right now!     ian g. cozzens updates, news, photos, and thoughts

“practical tools for shifting reality” — art opening this saturday, february 2nd, 5-7pm!

January 31, 2013 at 8:00 am

overlapping rubylith, the words "desire" and "junk"

If you’ve talked to me in the past five weeks, I’ve probably been slightly incoherent, stared around me confusedly (especially in large-group social situations), and mumbled something about rubylith, mixing ink colors, and how I need to get back home to the studio to keep working… So, in sincere apology for that slightly rude behavior, I would like to invite you to come to the art opening where you can see all (or most of) the stuff that I have been working on!

This Saturday, February 2nd, 5-7pm, at AS220’s performance space gallery (115 Empire St), I’m showing a whole bunch of new work. Some editioned prints, a whole bunch of tiny drawings of words/letterforms, things in actual frames (whoa!), hand-printed “classic paisley / new pattern” bandannas/hankies, newly re-printed agit-prop from earlier this summer, and a bunch of very new (aka finished yesterday!) unique screenprints that were amazingly full of discovery and magic to make and which I’m SUPER excited about.

The show is titled “Practical Tools For Shifting Reality” — it’s up through Feb 23rd, and AS220 is open from noon to late evening every day except Monday.

Here’s the facebook event page, if that kind of thing is useful to you.

Neal uses a level to hang a framed print on the gallery wall

The work is lots of hand-drawn letters, lots of overlapping colors, echoes of my thinking about how we create our bodies and existences, and the world around us, through strategic and/or magical language and significant objects… Words as structures and tools and actions, printed things as evidence of thought & of having an idea & making it real & sharing it with the people around you… Creating reality, talking about things, making them happen. This is some of the first work I’ve made that’s felt like an extension of my embodied existence, rather than a distraction from it or dazzle camouflage for it. I hope you can come see the show!

Below are some snapshots of the world I’ve been living in for the past month or so: hover over each image for details. I’ve extracted myself from a lot of sociable things happening around town (with a certain amount of regret / “missing out”), but it’s been a really, really satisfying & fruitful re-engaging with my studio practice. I need to figure out how to maintain this level of art work energy and also have social time as well… but I don’t want to stop working on this stuff… because being engaged so seriously in these processes is pretty much the best thing ever.

So many people need thanks, first off: Neal Walsh & Mollie Deerkin for being the super patient & awesome gallery folks at AS220. Thanks to Walker Mettling for riso-printing skills, Liz Novak for fabric assistance and teaching me how to use the rolled hem foot, Tatyana Yanishevsky for glass cutting impetus & assistance, Andrew Oesch for crucial studio visit & computer loan, Meg Powers for allowing me to re-print her sticker drawings, Faces Imaging for film outputs over a national holiday, Mt. Pleasant Hardware for supplies & all the scrap glass, RI Glass for the nice non-scrap glass, Lorraine’s for their bargain fabric loft, Peter Lutz for miter-saw loan, Meg Turner for consults & encouragement, Jesse & Chris for driving me places, feeding me, & putting up with my distractedness & totally weird hours, Olivia, Katrina, Graci, Freya, David R, Noel P, Katie M, Cybele, & other friends for “hanging out” with me when I was “working” at the same time, and everybody who wrote about how & why they wear their hankies. There are probably others that I am forgetting!

and, Last but Most Crucial: Scott Reber for driving me everywhere, playing awesome music, being a late-nite studio companion, sharing selections from his readings, thoughts on dissonance, creative excitement, and terrible jokes… and Emmy Bright for frame loan, delicious/nutritious food & salted caramels, and a crucial logistical / strategic prioritization session, without which none of this work would have been completed. Thank you!!!

also, of course, insistent companion & dedicated co-sleeper Buio-cat:

cat on desk "helping" with art

late nites work nites

January 15, 2013 at 5:54 am

So nothing is stopping here, really quick here are some various process shots, as I just keep on task in a really kind of wonderful way preparing for this show (opening Feb 2, Saturday, 5-7, AS220, yes I’m mentioning it again!). When I’m really working on things, which I have been & it’s been awesome, I stay up till 4 or 6am and sleep till noon or 2pm, so A) don’t call me before noon unless it’s an emergency or we planned on it beforehand, and B) it’s really great to have a housemate who is also awake all night and practices beautiful/weird bass & piano scales while I mix colors…!

