will be looking forward to meeting new friends in ’17!

How and Why to Do Black and White in Monotypes

“Say, it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea”

-A Paper Moon, Billy Rose/ E.Y.Harburg/Harold Arlen

This image relates to memory and the way we move through it.
“Man With Torch”, Monotype, 30×42″, 2004. In this large monotype, black and white each define both positive and negative elements. White forms the infinite misty negative space behind the smoke and the water, for example, but also defines highlights on the water, and billows in the smoke. Charred trees foregrounded in black are silhouetted against distant grays and brown blacks. Similar values used in multiple compositional structures can make for dynamic graphics.

Color is an integral component of all art. We regularly talk of “color” when describing sounds in music, for example.

But in talking color in art, we often forget the two colors that are not considered colors at all: black and white. Managing black and white in ink on paper composition is at the very core of composing good prints.

For one thing, there is the subtractive nature of light in printmaking. As with any sort of color involving pigment, the addition of the pigment subtracts various wavelengths of light from those being reflected back to the eye. Unlike additive color such as projected light, where addition of more color eventually results in bright white, in subtractive color, you tend toward black. And in the thin applications of ink under pressure inherent in printmaking, it’s not possible to completely cover most inks. The most white space, and thus light, you will ever see in a print is in the blank piece of paper you tear before printing anything. Everything thing you do from then on only reduces the amount of light in your composition.

It’s also true to a certain extent, of watercolor, though many water colorists can cover with Chinese white ink, or gouache in their paintings to bring back the white areas. There is a very nice show of  Charles Burchfield pictures at the Denver Art Museum now where you can find wonderful examples of that. Print makers can certainly add opaque water media such as acrylic paint or even pastel to a print, making it a hand colored print, but in its essence as something run through a press and thus presented as something graphic and in some way repeatable (monotypes are not strictly repeatable, though a ghost can be made, which has very unique advantages in itself, explained here). So white is a valuable visual resource in the print room. And in managing the sorts of positive/negative relationships that bold graphics and dynamic compositions often depend on, it is indispensable.

Its material opposite and spiritual twin is black. While both can evoke a void or an infinity, and each bring definition to shape, as in chiaroscuro, only black can be physically applied in a pure state in printing. And it cannot be taken away. White is just the opposite, and thus becomes almost sculptural. It is fun to work with white inks, but even “opaque” white does not cover nearly as well as black. The best example of this is in scratchboard-style composing such as seen in the monotypes of Castiglione, their inventor, who recently had a show at the DAM.

It thus becomes very important in monotype printmaking to be “present”. One must have a good sense of where the light in a given composition is “coming from” and where it is going. Transitions from white to black and from positive to negative space create compositional movement and intrigue. This is true in any medium, of course, but in print media it cannot be corrected, and must be planned for. A monotype can be layered with great subtlety, tones shifting almost miraculously into hues as complex as many oil paintings, but the white slips away with each run as relentlessly as melting snow. It’s true whether the composition is abstract or realistic, hard-edged or gestural, baroque or minimal.

So having a sense of balance and proportion is vital, even if balance is accomplished with one shining burst of light in the darkness. In the most poetic sense, the two need each other, as the Bible, and artists from Rembrandt to Escher to Motherwell remind us. Because that bit of light may be where your viewer’s eyes enter your picture.  And the finest pin prick may be where they move after that, and how they are led through your composition, searching and constellating as with stars on a dark night. Eyes bring light to the synapses, and their movement is analogous to interest and engagement in the viewer. Grays and blacks can be compelling and dynamic, and a dark composition can create real mystery but there is a danger of busy-ness or a visual claustrophobia when there is too much of a grayness in a print, and if there is real depth or motion in your monotype, a bright graphic electricity, the chances are that the white is shining through somewhere like a big paper moon.

Fall News

_dsc8170-fwdcopyFall Doings:

I’ve got a lot going on this fall, after a quiet summer. I hope to see you for one of these events.

