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The Unfinished Print

Sep 4, 2021

One of the most interesting and intriguing mokuhanga printmakers working in the medium today, is Kevin Frances. Kevin lives in New York City and uses the everyday life of his space to make his prints. Combining sculpture, and photography in his mokuhanga Kevin Frances uses these different mediums to create some of the most compelling and fascinating woodblock prints I have ever seen. His attention to detail is amazing. In this episode of The Unfinished Print, we delve into Kevin’s mokuhanga, how he creates his projects, via tools and pigments, his philosophical approach and all with a sense of humour.

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Notes: notes may contain a hyperlink. Simply click on the highlighted word or phrase.

Any and all of Kevin’s works mentioned in this episode can be found on his website. Kevin’s interview and studio tour with the New Leaf Gallery can be found here

Stella Ebner - printmaker and Associate Professor of Art and Design at SUNY, Purchase, NY

Richard Serra - celebrated sculptor and artist from San Francisco. Serra uses steel, lead, stone, and other materials for his massive installations and sculptures.

MDF - medium density fiberboard, used by artists for all types of art from oil painting to models.

Arnold Berleant - is a scholar and academic focusing on philosophy, music, and the environment. He discusses many subject through the lens of aesthetics.

George Adam’s Gallery - located in New York City, the George Adams Gallery provides a platform for new and emerging contemporary artists. You can read the galleries interview with Kevin Frances, for his 2020 show Superpositions, here

2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) - is a science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999).

Talas - is a conservation, archival, and bookbinding supply store based in Brooklyn, NY.

Guerra Paint & Pigment - is an art supply store based in NYC with a wide assortment of pigments from powder to dispersions. Used by many mokuhanga printmakers.

Daniel Heyman - is a painter and printmaker currently working as an assistant professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Some of his most recent work can be found, here

murasaki baren - is a specific style of baren unique to mokuhanga. It is generally cheaper than other baren. According to David Bull’s Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking, this baren shouldn’t be used for fine and delicate work. But, if it’s all you have, then you’ll make it work. If you’re in the US, then McClains carries this baren, here.

Yoonmi Nam - is an artist and mokuhanga printmaker originally from Seoul, South Korea. Her work is delicate and powerful.

Richard Steiner - is an American printmaker who has made Kyōto, Japan his home for over forty years. Richard has been interviewed for The Unfinished Print, here. A huge proponent of the yuki baren, a ball bearing baren invented by printmaker Rei Yuki (1928-2003) this particular baren is a fine example of the ball bearing baren style. A video of Richard using the yuki baren can be found here

Awagami Factory - a Japanese paper manufacturer popular with mokuhanga artists. Based in Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan.

kentō - in mokuhanga one uses kentō, an “L” shaped corner cut and another flat cut to the right/center of the block. It, in essence, allows the paper to align with your carving, especially with multi block colour prints. But as Kevin described in his interview, there are various other ways to get proper registration, such as the positive and negative bolts, or a floating kentō, which is a piece of wood with your cut registration marks but used in conjunction with your block. These registration marks aren’t carved directly into your block.

Kamisaka Sekka - (1866-1942) was a painter and woodblock printmaker. He was influenced and was a part of the Rinpa school of painting, focusing on nature, animals, and people which he worked into his woodblock prints. Some of his prints can be found, here. His travels, subsidized by the Japanese government of the time, made him look at the European attraction to Japanese arts and culture, later called Japonisme. Japonisme is a French term describing the influence of things Japanese to Europe in the 19th Century. Japanese art, architecture, and culture influenced Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), and Edgar Degas (1834-1917) to name but a few.  More can be found in Japonisme and The Rise of The Modern Art Movement (2013) by Gregory Irvine.

Bushwick Community Darkroom - is a community film processing space in Bushwick, Brooklyn , NYC.

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) and his family made many famous prints which didn’t contain a “traditional” key block, the black “outline” block associated with ukiyo-e woodblock prints. As mentioned in his Japanese Woodblock Print-Making (1939). Yoshida describes the process of not using a key block, here, briefly. Not using a key block adds to the photographic feeling of the print itself, see printmaker Lynita Shimizu’s work here, for an example.

Matt Brown - is an American mokuhanga artist who has been interviewed on the Unfinished Print, here. He is a brilliant philosopher of mokuhanga, its concepts, its ideals. His work can be found here. He is also associated with the New Leaf Gallery

opening and closing credit background music:  “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers, from their self-titled album, The Modern Lovers, 1976.

© Popular Wheat Productions

Disclaimer: Please do not reproduce or use anything from this podcast without shooting me an email and getting my express written or verbal consent. I'm friendly :) if you find any issue with something in the show notes please let me know. The opinions expressed in The Unfinished Print podcast are not necessarily those of Andre Zadorozny and of Popular Wheat Productions.