Sometimes the printed color is the same density as the hand-wiped color swatch (L)… sometimes not (R). The far-right test is closer to the ink these were actually printed with:

test swatches & printed test colors

Test prints usually look more dynamic to me than the “real” print (that’s why a bunch of these newsprint test guys will actually be part of the show…):

test printings of geometric letterforms

These are the first two colors on the four colorways (I know, four is too many) of the “Queers!” print:

different colorways of geometric letterforms

One thing that’s unusual for me is because of the deadline, I’m working on six (!) projects at the same time… I usually work on one thing at a time till it’s done. I am really, really bad at working on many things at once. But because of the scheduling, lots of different elements that need to fall into place, and different logistical things, this is how it’s rolling out — and I actually really like it. It means I have to really focus and set aside my evenings & nights pretty dedicatedly to working (and check out my organizational structures at the bottom of this post)! But it’s really rewarding & it’s pretty lovely to be in a color thinking / print thinking / drawing thinking mode a lot — though I switch back into an organizational / logistical mode often, cause it all has to get FINISHED!

Also, all of these projects were begun / conceived of / initiated sometime in the past two years… and are now seeing a final push towards completion for the show. I don’t know if I could be coming up with new ideas or new complex drawings on this kind of deadline and all in the same stretch of time… that might not be possible.

* * * *

This picture was taken as a “visual note” so I can remember how I might want to line up the next layers:

printed script letters with rubylith transparencies over them

Printed on my 5+-year-old plastic alignment sheet, as this gloss varnish dries, it seems to make the worn & scratched alignment sheet look clear & clean… hmm… oooh… gloss varnish… !

gloss varnish, printed on plastic, showing its anti-refractive tendencies

Harnessing the magic of the test prints to make cool unique “real” prints:

cool accidental/intentional color magic

Also I’ve been re-laying-out & adding a second layer to these stickers from this past summer:

screenshot of misalignment test for stickers

They are gonna get Risographed by Walker Mettling of the Providence Comics Consortium, which I am excited about, but the degree of my stress about getting the layout & alignment of the images set up for the RISO machine was totally out of proportion to the importance of whether these are actually well aligned. Walker was like “it’s just like a photocopier!” and I was like “waaaahhh I am scared of processes that I don’t have control over…” HA. hmm. Turning over control to someone else, it’s good!

Looking back at these photos of the earlier Queers prints, to figure out the next colors:

screenshot of looking through different variants of one print

Tonight, testing further colors (WHY CANT I USE ALL THE COLORS) for the Dissonance prints, and using the testing time to think about what order the layers should go in. (Anybody out there got color thoughts? I really kind of do want to use all the colors…)

color testing for script font print

… and… this is how all these things come together over time & in their logistical sequence: pages of basically illegible notes & calendars & details:

lists of scribbled handwriting

Note mediocre drawing at bottom center, of the orange cat sleeping on the mat in the hallway with all his feet tucked under! cat blob!

this is what a decision looks like

January 6, 2013 at 5:15 am

So I still need to actually mix & refine these colors, but here you can see the evidence that a set of decisions that I procrastinated on for almost two years has now been more or less made, over the course of the past seven or so hours!!!

sheets of paper with color notes and color swatches

I made 30 of these “Queers!” prints about two years ago and it was super fun to make them because I totally played around with the colors while printing them and no two of them were alike. This is from an unfinished blog post about them from April 2011, that was gonna be titled “not making multiples”:

… In any case, for me it is difficult to part with the objects of the world. I am now able to throw boogers, napkins, paper cups, and most things that other folks would consider actual trash into the trash! However, there are some odd folders and containers in my room/studio, of things that most people might not save: “lists”, “paper rulers” (little measuring strips I use in making drawings, that no longer have a purpose once the drawing is done, but while it was in process, they were tools that I touched thousands of times), “ephemera” (neat packaging), “pins I used to wear on my jacket” (that’s a good one, right?), “broken cups & bowls that have a sentimental value”, etc etc…

