LARGE SCALE FASCINATION
Working in large scale has always been a fascination to me. From large murals to installations, looking to an art piece which scale absorbs you not only mentally but physical is a delightful experience since an early age. No wonder my parents surprise once they came back from work and found my bedroom wall covered on a pastel drawing based on Saint Seiya character Shiryu and a dragon. I was lucky to survived the dusty room for weeks and to have parents that continue supporting my desire to create and alter spaces.
Fast forward in time to 2016 and I find myself carving large woodcuts far away from Venezuela. Looking to thousands of tiny little cuts done by hand tools coming together to craft a visual narrative that becomes vibrant and massive with its present. Drawing freely with charcoal on a 6x4ft MDF board to finally allow the mark making from the carving tools to transforms into its final form; allowing the ink to work its magic and surprise me with its reverse revelation.
Motivated to keep exploring and learn more about how to print these massive blocks that an etching press from the University of Idaho could not take, I was drawn to an advertise with the title “BIG INK“ on Facebook. After reading a little, artist and director Lyell Castonguay offered traveling workshops specialize on large scale relief printing. After saving from my weekend gardening job I enrolled into the adventure of carving a 3x4ft on my first visit to Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene Oregon. I renewed my license, rented a car and squished my self to the wheel so I can fit the block in the trunk to drive to Eugene. I was ready to live my first printmaking adventure and this time it did not disappointed. The seven hour trip on the hot summer made a crazy turn when a the train next to the Columbia River exploded and created a big fire. Highway was close and after waiting for several hours I decided to turn around and try a different road through Washington. While waiting, I decided to kill some time adding extra details to my block on the side road. The seven hour drive became sixteen. Exhausted decided to crash in a resting area until the sunlight woke me up to finally drive and make it on time to Eugene for the printing event. It was amazing to see how supportive and encouraging the printmaking community is. With Lyell Castonguay and 14 other passionate printmakers from the region we printed all these big blocks until 5pm in the afternoon. It was great to see and learn the process, to understand ink consistency, to visit and see a member-supported printmaking shop and to use a Ray Trayle 48’ x 96’ etching press, biggest press that I have ever seen. Inspired and full of ideas, I came back to campus that same night and proceeded to keep exploring printmaking.
Two years later I went back to Eugene and visit the Whiteaker Printmakers studio and worked with BIG INK once again, just to reinforce and find the same things that made me felt in love with large scale printing on the first time and with the supporting printing community. Printing and sharing my love for the printmaking with others has become my passion, a passion that continues to grow exponentially as the size of my prints.
I strongly recommend you to take the trip to Eugene, OR and visit Whiteaker Printmakers and it amazing owners Heather and Paul Halpern. Also, keep an eye out on your city or a close one because Lyell Castonguay and BIG INK might be coming by to keep spreading the Large woodcut revolution