Workshops:  I’ve still got a couple coming up this fall. The next session of  Monotypes For Advanced Beginners begins October 25 and runs until just before Thanksgiving. This is a follow-up class to my Monotypes For Beginners workshop and is intended for people with at least some printmaking experience. It covers some more advanced techniques, such as larger work and Chine Colle, and is a bit more studio-oriented. There are still spots open, if you’d like to squeeze in some creative “me” time, or get a start on some hand-made holiday gifts. I also have one more Moxie U Monotypes sampler, on October 13. There are still spots open for that, too. Online registration is here.

 I’ve added an evening session of my Monotypes for Beginners workshop

The biggest news is in the upcoming spring schedule, where I’ll be getting off to an earlier start, and running a bit later, as I’ve added an evening session of My Monotypes For Beginners workshop. I’ll have a Session B of Monotypes For Beginners, beginning  April  4 on Tuesday evenings and it will run for 5 weeks, making it very affordable. It filled up very quickly the last two times I’ve given it, and I’ve also had quite a bit of feedback that more evening sessions would be welcome. This affects younger people who have to work, and teachers looking for development credit, which is available at the League. In all, there are more of my workshops of various sizes and times available this spring.  I’ll post a complete list at JoeHigginsMonotypes.com, or you can search and register online at ASLD.org

One of my favorite places for a demo

 

I have a free Demo and Dialogue at Meininger Artist Materials on  November 5 at 2 -4 PM. This is a Denver Arts Week event, and a great way to preview what you might expect in a workshop, or get a peek into my process.  Their set-up is viewer friendly, and the crowd is usually quite lively and full of questions and comments, so it’s one of my favorite places for a demo. You also get a 20% Off coupon for supplies!

I have two upcoming holiday shows: at Open Press, a Denver Arts Week event, opening Friday,  November 11, 6-9 PM, with a  First Friday event on December 2, 6-9 PM. Mark Lunning’s Open Press is a center for Denver printmaking for 30 years, so the show will feature some of the area’s best print work. I should be there both at the opening and First Friday, if you want to chat and say hello.  It runs through December, with gallery hours 12-5 every Saturday, or by appointment at 303.778.1115.

There is also a holiday show at G44 Gallery, in Colorado Springs, beginning  November 18.  You can buy selected works online through their website, and here on JoeHigginsMonotypes.com. Appointments to see work are available. Email or call 720.855.7340.

I hope all of you have a wonderful autumn, and a great Holiday/Solstice season!

A Brief Essay on How and Why to Make Monotypes

"Red Place", 2016, 20x13". It was built on a leafy yellow ghost image, with the green being a second layer, and the red being a final layer to highlight the negative/positive dichotomy of the chair. There is a sense, to me, that being "present" or truly in a "place" sometimes requires one to empty the mind.
“Red Place”, 2016, 20×13″. It was built on a leafy green ghost image, with the red being a final layer to highlight the negative/positive dichotomy of the chair. There is a sense, to me, that being “present” or truly in a “place” sometimes requires one to empty the mind.

Monotypes, though simple, are very process-oriented and often defeat results-oriented art making. Change is built in to the creative process, and often, until change is addressed, satisfying prints don’t happen.

We’ve let the word “print” become degraded and we often reflexively see them as a way of producing imitation paintings. The medium especially in recent decades, has outgrown the limitations of making additive paintings in ink, which date mainly to Ab-Ex days, and are a valid pursuit, but hardly cover all that monotype has to offer as a medium. The essence of printmaking is in subtraction and replication. The only form of (near) replication available to a monotype artist is the ghost impression.

The ghost occupies a role in printmaking that is unique to all of artistic expression. It is a post mortem on your original idea, retroactively half-baked, almost, but never quite, a mockery. It points the way to subtractive composition, and the clarity that comes of removing distraction. It contains info, attitude and atmospherics that the artist did not actively put there. It is a by product of a mechanization of the creative process.