As someone who makes objects and then the objects go away from me, multiples are an easy thing to deal with emotionally, because they never have to leave me completely — I always have one left of each kind. I usually don’t sell my drawings; I’ve done it a couple of times, and probably will to a greater extent in the future, but I actually miss the ones I have sold and think about them relatively frequently. I know that the sold drawings are framed and loved and on someone’s wall somewhere, as opposed to hidden in a drawer in a flat file, and that is great to know. But… when I think of their lines and spaces, remembering the process of drawing them, I do wonder, with a certain sadness, if I will ever see them again.

… and I was going to write further about how the stress of parting with the individual unique prints was mitigated by how awesome of a time I’d had printing them.

However, even as I was making the unique “Queers!” prints, I knew I wanted to make some multiples of them too — in order to have some that I could distribute on the internet and sell for a cheaper price (the uniqueness of each one, and initially selling them through a ‘real gallery’, had pushed me to set the price kinda high). I had decided to make four different colorways… BUT I didn’t want to replicate exactly any of the colorways in the initial group… BUT I wanted to learn from the earlier color relationships as well… and that was in February, 2011.

So what happened today? First I decided not to procrastinate on this project anymore — which I can credit partly to having a deadline and partly to recently being back on medication for attention deficit disorder. Mental health care — it’s pretty crucial! First I made tests swatches of a bunch of different transparent colors that I had in the studio (previous post). Then I looked at the remaining original prints in complete confusion for about an hour or so. I finally wrote down some anecdotal notes on the color interactions… then realized I could consolidate those notes into a semi-analytical observation of what the different colors were doing in each of the original prints that I had a photo of (about half of them — thanks to photographer Pam Murray — having digital images & being able to flip through them on the computer screen really helped!). Then I looked back at my test swatches and thought about what I wanted to have happen in the four different prints, colorwise… and then through making notes and moving the swatches around, I was able to pick out, roughly, some colors that would make those dynamics happen.

paper with colored ink on it, paper with graphical diagram of color relationships

What began as a “super fun let’s play with colors yayyy” experimental project in early winter 2011, became a looming, terrifying “oh my gosh what colors am I going to use for these four editions what if they are not as good as the first ones uhhhhhngh” decision that stressed me out to the point of completely avoiding it for almost two years, and then turned into a “well I have to get this done this week!” necessary decision process. The strategy that allowed me to sneak up on the decision was making a bunch of grids & diagrams to “make sure” that I was making the “right” decision. Ultimately the crucial moments of working were just moving little tabs of color around on the table, noting down things about their roles & relationships that the charts had allowed me to understand, but really just looking at them together. Then suddenly I was able to look up & say to my housemate, “Hey, I think I just finished making this decision which I put off for two years, huh!”.

table with strips of paper, ink containers, and diagrams on it

I harnessed the momentum of that decision into another one — the two central colors here will (more or less) be the background colors for the two colorways of the “dissonance” print…

a selection of color swatches

…which you can see a very initial sketch for here, from back in July (also including my legs in Conanicut Island midsummer mode, beet-pickle juice was involved):

sketchbook balanced on knees of bare legs on a picnic blanket, with the word "dissonance" partly written on the open page

okay!

infinity of possible choices about letterforms

January 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

…or really, about anything, for that matter. !!! No time to write much at the moment but here is some process preview for new work I’m doing for the show (opens February 2nd, 5-7, AS220, 115 Empire St. Providence). Lots to do, not a lot of time. My strategy is to do whatever it is I’m procrastinating on the most — ask myself what is the most scary thing, do that first. Ha!

a pile of postcards on manila paper with various handwriting on them

rsvp notecards from 1959-1961, from a curb in new york city to an attic in providence to my hot little hands (thanks Will, collector extraordinaire!)

process shot of desk

desk scenario — I’m referencing years of collecting ephemera & hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of fonts for letterform generation, and mining writings that I was doing (for performances this past fall) for text generation…

hand-drawn font in progress, reads

learning a lot about script fonts; the variation is so broad, anything is possible!

using an architect's adjustable triangle to create shading

architectural drafting strategies; these letterforms are based on the packaging from some fireworks that Jacob had…

letters in overlapping screenprints

print over test print, experimental zone

jars of ink and test color strips, laid out on a desk

transparent color testing for some seriously procrastinated-on re-prints that will be part of this show, and also for some new prints!

okay byeee time to make another sandwich, drink more coffee, & then back to work!

