Prints: Stop! Look! Listen!

Flutter

At some point in recent years the image of this hazard sign popped into my head and I had to recreate it. There was some allure to taking a simple, banal caution message and recreating it with my own hands. Would the impact and meaning be drained from it once isolated and out of context? Maybe. Sort of. But this wasn’t the time for such questions. The task was just something that needed to be done.

I was obsessed with road signs as a kid. The graphic forms and bold colors. The deceptive scale. The simplicity. The immediacy. The minimalism. As Frank Stella once said of his hard-edged, geometric paintings, “What you see is what you see.” Well, I saw what I saw in those signs – and it was awesome. It’s no wonder I was soon obsessed with pop art, posters, packaging, signage and typography. They’re all clean, simple, designed things.

I was so obsessed that my dad and I salvaged an arrow sign (seen in this photograph) from a knocked-down post when I was in elementary school. We were driving along and saw the sign – still attached to the post – strewn off to the side of the road peeking out from a thicket of tall grass. To see it languishing there, out of reach, was just too much. We went back that evening with some tools – under the cover of darkness – released it from the post and took it home. Dad did the heavy lifting. I stood lookout. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe that the thing was sitting in our living room. I stared at it all evening.    

I was so very obsessed that my mom made scale replicas of my favorite road signs with poster board and permanent marker. She faithfully recreated the precise circles and arcs of the No U Turn sign by tracing the perimeter of a mixing bowl. She was a trooper. I just sat back and art directed to assure that the details were totally, completely accurate. We amassed quite the collection. As props they made bike riding a treat for me and a nuisance for everyone else – all needed to obey the posted signage.

I’m glad I kept this sign. It brightened my days back in the suburbs of Philadelphia and it brightens my days in our workshop here in Georgia.

So here, again, is Untitled. Pure and simple. Perfect.

Mom, Dad, PennDOT – this one’s for you.

Prints: Cautionary Tale

kurt_seidle_cautionary_tale_2014

I opened up the workshop this weekend and tried my hand at pulling a few prints. A new edition is all set to go next week but this was my chance to clean up, take stock, and loosen up with some new colors and old art. Working out the kinks proved a bit easier this year, though I did spend way too much time out there playing around with multiple colors and random paper stocks. It’s just too easy to get lost in the process and try out way too many things. Some things work. Others don’t. But I suppose that’s when new concepts emerge, so I usually roll with it and see where things go. No time like the present.

For the practice run I pulled out some of my very first Marietta screens and printed a short run of single versions of my “Untitled (Double Negative)” print. They turned out pretty well. Well enough that I think I’m ready to retire these screens and make room for some new artwork. Can’t wait to get started!

Prints: Warm to Cool and Back Again

kurt_seidle_color_2014

Spring is in the air. Well, so says the Cherry tree that dominates our front yard like a true diva. Though the days seem to fluctuate from damp and dreary to bright and shiny at the blink of a eye, it looks like we’re turning the corner. We have to. It’s inevitable, thankfully.

So along with the blooming colors come new color studies for fresh screenprints for 2014. I’m narrowing things down and finalizing the artwork while the weather contains me to the on-deck circle, but with so many beautiful colors out there it’s becoming very, very difficult to narrow things down*. Two-color is typically the way to go. And sometimes three. I always say that I’ll attempt more four- or five-color prints — last year I did manage one or two — but I think this is the year I break out of my comfort zone and try even more. I think. We’ll see what the next few weeks bring. Stay tuned.

*Choosing colors can be a daunting, yet liberating, endeavor for me. I typically scatter dozens of swatches (paint chips, colored paper bits and whatever else catches my eye) out on a flat surface and see what pairings work best (kind of like Jean Arp, but perhaps not so grandiose). I don’t typically have any preconceived ideas or favored hues and don’t really care about trending colors. I just react to what’s in front of me and go from there. It’s easier for me that way and a bit more random and fun, too.

Print: Untitled (Chevron)

Worked on new edition this past weekend—a new colorway of a recent design, to be precise. This time out it was a rich burgundy and a vibrant magenta on bright white stock. I got a few great one-offs in random colors too, which I’ll share later. These are now available on Etsy.

Print: Untitled

I finished up another edition over the weekend. This time I wanted to try printing white ink on a colored sheet. The ink went down smoothly and crisply to my delight.

I’ve updated my documentation style by photographing the prints in a frame to offer a bit of context and a better sense of scale.

Available at Etsy:
Untitled (Chevron) 

Prints: New Edition

 

Finished up a new set of prints this weekend. It turned out better than I ever thought it would. The inks were looking a little too thin as I was mixing them up, but both the white and florescent orange went down smoothly, crisply, flawlessly, effortlessly. I’m quite pleased. The finished product will be up soon.

Print: Untitled II

The new print is complete! The magenta turned out really nice. It just pops off the sheet with vibrancy. I think I’ll put this design to bed now, though I may do a very different third version before I do. Odd numbers do seem to work best. We’ll see.