The Letterarian

Artist. Keeper of letters…



experimenting with original work

Experimenting with digital filters on one of my original prints.
From the Dream Sequence I, l’enchantement de la femme noire book.

Dream Sequence I, detail – Version 3

Writing & Visuality

This is a question that I ask myself: What is writing? Does the act of writing always have to deal with letters? What if the act of writing dealt with image… We could say that written/drawn letters can become image, but what about the act, the motion of writing becoming the image…After all, writing is a gestural act, and unique to each hand that practices it.
The three works I am showing below are examples of inkless prints – one of the areas I have been working on to which I have been applying the musings above. It is interesting to think of the works below as writing, as they have not been rendered with ink… Within these works, the light casts shadows upon the carved forms, and the shadows act as the ink.

“Just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl” is a traditionally lettered piece inspired by the Roman Cursive style of writing. The letters were rendered in a traditional calligraphic manner, then transferred to a board to be used as a plate for printing. Working on the “empty” space surrounding the letters, acrylic medium was shaped around the edge of the letters, with further detailing applied throughout the plate. The plate work was as much sculpted as it was written.The focus of development for this work was on making the letters clear and legible. To my eye, this piece has a more traditional, classic lettering element.

“Two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl” 2008 9” x 15” (22.8 cm x 38 cm) Inkless print on Rives Moulin du Gue from board with acrylic medium, printed on an etching press. Lyric line from Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were here” song.
Detail of “Two lost souls…”


“Bound by Nature” is another lettered work. Here I was developing some expressive outline letters that relied on impulsive gestural movements to form them. Once transferred to the linoleum, these lively letters were carved with my carving tool into the plate, again, in a gestural manner – much like hand writing. The letters are mostly legible, but somehow they take on a dancing, drawn quality.

“Bound by Nature” 2011 Inkless print on Canson Edition printed from linoleum on an etching press. 4” x 7 1/2” (10.2 cm x 19 cm)
Detail of “Bound by Nature”


“Solitude” is an example of a work that I call a “written image.” While the moon is formed from acrylic medium applied to the lino plate, the carving of the tree image is rendered in strokes that are very much like hand writing. My carving knife has become my pen, and my image my writing. For me, it is like writing a poem, except that in this instance, the image is the poem, and the strokes used to make the image the “letters” that made up that poem.

“Solitude” 2014 Inkless print on Canson Edition printed from linoleum on an etching press. 5 3/8” x 7 1/2” (13.6 cm x 19 cm)
Detail of “Solitude”



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