It is the ghost in the machine.

A ghost, in printmaking, is a second, generally fainter impression using ink left over on a plate from which the intended first impression has been made. Degas would use these as a matrix for pastel drawings. But it can be layered over, partially or wholly, with variant imagery too, and in pulling ghosts from these variations, monotype’s potential for exploring a single idea quickly becomes exponential, dwarfing the usual, binary, pass/fail equation of the initial image to suggest multiple new ideas and implications. It is rich with suggestion in a creative sense, and its suggestions can easily be seen as subtexts, alternate iterations. or even pre-conscious speculations on the original image/idea.

Thus it takes on a (creative) life of its own, and enters an active conversation with the artist’s own inner monologues, turning it into a rich dialogue. And it often turns out that the ghost side of the conversation may know the artist’s mind better than the artist himself does. It certainly provides an opportunity to continue the conversation, and on a practical level, offers an escape route should the original print fail. It can provide vital feedback. Our ideas can be unworkable, half-baked, or even “not good ideas.” Creative block can ensue.

In case of creative block the ghost can provide a way forward. to “distract” is to perplex and bewilder, in an archaic sense. Its roots are in Latin “to draw apart.” It is a fragmentation of, rather than an imposition on, the creative impulse and in exploring ghost variants we can move physically toward the obstacle and engage its many implications, rather than meekly “going back to the drawing board”.

Monotypes do not eliminate the need for vision and planning. If anything, they quickly expose a lack of it. Vision is not retrospective, one does not “fix” a vision (whether in the sense of “holding” or “repairing”), and if one tries it quickly becomes overworked and imprecise. “Precision” means “exact and accurate” but its roots are in the Latin “to cut off”. The implication is that the longer an idea is worked and re-worked, the less sharp and exact it becomes.

Time is of the essence in monotypes, not in the sense of hurry, but in the sense of being present and alert. And being present, we are realizing in this very distracted life, is the ultimate creative act.

Summertime Update

Sincere thanks, as always, to the folks who came by during the Art Students League Summer Art Market a couple of weekends ago. It’s always a fun show, and this was another successful one. It’s also a lot of work and often comes during the year’s first full-on heat wave, as did this year’s, so I rewarded myself with a week’s vacation on the back porch with a stack of new reading material. So I haven’t posted, but expect a book post soon; it’s already being written.

I also hied myself down to the DAM for a first peek at the “Women in Abstract Expressionism” show that is attracting a significant amount of national attention. I wanted to get in while the conversation is still just beginning, and I’m joining it soon with a post of first impressions which may be posted here as quickly as a day or two, as I’m in the final edits with that.

My Summer workshops have started again. Most are sold out, but one, “Monotypes for Advanced Beginners“, starting in July, still has space left at last check. It’s intended for people with recent printmaking experience, so contact me if you are in doubt.  If you missed out on one of the others, the Fall schedule for those will be confirmed, and posted here in not too long.

I’ve tentatively added a free Meininger’s Demo and Dialogue to the schedule for November’s Denver Arts Week. I’ll post on the Workshops page when I confirm date and time. I don’t have a lot of free stuff going on this year, but the Meininger demos are real fun, with a great space and usually a good crowd, so I thought you should know.

I hope you are having a great beginning of Summer!

 

 

Workshops, Shows and Free Stuff Scheduled for Spring ’16

It has been a busy beginning to 2016, and I’ve neglected to post in a while. It’s been a good start to what looks to be a hopeful, transformative year.

I’ll post upcoming ASLD classes, library workshops and samplers here. You can find all of the various links on that page.

"Sex Worker", Monotype, 30x22", 2014. This piece about women's stereotypes is included in the 2016 "Pressing Matters" show juried by Master Printmaker Bud Shark. More info in the post below.
“Sex Worker”, Monotype, 30×22″, 2014. This piece about women’s stereotypes is included in the 2016 “Pressing Matters” show juried by Master Printmaker Bud Shark. More info in the post below.

