Print of the Month for December is ‘Yes!’ by Jacqueline O’ Neill
What’s the background to this print?
This print is of Jake, my beautiful lurcher, beautiful but troubled. He can be playful, cheeky, funny, (very) naughty, relaxed and joyously happy but this is a side to him that no-one sees outside my family. He had a very troubled early life, which has left him constantly struggling with contact with people. He is especially frightened of men and when around other people he is either fearful and close to flight, even at times hysterical or shuts down completely. I wanted to show him alert, looking the world in the eye because he is five now and it doesn’t seem as if his fear will ever leave him free to do that for himself.
Tell us a little about the technique you used to make this print?
This is a drypoint technique that involves drawing with a sharp point directly onto a metal, plastic or cardboard matrix with a sharp point. The effect on the plate is close to a mezzotint in the way it disturbs the surface of the plate raising a burr, which catches the ink creating lovely soft lines. (See detail below) It is considered by some to be a form of etching as it scratches into the plate to remove surface while others prefer to term it as a type of engraving. The development of the technique is generally attributed to Rembrandt who is still considered by many to be it’s greatest exponent. I made this plate from a sketch of Jake and after inking up the plate used the scrim to create textural marks when wiping the plate.
What do you love about print?
There are so many different types of marks to be made and so many different effects that can be created with printmaking, it’s so varied. As with many printmakers, the process raises all sorts of questions and when making a plate, especially when etching, you can start off in one direction and can end up going somewhere completely different by the time you have finished. The end reveal when you lift the paper from the plate is always a thrill.
Which print/artwork would you love to own
This could be a very long list – a Rembrandt etching would top it, one of the crucifixion scenes, ‘The Three Crosses’ maybe, followed closely by a Durer woodcut or etching. Artists working today, a sculpture or drawing by Nicola Hicks or a painting by Anselm Kiefer, I admire Jeremy Deller’s work too but it’s not really ownable.
Available to buy from our online store: https://www.blackstackstudio.com/v1/product/yes/