“we don’t like to keep it simple”

December 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

we don't like to keep it simple

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with Priscilla Carrion (a textile artist, and New Urban Arts alumni student & alumni mentor), assisting her in creating a four-layer screenprint that is for sale as a fundraiser for NUA. Our process has had a similar structure to the project I did with Noel back in the summer; and I think the results are equally if not more awesome…

looking at the different transparency layers

The print is called “We don’t like to keep it simple”, and the title as well as all the text that’s incorporated into the image are drawn from NUA students’ artist statements over the past years.

In this case we started out with relatively well-defined imagery (see drawing to the right in the photo above) that we wanted to replicate, and I worked with Priscilla through the steps of color separations, rubylith cutting & creating transparencies with ink on mylar, decision-making about ink mixing, and printing some epic rainbow rolls: (ANIGIF ANIGIF ANIGIF feat. Printeresting “dirty apron contest” prize apron!). The final print dimensions are a little over 12″x24″, it’s super complex & a beautiful mysterious landscape, if I can say that myself…

We made it as a fundraiser for the New Urban Arts studio, it’s a place that has changed my life, among many other people’s, and is super close to all of our hearts. You can ACQUIRE a copy of this print at the “Cardboard Pankakes” art/craft/studio sale at New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster St, Providence, this weekend, December 15th & 16th, from 11am-4pm… They are sliding scale $45-$150+; get a beautiful print & help an awesome organization sustain its continued future!

cardboard pancakes!
(Yolibel at last year’s Cardboard Pankakes, photo by Jesse Banks III)

There will also be lots of other local artists & craftspeople (including me) selling their own work at “Cardboard Panckakes”, it’s the best-feeling “commercial” space you will have ever been in, come by & check it out. Facebook event here!

Here’s a sequence of images from our print-making process — click on any of them to see the whole lineup as one large image.

print process sequence part 1
print process sequence part 2
print process sequence part 3

WOWZA!

new color work

October 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

In the past I have been very frustrated, impatient, and (even?) bored when re-printing new editions of old prints. When you print something for the first time, there’s the moment of excitement when you see how the color layers are coming together, all these interactions that you had previously only conceived of in your head and tried your best to build into the transparencies. That moment can be super exciting, when it all works as you planned… super frustrating, when you realize how far off you were… either way, undeniably compelling.

That flash of totally new resolution, and the engagement & process & figuring out that go along with it, is missing from a second printing, and I’ve found myself just not caring about how a second edition of a print turns out. I don’t know if that’s a terrible confession of my artistic callousness — or if it’s actually okay, like it’s just not life-or-death anymore, and really it’s not life-or-death at all in the first place, it’s just ink on paper, it’s okay, and the second-edition-reprints make that clear (whereas the first printing of something is usually the culmination of a ton of work and stress and intense energy and carries all that momentum…).

But for some reason re-printing the Industrial Trust Building prints (first printed in 2009) was really fun and I had a great time mixing the colors and I think they are a lot better (or maybe just more confident and less conservative) than the original colorways… and I have developed a lot of control over the rainbow roll / ink gradient (most of which just involves doing lots of test prints on waste sheets when you can tell the gradient will not be smooth)… and I have somewhat better command of the transparent colors as well. Also I have this new technique for keeping my screen exactly in the same place which takes all the frustration out of alignment (!!!).

So! Very satisfying. There’s one “subtle” colorway, partly inspired by the personal fashion color scheme of awesome friend Christiane Marie, one “pink and grimy green” colorway for all those pink-lovers which now includes me I guess, and two more that are semi-converses of each other and are somewhat based on colorways from the postcards and are just bold & good. When sleep-deprived I have found myself saying that the colors on the blue-&-mint-green-sky print are “perfect”. Not sure I would totally stand by that when not hopped up on two hours of sleep. But it looks pretty nice.