A couple
Of notes:
This Spring’s DPL workshops will be the last of the year, as I’ll probably take a break from those over Summer and Fall. They’re free, so they’re the best way to try monotypes.

The MoxieU classes are very affordable and allow you to experience the League’s gorgeous print room. Sorry, the one scheduled this term rather quickly sold out, and I guess I’ll need to try and schedule more of these in coming terms. Contact the League at 303-778-6990 if you’d like to be on a waiting list, as cancellations do happen.
The regular workshops have been divided into two lower cost sections for beginners and advanced beginners. The Monotypes for Beginners section is filling fast, so I would register quickly if you’d like to take it.

The Monotypes for Advanced Beginners is intended to provide a more studio-oriented atmosphere for people who have taken Monotypes for Beginners or who have printmaking experience from another class or school. Please contact me if you have questions about this workshop. There are still spots open.

I have a one day, Monotype Sampler workshop on Saturday, May 14th, for people who can’t do weekdays. Very affordable at $67.50 (members). It’s a 6-hour intro, and most can get several small prints done in that time. There are spots still open.

There is a free demo planned for Saturday, March 19th, 1-2:30 PM at Meininger Art Supply on Broadway. Their set up is gorgeous and viewer-friendly with overhead mirrors and a P.A. system and comfortable seats, so you don’t have to strain to see and hear. A discount coupon for supplies is included.
I have several shows coming up this spring and I’ll put up a separate page for show/event info soon. Many are part of the Month of Printmaking Colorado fest, and I’ll be at many of the other MoPrint events, as I’m on the organizing committee. So let’s schmooze! I’m expecting to be in four shows this Spring:

“Print Educators of Colorado”, Space Gallery, Opens Feb 25th.

“Pressing Matters”, Juried by Bud Shark, Art Students League, 200 Grant St. Opens March 12th.

“Planting the Seeds: Pedagogy in Print”, The Corner Gallery, Lakewood Cultural Center, Opens:  TBA (March)

“Summer Art Market”,  200 Block, Grant St, June 11-12. I will again be showing with monotype artist Taiko Chandler.
I also have a couple of nearly complete pop culture posts in the can, and I’ll put those up soon. One is a review of “Pretty Deadly” by Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is leading the breakthrough for women creators in the heretofore embarrassingly male dominated comics field. The other is a pet project; a close reading of a favorite Beatles song.
I think it will be a good year, and I wish you a prosperous and hope filled 2016.

Doings and Viewings, Hodgings and Podgings

2015-11-13 12.37.52

The entrance to the new Wizard's Chest store next to Meininger's Art Supply. I'm working on murals inside. It's hard to get real good pics until the electricians have installed the light fixtures. Right now we're working with painter's lights and the skylights.
The entrance to the new Wizard’s Chest store next to Meininger’s Art Supply, and a detail of one of the murals  I’m working on inside. It’s hard to get real good pics until the electricians have installed the light fixtures. Right now we’re working with painter’s lights and the existing skylights.

 

I’ve had a busy fall, as noted. Here are some of the things I’m working on.

Holiday Shows: Most artists here do at least one holiday show because they sell. Small works go well during the holidays, and $2-300 extra cash during the season is never unwelcome. Small, interesting galleries also depend on this yearly cash infusion. I’m in two:

Open Press, 40 S. Bayaud Ave, Denver. Opens Friday, November 20, 6-9 PM. I have several framed and unframed pieces there, and there are a number of other good artists in the show, some of whom are present and former students of OP proprietor Mark Lunning, and coincidentally, myself. I’ll be there for part of the evening.

G44 Gallery, 1785 S. 8th St, Colorado Springs. Opens Friday November 20, 5:30-8:30 PM. A small gallery in the Broadmoor Hotel area that has really made an impact in the Springs’ reviving contemporary art scene. I’ve recently brought down several new framed and unframed works for this show.

