Dan Haddigan: You have a very interesting and diverse body of work, incorporating a number of different techniques. Since this is the Philagrafika blog, I think the best way to start the conversation is for you to speak a little bit on your printmaking practice. I recall reading in an interview that you use a special silkscreen technique on your flooded-city pieces - the rendering of the water is all done by hand, and then silkscreened, correct? Do you ever re-use the same textures from one piece to the next? Can you discuss your feelings on the use of silkscreen techniques as a tool to produce a single image rather than a printed edition? What is your attitude, and your thoughts on printmaking in general, and printmaking as a tool to create certain effects?
And, to me, that is still the key: using printmaking techniques for effects that I couldn't otherwise achieve. The screen-printed book pages that you are asking about usually involve a split-palette pull through an open screen - an opaque ink fading into a transparent over a partially masked-out cityscape. For many of my other drawings, I'll screen-print advertisements or murals - objects in the composition that I want present as distinct from my drawing. The water patterns I re-use many times, they are printed from photographs I find or take myself. The reflections of the buildings are painted into each work.
AL: Yes, I think the delineation of the work is good, but it has also sometimes been a hindrance. It has gotten easier recently, but for a while, when an opportunity would come up for a show or an illustration project, I would need to ask very specifically what work of mine the person expected.
Very recently I've begun to try to break down some of the walls I've built up for compartmentalizing my own work. I'm increasingly interested in trying to incorporate some of the photography I do into the work I exhibit. I mean, it has always been integral for research and reference, but I've started to show some new drawings alongside diazotypes (blueprints) or unique photocopies that come directly from my reference photography. I'm really excited about the direction these pieces are going.
AL: I like that - "lifting the veil." That is much more interesting and appropriate than the term "post-apocalyptic," which people often use in relation to my work. I get it: it is the most accessible descriptor for what I draw, but I think that focus is wrong for what I make. And I think in articulating why I dislike that term, I am able to describe my intentions better. These drawings are non-narratives - they are not meant to tell a particular story nor have a sense of a specific moment. So much of the fascination with end-time "post-apocalyptic" imagery gets burdened by particular descriptions of "what happened" - which often devolves into vampires and zombies or cautionary tales about global warming or nuclear proliferation. Some of those fears are more valid than others, but either way, I'm not trying to be a didactic picture-maker. I'm trying to take the specificity out of the image and focus instead on these contradictory feelings of anxiety and peace; hints of violence surrounded by rebirth through these placeless landscapes. These themes and contradictions are much more interesting to me.
AL: I'm not sure about a written companion to the work. I feel much more comfortable dealing with these issues visually than through writing. I think it's just easier and more fun for me.