Color mixing sequence. The first picture here appeared in the last post, but I threw it in for nerdy comparison purposes. Look at the two test sheets, one white, one ‘ivory’, that appear in all three of these photos, for context of “how many marks have been made since the last photo was taken”…

I took this picture for Buck Hastings so we can prepare to battle, I think he will win…

Chipboard is so not archival but it looks sooo good with silkscreen ink on it…

Your diligent correspondent, having just printed around 350 of these bad boys; that’s 2 pulls on each print, not counting all the test pulls on newsprint! I’m awaiting the day when someone says to me, “Wow, you really have the shoulders of a serigraphist!”

Here are some of the shelves I referenced in the last post: the new ones are on the right, at paperback-depth (upper) and zine-depth (lower)…

… and new ink shelves for all the transparent colors (the laser-cut background panel was scrap from a recent project by amazing Providence artist & friend Joan Wyand!).


…unrelated…

Looking across the Woonasquatucket River valley, from the (newly cleaned up & organized) third floor studio:

and last but not least, happy Halloween from Buio!

studio time

October 5, 2012 at 4:22 am

Radio silence here, due to mostly-quitting facebook (it was sucking all my life, time, & attention away?) and spending a lot of time taking care of long-procrastinated projects around the house & in the studio. Which has mostly meant cleanup & organization, sorting out things, taking action on random un-acted-on things, and building shelves. I probably haven’t talked about how much I like building shelves… more on that sometime soon, along with pictures of the shelves. (“It’s not hoarding if the stuff is on a shelf, right???”)

Now it’s back to art work, somewhat reluctantly. The studio is way way way more organized & more of an actual useful active work space than it’s been since we started renting it (SIX YEARS as of early September ’12!), so now I know how long it takes to have a functional studio space come together, for future reference. I find myself with a physical desire to keep organizing “just a little bit more”, to “really put things into place”, but I’m aware that organizing itself can be a procrastination tactic for me. I want to recognize the substantive value of “setting up” even in the absence of “actually playing” (as evidenced by the hours my childhood best friend Alyssa and I would spend “setting up” the My Little Ponies, in preparation for “playing with them” which never quite actually happened, the “setting up” was engaging enough in itself or maybe was really the whole point…). However, in my semi-grownup or at least no-longer-9-years-old life, I have stuff I want to make and this studio is a functional structure for letting that stuff happen, not an end in itself!

So this is what’s happening right now:

… getting ready to re-print these guys which have been my bread-n-butter in terms of what people want to spend money on around these parts; all five colors of the first printing are now pretty much all gone! Tuesday I got struck down by some sickness (cold & fever?), tried to fight it, Wednesday didn’t get much done besides a long bicycle errand, today gave in & spaced out & made good food & napped all day, taking care of the sickness which was making me immobile & useless… Then mixed some colors tonight, as seen in the photo. I’m trying to get just a couple of the second edition of these Industrial Trust Buildings printed before the RISD street art sale which is happening on Saturday October 6th, very very soon!

Also listening to a live Work/Death set consisting of Scott putting a bunch of random metal items on a crappy old turntable & recording its rotation. Ambient aluminum rustlings. Lovely.

“master printer” / collaboration

July 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I spent the past week or so working with Noel Puello (friend, artist, fashion designer, New Urban Arts alum, and future student at MassArt!) on making a super-epic, four-layer, 12-color collaborative screenprint.

We made this print to fundraise for Noel’s college expenses: zig has a gap of about $8000 to cover for their first year of art school at MassArt. Read more, see more pictures, buy a print ($30-$100+ sliding scale), or donate just a couple of bucks, right here: http://noelpuello.net !!!