I’m also in a non-holiday themed show at the Arts Students League, 200 S. Grant, Denver. Opens November 20, 5:30-8:30 PM. “From Process to Print” Shows both a finished print and the plate or material associated with its production, and features ASLD faculty members and students. I’ll be here too, in the earlier part of the evening, chatting with several of the students from my “Monotypes for Advanced Beginners” workshop just completed, who are also in the show. I’m showing one of my recent drypoint etchings with the plate. If you’d like to track my shows or whereabouts on this or any other night, you can follow me on Twitter @Hggns.

I have one more free Denver Public Library workshop (click “Workshops”, above), and the registration for a whole host of Spring workshops, including the second session of Monotypes for Advanced Beginners, designed to provide a studio-type atmosphere for those who would like to build a portfolio or resume, is now available online or at the ASLD office. The ASLD has a discount offer running if you register before the New Year.

I’ve mentioned the temp jobs I take to catch up on bills and debt. The latest one is a bit different- I’m executing fantasy murals and wall decoration for Lonnie Hanzon, the artist designing the interior of the new Wizard’s Chest toy and magic store on Broadway, in the Baker area. It’s pretty fun. I’m taking a lot of pictures and I’ll assemble an album at some point, but if you want to see what’s going on right now, you can follow me on Instagram @JoeHigginsMonotypes.

And sometime in the spring, I’ll be doing a public talk about a recent graphic novel. I just found out about it, and I’ll post more details soon. I’ve been writing a lot about comics lately- by design- so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say.

Reading List:

Fall of the House of West, Paul Pope: This is the second part of two. I also read The Rise of Aurora West last month. These are spinoffs, with Pope as cowriter and Spanish cartoonist David Rubin as illustrator, of Pope’s Battling Boy GN from 2013. It’s more of a Young Adult type of effort, or has at least been received that way by libraries and reviews. But it’s fast paced and compelling, despite being a prequel to Battling Boy, and thus involving characters already known to be dead. Pope has a gift for simple youth-versus-monster story lines, and Rubin evokes Pope’s iconic loose, gestural ink style without overtly copying it.

Ant Colony, Michael Deforge: Surreal, horrifying and engagingly cute all at once, this is the story of two ants’ turbulently transforming lives after their colony goes to war. Deforge’s schematic scribblings and acidic bubblegum colors create a landscape both alien and seductive in which his characters act out eternal dichotomies of love and fear, searching and aggression.

Stroppy, Marc Bell: Melding the classic comics sensibilities of E.C. Segar (Popeye), and Milt Gross ( He Done Her Wrong), with the underground sensibilities of Jay Lynch (Snappy Sammy Smoot) and R. Crumb, (Mr. Natural) and never forgetting the dystopian slapstick of punk comics genius Gary Panter (Jimbo), Marc Bell  weaves a nevertheless very original tale of futuristic tribalism. The Candide-like Stroppy suffers job loss, beatings and indignities as the innocent victim of rival factions’ power struggles. It all ends happily, with Stroppy, now homeless, back to his soul-destroyingly boring and insecure job.

I’ve got a couple of longer, pop culture posts I’m working on, so I should be posting fairly regularly during the holidays. One will be on books and reading, another on a favorite song from my youth. So check back.

 

Updated Workshop Info and Upcoming Holiday Shows

Denver Arts Week! I'll be very active.
Denver Arts Week! I’ll be very active.

Free Demo and Dialogue! If you are curious about the sorts of techniques and ideas I cover in my workshops, why not come see for yourself, Saturday, November 7, 11 Am-12:30 PM in the spacious ASLD print room. It’s non-hands on; I’ll be making a couple of different prints and answering questions, and you get a 20% Off coupon at Meininger! More info here.

I’ve updated the Workshops page with all current and Spring class info. Please check it out! I’ll post about Holiday shows in Denver, at Open Press; and in Colorado Springs at G44 Gallery beginning soon.