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Another artist I have taken inspiration from is Christopher Wool, who is a contemporary American painter.


Best known for his paintings with large stenciled letterforms, the bold, black strokes of Wool’s text is contrasted against white backgrounds for maximum visual impact. (Christopher Wool | Artnet).


Christopher Wool, like Bob and Roberta Smith, also includes words and letterforms in his art practice. This quote about his work welcomes the importance of contrast. When people write in their day-to-day lives they normally have white paper with either black or blue ink, as this gives a bold and easy to read piece of writing, due to the contrasts in colours. Christopher Wool’s large scale lettered artworks are made of black bold letters against a white background. In my own practice I have been trying to also get some good contrasts in colours to make sure the writing stands out. I have been recently experimenting with different coloured backgrounds, such as red, blue, purple and pink, and then writing over them using white acrylic. I feel these contrasts work well to get a statement across to the audience as you wouldn’t be able to miss them. I also plan to maybe try the opposite and instead do some similar coloured writing to the background they are on and see what difference it makes and if people are still likely to read them or not. I have also been using contrasting colours in my printmaking to give a nice pleasant overall feel to the prints. I am also trying to keep some light and dark layers to make the words stand out.


Words run together and breaks arrive at the edges of the canvas, bearing often inscrutable phrases such as “SELL THE HOUSE SELL THE CAR SELL THE KIDS”. (Christopher Wool | Artnet).


Another area I have taken inspiration from Christopher Wool is the way he cuts words in half if they reach the edge of a page. I have also found this a successful way to work. It means the letters fill more of the canvas making the piece aesthetically more pleasing and also makes the overall composition better as people may have to look harder to see what the words say.

Christopher Wool uses statements that are often impossible to understand or interpret. I like this way of working because the viewers can then take what they want from it. This is much like my “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE” piece which won’t make sense to anyone other than other students on my course who know what I am doing my work about.


As well as some more abstract screen prints, Christopher Wool also has done some pieces similar to his large scale stenciled paintings of lettering. An example of this is his piece ‘Prankster’. I think the technique of screen printing is effective for this way of working as you can make stencils by hand and then get the design made into a screen. You can then print the design more than once to make multiples. There are also possibilities of adding to the screen and printing layers on top and changing the way it works.

As well as making stencils for screen prints, Christopher has also used spray paint with stencils which is another technique I could try. Wool normally uses capital letters for his stencilled designs, I have been also using capital letters quite a lot recently but because I enjoy calligraphy I also like doing some lower case lettering as you can make the words flow together well.



“Christopher Wool | Artnet”. Artnet.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 2 Apr. 2017.