fred vee

GIVE A CALL

I’m going to be pretty busy the next two months, so posting will likely be less frequent. I don’t want to get into why just yet but when things settle in next week I’ll give an update. Meanwhile, Satan is always entertaining - give him a call.

FV

 

EXPERIMENTATION

"Killed By Cop" - Fred Vee

So far I've been real happy to be participating in the exhibition / experiment my friend Marcos Fernandes and I thought up, Future Sound/Future Vision. Our first week was really cool with a good amount of visual artists showing up and going for theirs. Marcos did a few workshops and we had a live sound event. Not bad and next week we've got more live sound than this week so it should prove to be just as exciting.

For me personally I've felt a lot of freedom. A general lack of pressure that I tend to put on myself. I know a big part of that is having other people around creating. I get really inspired watching people get down and dirty with their work. We insisted on no rules, other than to listen to the sounds provided while you create, so I'm creating more and thinking less. I feel the other artists are as well. It's good mental exercise to react and just feel the vibe.

The woodcut from my previous post was created in this frame of mind, as was my painting, a child like crayon picture I did and the above drawing. I was listening to sounds that were quite mellow, with cicadas buzzing and almost tranquil. I started playing around with calligraphy brushes and ink, making shapes and what not.

Then something in that tranquility struck me as the quiet that often follows an extremely violent act. I started thinking of all the shitty videos lately of white people losing their minds in Amerikkka and calling the cops on mainly black people for, well being black while doing normal shit. I remembered reading today or yesterday was the anniversary of Eric Garner's murder by the cops. Then of all the black dudes murdered by the cops in the last few years (though it goes wayyyy back, obviously).

That stunned silence, sometimes very brief, that this really went down. That we witness another unarmed black man murdered whether you were there or we see it on video. It's fucking sad, stupid and embarrassing. It's worse that the outrage doesn't get respected and we see these yoyo's calling cops for nothing, without a thought I imagine that this could lead to the person's death (or maybe that's what they are hoping for).

And that picture above is what came out. Something I don't think I could do with my camera. Something that's amateurish and rough done in about 30 minutes but came from a place of real frustration. Something that freeing the mind of worry and getting lost allowed  it to happen.

Slowly, with inspiration from others, to think to myself, "Fuck it. Not much time left, better put down what you think." I'm trying a few new things and feeling it's what I need to be doing to get to where I want to be. 

FV

 

WOODCUT

While I've enjoyed doing linocuts, I've been a little frustrated with the results I'm getting from the material I have available to me. Something about the stuff I buy just isn't holding color well. It's often uneven and if you look at the ones I've posted you'll probably notice it, like a textured look, which isn't what I'm looking for all the time.

So I tried my first woodcut yesterday as seen above. It was just a cheap block of wood from the art store, like a thick block of plywood I guess. My first impressions were it felt much better to work with. Definitely more tactile. The first prints I made of the circle were much more jagged and rough around the edges. I was able to clean them up to the best of my ability easier than on the lino material.

I intentionally tried for a easy design but not being good at circular shapes gave myself that challenge. I found it a bit easier to make the cuts and as I mentioned clean things up. I was a little intimidated thinking it was gonna be kind of beastly but found it enjoyable to work with. Definitely a little more work required and my hands are a bit sore as I had to carve away all the white you see in the print. 

I have another block of wood that I'm gonna start on soon, hopefully this week. Probably try something with more detail to get a feel for that. Then I'll likely go to the home center and buy some various woods and see what's what and what suits me.

Don't think I'll give up on lino but I don't have the patience at the moment to seek out a better material. Wood variety is more plentiful here so that's the direction I'm gonna head in for now.

Btw, I follow this guy Hernan Arevalo from Costa Rica on Instagram. I love his woodcuts and he's a real inspiration to me since I started printmaking a couple months ago. Check him out.

FV

 

DOUBLE EXPOSURE

00096_DOUBLE_X.jpg

I posted a couple months ago a double exposure and mentioned I was thinking of continuing it as a project. Since then I've been playing with the technique a bit and it's been pretty fun. I've got about 5 images I'm real happy with, including the one above. Not enough for a series yet but I'm not trying to force it. I've gone weeks without thinking about it and then a day will come and it feels right to look around for things that would work.

So far, all the images feature people in them and I don't plan on changing that. It's what gives interest to the image to me. It's just those 2 or 3 seconds between shots that give the feeling of time moving, things in constant flux.

I started by just doing all the processing on my iPhone in Snapseed but lately have been throwing the shots into Photoshop to get a little more control over the blending. I've been using some masking as well to bring out at least one element completely visible and unobstructed. At first I was trying to be real purist about it but with people on the streets I don't always get two images that separate well enough and it just looks busy and muddled. I don't go crazy with it, just enough to make the image have a focus point.

I'm gonna keep on going with them until I reach enough for a series and possibly after if it's still an interesting exercise. I don't know. I really enjoy printmaking a lot more than photography right now but I've been thinking of ways to combine image transfers with my prints.

We'll see. I have a lot of ideas but having trouble focusing on tying them together at this point in time. The world has my head spinning these days and I find when I get into thought about where we're at, hours have passed and I'm spent. That's where it's at.

