Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hand-printed business cards

In my ongoing efforts to have books and ephemera ready to sell, I recently made business cards to give away to customers and interested browsers. I'm not sure I'm totally satisfied with the images' appearances, but I'm certainly making progress, overall, with creating pictures, something I never thought I'd be able to do. I've also been training myself to see the merits of experimenting, and to avoid dwelling too much on results and outcomes. Printing and bookbinding were initially attractive to me because they're so process-oriented. I wanted to discover the pleasure that lies in 'doing,' in being creative. Slowly but surely, I'm adopting this attitude. I made the cards with rubber stamps, my go-to method for much of what I'm making right now. The spider image is joyfully borrowed from the estimable Louise Bourgeois. I can wholly relate to her fascination with these creatures - they're enterprising and artistic, almost miraculously so. The other image is of Branwell Bronte, tortured brother to Emily, Anne, and Charlotte. I fell in love with Branwell, as a literary and historical figure, many years ago and have printed his likeness repeatedly. With every new printing technique I learn comes another image of Branwell. This version, like all the others, is an interpretation of his self-portrait. I recently came across a painting of the Brontes currently housed at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was made by Branwell, a frustrated painter and writer, and includes his sisters and himself. Upon completing it, though, he decided to paint himself out but, over time, the oils he used have faded, revealing traces of his visage. In the painting, as it exists now, Branwell haunts his family (as he did while living), seeming to hover among them in a self-imposed, ghostly chamber of light.