I received a text message in March from my good friend Chris Rand‘s wife, Tamara alerting me to a surprise 40th birthday for Chris. She also asked if I could make a piece for him since he and I always appreciated each other’s work. I easily agreed, and since one mantra of Chris and mine during undergrad was “go big or go home”, I decided to honor him by making the largest etching I had done to date.
This was good timing, as I was just tossing around ideas in my head about a new body of work to coincide with my Faerie (working title) series. I wanted to expand upon this idea with imagery of landscapes in this fantasy setting; Whereas the Faerie series is from a natural historians documentation, these new, larger prints would a tableau including narrative elements. This is all inspired by my, almost, daily walks in the woods behind my house, where I find myself getting elegaic for the similar setting of my childhood, which included many similar walks. If I had to zoom way out, I would explain this work as a sense of place and a search for identity. I’ll get into more of that in another post.
Having all these ideas and sketches, I decided to go as large as I thought I could for my current studio using a copper etching. I was to use a 22×30 inch Rives BFK but also have this fit in a horizontal acid bath I would fashion out of photography chemical tray. I decided on 16 x24 inches for the copper plate. This let me work on the sketches at that size and I followed my usual workflow.
The main problems came with the acid. Using a horizontal tank without the right supplies to dunk and lift the plate was treacherous. I also had to use spray paint aquatint because rigging up an rosin box big enough didn’t seem worth it. With a few mis-steps in the aquatint I still believe the plate came out nice and the final print made me happy. Let me know what you think.
The title of this print is “Disenchanted Forest I: Christopher Renegotiates the Social Contract”, which again is a title which honors interests that overlap between me and Chris. I debuted this print at his birthday party, which was a dress-up costume party, since it was the day before Halloween. To honor the interesting person Chris is, I decided to “go big” on my costume as well. Let this photo show the evidence.