FV

 

 

LINO 11

For such a minimal print, this was actually a lot of work for me. I wanted to try something inspired by Kazemir Malevich cuz I really love the suprematism movement he founded. He mostly used paints and stuff so getting this as a lino print was tougher than I thought.

I don't like using rulers to draw out shapes so I wasn't expecting perfect squares but carving them out also proved to hard for me. Getting a consistent straight cut still isn't in my bag of tools yet, so I had to finesse these shapes the best I could with patience and an assortment of knives. I'm more or less ok with what came out.

Printing was a bit of bitch as well. First I laid down the grey background and as you can see, it's not completely smooth. It looks like texture but that's not really what I wanted. While I like the look of it, I'm still having difficulty laying down inks. Same goes for the squares, especially the red one. It might be the ink I'm using as it seems kind of thin and tough to get on the surface. I did my best with it. The black was better and by the 7th or 8th print I was getting a clean well inked shape.

So another one done. I have quite a few prints of this so I'll probably lay down another layer of red and black over the shittier ones and might experiment with adding more shapes kind of freestyle on a couple others. We'll see...

Overall, another satisfying exploration into printmaking. I learned a few things and got a few new ideas as well. As always, looking forward to the next one and the challenges it likely will provide.

FV

 

COLOR

This is an earlier print I made (original here) that I colored the other day. I'm waiting on some paper to be delivered to make new prints and since my success using multiple colors in my prints isn't so hot, I took the opportunity to try something different.

The technique was basically using watercolor pencils and then wetting the pigment with water. Conversely, I also wet some areas then applied the pencil colors. It turned out ok overall considering I didn't know what I was doing. One thing is the paper wasn't to heavy so it was hard to use too much water at any one time. I also was a bit impatient which is not a characteristic to have using watercolors.

It was an interesting experiment and something I'd like to try again using watercolor as well as pastels or acrylics. I got plenty of prints that don't look to good to play around with to see what looks good and what doesn't. Hopefully my paper comes soon though as I have a couple ideas waiting to work on.

FV

 

ATAMI

I'm a very big fan of cats. I've had one or more in the apartments I've lived in my whole life, from the time my momma brought be back from the hospital after I popped into the world, up to this very day. I have two very chill anarchistic cats.

Last week, my wife and I took a lil day trip down to a place called Atami. It's about an hour or more by train from where I live in Yokohama. Nice little town on the beach that feels stuck in time somewhere around the late 1960's or early 70's. Pretty famous for a having a large amount of hot springs.

Now, Japan in general, as much as I've seen in the seven years I've lived here, has a lot of stray cats almost everywhere. Atami was no exception. I must have seen at least 8 or  10 of them in the limited area we walked around. Could have been that being so close to the water lots of guys fish and maybe they get fed nicely because of that. Who knows?

The cat pictured above was by far the most interesting of the bunch. He or she was posted up in a phone booth just as a light rain started to fall. I probably took about 50 shots of it but this was my favorite and as is often the case, one of the first shots I took. I didn't open the door or disturb it, aside from circling it for 10 minutes but it was laid back without a care in the world. In fact, all the cats I approached that day were real sociable and friendly. 

Amazing little creatures in my opinion.

FV

 

LINO 9

I suppose this is technically number 8a since it's the last plate I showed but turned it into a new image. As you can see the basic structure is the same but I added some new colors and additional line work.

I learned about adding colors on top of each other. I was under the impression that you put down the lighter colors, let them dry and cover with your next darker color and it'd just cover the lighter one. Wrong! It mixes colors like if you were trying to make a new color. I was trying to have that yellow pretty much the way it is and I wanted to layer a basic blue next. Well, as you probably know blue and yellow make green, which is what I was unpleasantly discovered when I pulled the first damn print. Initially I was pissed but the more I thought about it, I am using water based inks, so it makes sense they mix...I guess.

Well, that changed my whole plan for the direction I wanted yo practice. Was gonna lay the blue, then red for the lips but that wasn't meant to be. So I changed some of the areas I was gonna cut and what not and salvaged this as the best of 6 attempts. The others all have muddy areas or ink bleeding where it shouldn't. 

So what I really need to do is:

  1. learn a technique to overlay the colors without them changing
  2. work more on quality of smaller cuts
  3. improve my inking technique on the plates

Basically a fail but I learned some good information on how to reduce the colors mixing and changing colors. I may try some masking off areas on my next attempt or my wife told me adding white to the overlay color somehow helps. 

FV

 

DOUBLE X

Here's an example of the photo series I'm dabbling with at the moment. I'm calling it DOUBLE X since it's all gonna be double exposures. The exposures are made rapidly so hopefully only a fraction of a second or separates the two images. 

I'm hoping to catch the so called "decisive moment" (NO, I'm not comparing myself to Henri Cartier Bresson), but obviously the moment I think is right, followed by the instant after. The combination gives a odd effect with a good subject. The feeling of a good moment being captured is there, but the ghosting from the second image makes you realize something isn't right. I like the idea of things never really being still, things always being in flux. 

The above shot is an ok representation of what I'm talking about. I just started fucking around with it a few days ago so I'll see if it proves worth pursuing. The weather is warming up so I'll be outside a lot more in the coming months. Maybe something else will grab my interest by then but either way, I'm done taking pictures of textures and shapes for a while. Completely burnt out on that for now.

FV