This was a whirlwind project:

  • about two weeks ago, we decided together on a size for the poster, based on paper I had around the studio
  • I gave Noel some wet media mylar (transparent plastic that’s been treated to allow it to accept ink & markers) and we talked about different layers & uses of color, looking at examples around the house
  • Noel went to the store & got some black paint markers (the easiest way to create solid black on plastic)
  • Noel flew to DC for a six-day national youth student leader conference and got about four hours of sleep every night and thought about the poster
  • Noel came back to Providence and made most of the transparencies for the print in one day (!)
  • we met up that evening & talked about rubylith and what text should go on the poster, organized the transparencies, talked about colors and added a rubylith “background” layer

  • by the next day, Noel had decided on the text, we finished the first layer transparency, shot the first screen, & mixed ink colors
  • two days later, Noel mixed the colors for the first & second layers, & we printed those layers on about 75 prints, with the help of CJ Jimenez…

  • the next day Noel mixed all the rest of the colors, and we printed the last two layers, including a final layer with glitter, with the help of Anne Reinhardt who also made us all an amazing dinner that we ate after midnight…

  • that was a very late night, but then we were done! BAM!

It was super interesting to work with a less-experienced screenprinter to help them realize their vision, as opposed to creating or setting out my own vision — I was definitely in the realm of “master printer assisting an artist” as opposed to “artist-printmaker” on this one. I also wasn’t in the realm of “teacher”, because I wasn’t “teaching” Noel a process that zig could then reproduce on zig’s own — rather, we had a joint goal: to create something excellent together.

In experiences that I’ve categorized as “teaching”, I’ve often stepped back and stopped myself from imposing my aesthetic opinion on the scenario, to let the learner follow a course I might not agree with. In this case, I was happy to have the occasional possibility to step in and offer a thought or opinion that I might shy away from talking about with someone who didn’t feel like as much of a creative peer as Noel does.

I was so psyched to work with a friend who was excited about learning and open to my ideas, but confident in the validity of their own vision & aesthetic sense as well. Noel & I were working together to do what was needed to make a beautiful and meaningful object. It’s been really fascinating to make something that looks nothing like anything I would have come up with out of my own imagination — but to still be extremely proud of what we made, and to feel a strong sense of my own artistic identity with it……

You think you’re a grownup & have felt or thought all there is to think & feel, but then there are these new complexities of feeling & understanding that come up, all the time, and demand to be paid attention to & not get generalized into prior experiences. !!!!


Buio stole my leopard-print bandana that I made (by ripping up a pair of pants I found in the trash) for the Feral Summer queer dance party last Friday!

but you just can’t be mad at a person-face cat.

duotone, finally

May 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

I’ve been working on this Recycle-A-Bike poster for probably a year… but I realized I hadn’t ever posted any images to this blog yet. So here goes! [n.b. I have actually finished printing this poster now!]

Here are the duotone transparencies that I prepared literally almost a year ago for printing out: the darker color is on the left & the lighter color is on the right. (There is a line grid in the background so that I could align the hands once I had cut them apart — Faces does the most accurate transparency printing in town as far as I can tell, and they do not underprice their work, so it was important to keep the printing area to under 8.5″x14″… so I had to consolidate the hands onto one sheet & then cut them apart to put them where I wanted them on the actual transparencies I used to expose the screens. Once the hands were in place & aligned with each other, I scratched the light lines off the plastic.)

(Oh yeah, when I do a duotone thing again, and thus have to figure out how to do it all over again, I will make a tutorial post… except my version of photoshop is 7 years old! but maybe it will still be useful to some…)

Close-up of duotones. This is confusing because what you’re looking at is the screen for the lighter color (open yellow areas on pink solid background) with the transparency for the next color, the darker color (black dots on clear plastic) top of it… so it doesn’t look at all like it will look when printed, since the lighter color is somewhat “in negative” here. But you can see that the angles of the halftone patterns are different, thus making a “rosette” instead of a weird-looking moiré pattern!

My mom would call this the “art shot” — macro-focus, looking through the screen at a light source, showing a closeup of the freewheel gears (exposed from hand-cut rubylith) and the hand holding the gears (exposed from digitally-printed transparency).

Okay, printing! This is the first color, it was a rainbow roll from one blue to another… I can’t get away from the multiple rainbow rolls over each other, it’s kind of a gimmick but it just offers too many possibilities… (like this, I mean, this isn’t a screenprint but look at Buck Hastings jacking my style/inspiring me all over again as usual!!!)

