Seismology 101 Postcards 73-80

  • These postcards printed in April 2011 as test prints for Down a Little Dirt Road, produced by Just Theater.
  • Two layer screen prints on 100lb black stock.
  • Edition of 30 sent to friends, family and enemies.
  • (It's really hard to take good photos of black paper)
Down A Little Dirt Road Journal
  • I didn’t think it was going to take a supercomputer and a team of accountants to figure it out.

    The SF  Chronicle  reviews Down A Little Dirt Road here.  I will be back soon.

  • From the practice of using a whistle in the taverns of Olde Englande to summon the landlord with more drinks.

    Here are some snaps from the set design of Down A Little Dirt Road to whet your whistle.  Have I mentioned that this is your one chance, perhaps ever, to see 136 corrugated boxes assembled together  in one room?  Have I mentioned the 600 square foot screen print?  Have I mentioned that this play opens June 9 and runs Thursdays through Sundays until July 3?  Tickets are available at brown paper tickets.

  • He had communicated with women online and sent them explicit photos.

    My friends like to pretend that I pass my summer days lazily collecting sand dollars and breaking the law, but I will have anyone who will listen know that I recently executed the largest continuous screenprint of my life.  This print makes up a  floor and wall for the world of Down A Little Dirt Road, produced in my capacity as the play’s Set Designer.

    How big is it?  The main floor sheet  measures about 350 ft2–with a few extensions including a large piece that crawls up the upstage wall, the total is around 550 ft2.

    To produce this one serigraph to rule them all  , we first purchased one large sheet of economy vinyl flooring from our local mega-home improvement garrison and then got to work on its backside.  After a coat of Cracked Pepper Black was  loosely  applied with paint rollers, we got down on hands and knees to apply the screen prints in pairs, one painful  square foot at a time.  One person held the screen steady while the other manned the  squeegee.  After seven hours of this, the pattern was complete and the  surface  was protected with a polyurethane sealant  known  to the state of California to cause birth defects while wet.

    Not too many days of artmaking have shortened my life expectancy like this one probably did.  But the floor looks great:

    Backside of the flooring

    After a quick coat of black

    After screen printing

    Applying the selant

    The pattern

    Installed in the venue, I was happy with way the prints transformed the space:



    Unfortunately there was a heartbreaking amount of tearing when  the flooring was unrolled in the venue.  The vinyl just kind of stuck to itself:

    A small tear.

    Find out how this problem was solved:  Down A Little Dirt Road opens June 9 and runs Thursdays through Sundays until July 3.  Tickets available at brown paper tickets. Thanks to Jonathan S., Erin B., Molly A., Louel S., and especially Maddie  for all the help making this happen.

  • Definitely the goal is to find a house with a hot tub

    One of my silk screens.

    One of the silk screens burned with geology book data.

    I made a run of test prints from my geology book stencils. I thought I would experiment with metallic and glow in the dark inks, with the former more or less working and the latter more or less leaving me with four days of neck pain from pushing down so hard on the  squeegee. (There is no glow in the dark ink in the final test prints.)

    Because these types test prints often turn out better than my final pieces, I like to mail them.  So I cut down the sheets into  a large edition of postcards and sent them out to the usual suspects last week.   This gesture of goodwill generated a bit of feedback, which  expressed  various degrees of incredulity.

    “This anonymous person who just sent us some art in the mail started to address it to my old apartment, then x’d it out, and then sent it to our current apartment.”

    “It had me a bit freaked out.”

    “Own up.”

    “Thanks, but put my name next time!”

    Anyway, you can see the edition of 6 here on my postcard page, where my official goal is 100 postcards by 2013.

  • The leading choice among homeowners and professionals alike.

    Step number two in developing the DaLDR set was exposing three screens worth of test stencils from my geology book imagery.

    This printing day was a struggle from start to finish.

    I produced film positives from my images, which went well enough:

    Film Positives

    Film Positives

    Exposing the screen went fine.

    Exposing the screens went fine.

    Unfortunately with a manufacturer recommended shelf life of three weeks, my emulsion was long passed expired.   Screens coated with expired emulsion will usually expose, but the most magical step in screenprinting, washout of the stencil,  is near impossible.  This typically presents the printer with two options:

    • Be smart and start over.
    • Use force.

    Of course a Born in the USA runaway train such as myself only has one speed: full steam ahead.  And I was pissed.  Not in the mood to relive my Tuesday morning, it was time to bust out the big guns.  That’s right, the hour had approached to unleash  1600 Watts  of  heavy-duty aluminum axial cam pounding  1400 psi of unforgiving H2O  through any weak-ass bullshit expired emulsion in its way.  And at 651 square inches of total area, these pissant screens were about to meet (651 in2 x 1400 psi) 911,400 total pounds of punishment.  Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Husky 1600 Power Washer.  I like to keep it handy for close  encounters.

    Note the difference in the washout before and after power washing.  Now I had myself some stencils.

    Next post: Taking it out on the card stock.

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    To begin designing the set of Down A Little Dirt Road, I popped my head in the CMA Library.   From the visual  perceptive, the particular theme from the script that gets me most hot and bothered is earthquakes, and I found several technical books filled with engineering imagery  that had me licking my chops.  Even just two minutes with these books make me kind of sorry that I can’t magically change my job from teaching this kind of stuff to teaching how to make art out of this kind of stuff.  But everything is okay–did you know that as an engineering teacher here, I am allowed to borrow an unlimited number of books for an unlimited period of time?  That  gave me a great idea for a way to make easy money over the summer.

    But right now I need to start making this set.  I decided that a healthy variety of  technical figures from the fields of geology and structural engineering would be an interesting starting point for look of this world.

    I compiled 30 pages of images into one  humongous  project in Photoshop, where I was able to experiment with sizing, juxtaposition, and layering  (click to enlarge):

    A peek at part of the compiled image project.

    The result was a continuous image roughly 5 x 3 feet in area.   That’s 15 square feet  of great ideas!  I have plans to use this image to produce three large silkscreens for  stenciling.  Looking ahead, if I get my way I think I kind of prefer to pretty much screen print the shit out of the entire set.

  • Tennessee fights back against Sharia law.

    Looks like I am doing graphics and set for Erin‘s next play, which is being produced in Berkeley by Just Theater.  My first duty was to design this postcard.  It’s supposed to get you interested in the connection between earthquakes and dreams, ideally without invoking Tori Amos.