This is effectively the end of the project (although I am going to keep on printing for a few more weeks), having successfully printed a number of gigantic wood relief images in neon colour.
I really didn’t expect the project to work at all! Believing that the processes themselves would not be accurate enough or my own abilities would let me down. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised!
But what now for these epic images, most almost 4 metres tall?
The original plan was to reach only an online audience, and if possible, use this as a platform to auction them off. But this doesn’t seem to fit the interests of the current audience or the tone of the work. I’ve provisionally looked into exhibiting them in galleries, but not many spaces have suitable walls for such huge pieces of paper. I’ve been in touch with the RWA who might have been suitable, but their response was a little negative, unless I wanted to show it/re-make it in the form of workshops with kids… fine for many practices, but I found this a little patronising and dismissive of what I have already achieved… It also reminds me that spaces in my region of the UK have very specific remits, or a lack of facilities to take on work like this. A debate there to be had no doubt…
In the short term, I will make a new print live at the BV Open studios this weekend, and in the longer term I’m looking at the Christies editions art fair as a possible end point. Though I will probably stop making these particular prints at the end of May.
One possibility would be that an art space would commission me to create new blocks and a ‘press’ the footprint of their gallery itself and that the print would be the size and shape of their floor. It could be raised up with ropes and pulleys- unveiled in front of a live audience. Another possibility would be that I go to China and commission bespoke pieces of paper the size of buildings, and create Off-Press frames like mine so I can register multiple colours and layers on them. I could create whole vistas in woodcut in Technicolor! Nice ideas, but I won’t seek them without the support of a gallery or festival, or a wealthy patron! And thus they may end up shelved with other good ideas for future projects.
This project has really opened up a lot of scope working off-press, that I would not have assumed possible with wood relief. There is almost no scale to big using this process! Perhaps the next challenge?
Overall this has been a marvellously fun project to do! I’ve had twitter followers and messages from individuals and printing groups across the globe. I’ve met many printers in person, and I’ve also had such a range of artists and non-artists following the project, and celebrating with me when it worked and commiserating when it didn’t. I’d like to thank everyone for their support, suggestions and generosity. Of course I must also thank the volunteers who came in to help me print.
I’d also like to thank Arts Council England for generously supporting the development of such a risky and challenging project (you did the right thing).