26 July 2008

Cast of Characters #3- Border Patrol (reduction)


In my research for this print I was surprised to find out that the first patrols along the U.S./Mexico border in the early 1900s began largely in an effort to apprehend illegal Chinese immigrants, not Mexicans. In 1882, Congress had passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in reaction to the large numbers of Chinese who had come to the American west to participate in the gold rush or to take jobs building the railroads. The Chinese Exclusion Act act provided a moratorium on Chinese labor immigration, required any Chinese who left the United States to obtain certificates for reentry, and made Chinese immigrants permanent aliens by excluding them from U.S. citizenship. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first significant restriction on free immigration in U.S. history and the first time a law was aimed at one specific ethnic group. The act wasn't repealed until 1943, which I notice was a year after the internment of Japanese in America began. America may pride herself on being a nation of immigrants, but every new wave of people seems to suffer discrimination.

Since 2003, the Border Patrol (officially established in 1924) has been part of the Department of Homeland Security, part of a new agency called U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The priority mission of the Border Patrol, as a result of the 9/11 attacks and its merging into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States of America. However, the Border Patrol's traditional mission also remains: the deterrence, detection and apprehension of illegal immigrants and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade.

I created this Border Patrol character using the reduction method. Here's the progression:

I used this small brush, called a hanga bake (McClain's calls it a tebake), which is good for applying pigments to small areas. The block is inked here for the first skin tone.

First skin tone.

Carve away hands.

Second skin tone.

Inking the block for some hair.


Carve away skin areas and print the block in green for jacket:

Forgot to photograph block again, but I carved away more of jacket to make some detail and printed again in darker green:


Carved away jacket area and printed binoculars in two stages:



Beth Cullom said...

It was very exciting to log in today and see this latest element in your print! I can't imagine what you will do next and where and when it will end. Fascinating, sad comment too about our repeating history of immigration discrimination.

Daniel L. Dew said...

Finally, a way to see a hanga actually done as a reduction!
Too cool.

BZ said...

What are the dimensions of this one? BTW, happy birthday. Mine was the 23rd.

Nice job as usual - great job making the camo look so good.

Beth (jilpyjoopjoop)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

How can I say this? That's a pretty cute border guard, I like his binoculars very much. What is his size relative to the whole?

Annie B said...

Hi Beth, thanks for checking in!

The image area of this print is 14" x 22" and the little border patrol man is about 3.5" high. Sorry for not showing you where he's situated on the page; I didn't want to give away the other element yet...

Daniel, master of the reduction block, glad you enjoyed seeing it done moku hanga style. I'm much too lazy (and cheap!) to carve a separate block for each color. Only trouble is that you can't go back to rebalance any of the colors. On this one I wish that I had made a little more contrast between the color of the hands and the color of the face.

Diana, yes my border guard is sort of cute, isn't he? I had originally wanted to make the border patrol kind of scary and ominous -- helicopters and all of that -- but as I proceeded with the print I stopped seeing it that way. Border guards are just people. My nephews, who have both served in the military and are both pretty conservative, could easily be border guards. My nephews are both pretty cute, so maybe I was thinking of them.

I frankly think that the fence is a dumb idea, I think that it's another over-reaction and over-reach by an over-reactive administration, but I don't deny that there are a lot of problems along the border. It can't just be a free-for-all, either.

Happy birthday, jilpyjoopjoop. That one day difference must make you a Leo to my Cancer.

Anonymous said...

Annie, the border patrol man looks incredible, nice job. Greetings, Guadalupe

Amanda said...

I love watching this come together. Thanks Annie!