This layer is all rubylith, yeah I cut all those little gears out by hand, yargle bargle

Second color! Some people who’ve seen this print have said “it’s so flat, usually your work has a lot more visual depth & perspective in it…” and it’s true, that’s what I was trying to do! and/or just to change up my usual way of working… and/or to free myself from creating something that “looked like” what it was “supposed to”… and/or to make a lil homage to the Stenberg brothers who are kind of the seminal crowd faves in iconic graphic poster making, and were my direct inspiration for combining photographic collage with graphic solid color elements in this poster…

In the photo below, you can see really clearly something that Emmy Bright and I have been calling “halftone thinking”: using one ink color to get two tones, one of them solid, one of them made up of dots, dashes, lines, or some kind of pattern. You can do this by hand drawing, making those marks with ink… or by photocopying a pattern & collaging it… or by using an photograph made into actual halftones! In this image, there are four (or maybe five?) graphic tones created by just the yellow ink on the ‘natural’ paper, in different patterns:

Okay that’s it for now, more photos of finished poster soon, and you’ll probably see it around town if you’re here in Prov. Spring is choogling along, being physically alive is pretty awesome, swimming biking dancing doing movement exercises pushing the possibilities of my body getting stronger!!!


“Ferdinand’s” department store building, Roxbury, Mass. When faced with the question of “How will we make our dilapidated landmark building look like a really cool graphic poster image, and keep the pigeons out, while waiting to find out if we can get funding to renovate it or if we’ll have to tear it down?”, these people came up with the #1 absolutely correct answer! I don’t know anything about this project or building, but this is a quite stunning (hopefully temporary) solution to what must be a really frustrating situation… go Roxbury!

squashy takeover & transparent rainbows

May 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

This year’s Plant Sale poster is done! (Thanks to SCLT for their patience, and to my cousin (letterpress master) Dan Wood for cutting the edges off the prints for me super late-nite / lastminute!) Guess how much fun it was to draw these windows???

It features some of my (and possibly your) favorite buildings in Providence being re-inhabited by a terrifying-yet-friendly giant yellow squash plant. No full shots yet, you’ll have to catch a glimpse of one around town, but don’t steal them down till after the event on May 19th & 20th!

These posters keep getting sexier & sexier, says “one who knows“…

Here’s a moment in the process from about a week ago, when I was drawing the final ‘key’ layer with ink onto wet media mylar (plastic which is treated to hold the ink & not let it run). I mostly used a nib pen, but a couple of Rapidograph pens (passed down from my Grandpa, #1 & #00) are crucial tools for the tiny details. Then to correct blobs & mistakes, clean up lines, and also to create light in the dark areas, I scratch the dried ink away with the back of the blade of my trusty lil’ Olfa knife… Here you can see the pencil drawing underneath, layered with a sheet of tracing paper where I was working out the balance & rhythm of the large color shapes (of yellow squashes & green leaves) across the paper:

Also, each of the three layers in the print was a rainbow roll, which I’ve discussed in the past, but this is this new style where I do one transparent rainbow roll layer over a solid rainbow roll layer… and then a rainbow roll key outline layer. (As seen in this print from a year ago…) Something about the subtlety / complexity of those shifting layers overlapping each other turns out kind of incomprehensible & thus, it seems, pretty amazing.

Ink ready (those are three colors of transparent ink in the foreground, then a jar with water in it for washing off mixing spoons behind them):

On the screen, blending the colors together:

Then printed over the blue layer:

Here’s a tiny detail when ink on the final layer was still wet, and the early morning sunlight was coming in the studio window, showing how the ink sits bumpily on the paper (click for larger, it’s worth it!):

And, speaking of process, here’s what my past few weeks have been like:

To all my friends, including new/future friends as well as old friends, I’m really sorry for dropping off the face of the planet into this total screenprint work zone, please excuse my neglect of you / our friendship & know that I am eating mint-chocolate-chip ice cream in the middle of the night while I draw at a desk in a messy room, and thinking of you.

<3 ian

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