Lecture and workshop given at the Food & Finance High School in Manhattan New York, April 13, 2010. Students were already familiar with the technique of linoleum cut an had produced under the guidance of their teacher one portrait . To their credit they did venture into a fairly complex world with some success considering the fact that it had been their first trial.

Portraits created by students of the F & F High School Manhattan

Amount  the difficulties  students had experience were related to: draw lines, cut and hard material and printing the image with accuracy .

step outside thinking

During my very  first short visit to the school and glance at the student works I took some records in the art room . It appeared obvious that one student stood out with his or her  work.  More so the message was not only visual but had an engraved text, showing a real eagerness to communicate a strong idea! Certainly this short message expressed deep feeling of frustration and on the same time was a call for a hope to remedy : ” Step outside thinking” . A call for a change, for a new vision, new learning…?  A philosophical though to all.

I embraced this request for this obvious relationship to the spirit as well as the history of engraving: because Gutemberg was able to think out of the box, books exist and are part of our daily life, his invention allowed  diffusing knowledge [ for good or worth] it has shape the course of our entire  western civilization.

It is mandatory to understand the important of art and the importance of teaching art for the harmonious development of the brain. It is unfortunate that it is regarded like a form of  light entertainment instead of one of the most challenging discipline to master. What to expect from an individual that does not know how to use neither his or her eyes or ears ? Hands with polished painted nails but useless to function? Only the tongue use for the purpose of making up for other ignored or suppressed senses. A young human should be encourage to develop, to grow harmoniously.

School logo

Stepping out of the box to see that the school logo: a perfect example of high relief engraving, the original prototype of it may have been carved out of , wax, wood , plaster…

how to start?

It is alway intimidating  to challenge oneself using a sharp blade. Originally the material comes on gay color, cutting grey on grey does not allow one clear readability. Covering the block with black allows perfectly to define lines and patterns.

Cutting a linoleum block

work in progress

pulling a proof print

Notice that the printing clearly show that the letter should have being carved in a ‘mirror’ way in order  not to appear ‘reverse’ on the printed paper. This an example of a very easy mistake that show the need to use ‘thinking out of the box’…

print is dead!

After the class, not too far from the school in a widow boutique I could read ” print is dead”, still offering one to pay for  what is a print after all [a printed T-shirt for sale hoping to keep one alive]. This is this kind of empty, negative, but ‘smart’ lack of vision that guaranty one to remain inside of the box while pretending being outside of it…

bike and concrete side walk in front of a bike shop, Manhattan, NYC

Further down the street a example of good skills and creativity.

artist in Union Square

By the time I arrived in Union Square I got confronted with a message of hope: a young mind, even with her brain covered with a hard helmet, was ready to learn  from a total stranger if he was willing to demonstrate harmony and balance.

The most rewarding question from my lecture was: ” sir, what will it take for me to be like you when I will be your age?”

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