Sunday, June 5, 2016

Inspirations in Art: Thank you Jacques Hnizdovsky

I recently had the opportunity to see a show of the art of Jacques Hnizdovsky, a prolific and amazing artist born in Ukraine, who spent many years at a displaced persons camp in Germany, and eventually was able to emigrate to the United Stated, Minneapolis, Minnesota, to be exact. His art thrilled me, both in the content and execution, and in the enormous range of styles he used, each work something startling, unique, and captivating. I was drawn, especially, to the woodcuts and linocuts, their lines touching a cord with the wax lines used in pysanky. I found myself "reading" some of the symbols used, wondering if he had incorporated the language of pysanky into a print of a sheep, or a tree or a loaf of bread. I came away breathless (well, part of that was my inability to breath like a normal human being in some circumstances, not just the sheer thrill of what I'd seen) and inspired. There was also a film of Hnizdovsky, done in the latter years of his life, showing the creation of one of the woodcuts in the exhibition. I must have watched it three times, entranced by the technique he used to recreate his vision.

A year or so ago, I'd purchased some simple tools to try linocut. Finding latex-safe equipment can be a challenge, particularly for the roller, but my trusty pals at our Charleston Artist & Craftsman were up to the task, and kitted me out with a simple set. I put it in a boxI labeled "lino" and then, I  promptly got absorbed in other arts, until Hnizdovsky came into my life.

I spent a few days mulling over what to use as my subject, finally settling on adapting a pen and ink (Dragonmount) I'd already done for Patterns of the Wheel, and that, as a print, had been well-received at JordanCon. The size is smaller, and though I made a few mistakes, and have ideas what to do differently, I quite chuffed with the results.

I can hardly wait for my next project. My brain is brimming with ideas.

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