17 June 2010

John Alexander & Thomas Roberts Reprint

As promised, I'll show you the print of John Alexander & Thomas Roberts that I finished and hated:

JAlexanderTRobertsRejectPrint

It's been nearly 2 months since I added the final black layer and a lot has happened in between -- mostly moving to a new house and studio. I thought that maybe I'd come back to this print after these few weeks and see it differently, but I still don't like it. I don't like the colors (too red white and blue) and I also don't like the black lettering that says "God said: Death to the Faggits (sic)".

That lettering is taken directly from a letter that was sent to the Episcopal Church Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 when openly gay priest Gene Robinson was elected bishop. I have to admit that carving the lettering was very therapeutic. There's so much emotion in the way the text was written. It was written with what was apparently a ballpoint pen, the lines thickened by scribbling the same lines over and over again. My hands literally shook as I carved -- I could feel the anger and hatred in the letterforms as I carved this person's handwriting and it was frightening to recreate it.

RealHandwriting

I'm glad I did that carving. There was something powerful for me in facing this person's hatred and letting my own hands recreate it. I felt like I was defusing a bomb. But I don't like how it looks. It's too much. It doesn't need to be there in this print.

So out it will come. I have 16 new sheets of nishinouchi ready to go and I'm going to print these blocks all over again. But first, I have a wedding to go to -- my nephew Chris! See you next week...

Added later: I'm getting some feedback that the "death to the faggits" text is strong & powerful and that I should leave it in. What do you think?

9 comments:

Ellen Shipley said...

I think it reads overall with a purple cast rather than red, white and blue. The black predominates. I think it's very powerful.

Viza Arlington said...

hi annie,
i think you should leave it at least for now. change the colors first then print one with the black and see how you feel about it. if you still don't like it try lightening the text or darkening the backround a little, then if you still think its too much carve out.
viza

Jeff Dean said...

If I had a nicle for every print I've hated that everyone else just loved, I would have several nickles. I think it's fantastic. I'm blown away by the pen text -- I thought it WAS pen! This is the first time I've seen the finished piece, and I really think the colors work.

Kit said...

Hi Annie, I think the print is very powerful, and I might experiment with printing one w/o the scribbled curse to see how you like it. I think the fist coming out of the cloud works so well with the powerful figures, along with the subtle Gothic script along the left margin with a not so subtle message. It's almost too shocking (for me) to read the black scribble, as if it were freshly written on your print anonymously ... but if that's your intention...

Annie B said...

Thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming! I feel like Kit, that the black scribble text is too shocking and too overstated, but I want to make sure that I'm not reacting out of fear.

Jan said...

The figures and expressions on the faces of the two men are so gentle and peaceable the scribbled message is even more powerful, it is shocking, as is that kind of violent prejudice. The scribble underlines the message and it is not a comfortable image, but sometimes we need to confront this kind of prejudice and cruelty head on. It is very effective. But ultimately it is whether you want to deliver your message in this very direct way. The hands are very loving and tender, I actually find it an intensely emotional image.

curt said...

First, your lettering is *fantastic*. I agree with Viza et al. about working around the scrawl before carving it out. It is jarring and over the top, but accurate as well. I think it helps the overall design, which would be a bit too simple and symmetric otherwise for my eyes.

ja2pres said...

I find the carving of the quote powerful, but I'm for taking it out. I think it detracts from the dignity of these lovers.

jodi said...

I agree with ja2pres. What if the quote was there but printed to fall behind and blend in with the background cacophony of the other text? Unless it's part of the main black block, but I'm assuming this is two separate blocks for black?