John Amoss


'Ten uses for a Woodblock'

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Artist's comments ...

This is a homage/rip-off of Katsushika Hokusai's popular manga or 'sketchbook'. If you are unfamiliar with the work, click here for an example or see James Michener's book.

I have tried to mirror Hokusai's lively studies of common people in various activities. Shown here are ten people using woodblocks for different whimsical purposes - from top right: a judo practice board, doorstop, toy boat, sandals and a wheel chock. The left includes an archery target, nutcracker, paperweight, trivet, and the most noble use - as a printing plate. I did not bother to research the costumes or items. Rather I 'invented' what I needed to - a method Hokusai often indulged in.

If you were wondering what the center margin is, it is where the print would be folded down the middle, thereby creating a left and right-hand page. I have also tried to reproduce the limited colors palette that was used in the manga - 2 grays, a black and a tan.

I treated this as a novelty print - more as an entertaining excersize than a creative expression. And it was indeed a challenge for me to carve. But compared to the a real Hokusai, it certainly falls short both in craftsmanship and draftsmanship. I now realize how developed the artisans of the period (early 1800's) really were!

I used 5 hand-rubbed impressions from 3 basswood planks (I shoulda used cherry) using Yamaguchi hosho paper.


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