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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let Me Introduce You to Printmaker Kyoko Imazu

Kyoko Imazu is a friend of mine, I know her first from my year at RMIT studying printmaking, but mostly from working together at the open studios in the Australian Print Workshop. She lives in Melbourne but is originally from Japan. I love her work and want to show everyone else too! 

I have chosen a number of images of her work from her blog and asked her to say a little bit about each one.

"This is a doodle I did when I was in Japan this year. I got ideas when I was reading a comic that I used to love when I was a child. It's got a lot of supernatural beings in it and I wanted to draw something that has a sense of those supernatural beings.Those beings are called Yokai - they are kind of like monsters but some of them are treated like gods too. I put my usual bunny and Jizou, it's a stone statue you can see anywhere like roadsides or cemetery in Japan. I think I felt really nostalgic about my childhood."

"This is one of Japanese Yokai as well, called Jinmenju (Human-face tree). First drawn by this guy called Toriyama Seiken in about 1870. The fruits are human heads and they are always laughing or smiling and if they laugh too much they fall from the tree. It's a legend and this tree is supposed to grow in remote mountain valleys in China.
I want to turn this into a print so I'm thinking about how I should do it at the moment."

"I wanted to draw something from my collection of minerals and fossils. I was looking at a calcite (see the picture second from top from the link) and thought I could actually imagine this to be a miniature island. I wanted it to look sort of like an illustration or ex libris from an old book like Gulliver's Travel so I used wood engraving as a medium. Also I needed to practise the engraving so I was a bit desperate to find an image for woodblock!"

"Rather than going for a detailed rabbit, I wanted this to be a bit more ambiguous. The rabbit's got a claw-like hand but I wanted it to be both familiar/not-familiar and not easily recognisable so I decided to black it out like a shadow."

"This is an invasion of Telebunnies! I used to love teletubbies, in probably pre-high school time. When I look at them now, they are kind of scary and weird with the funny voice and screens in the tummy.... (I think it's like Wiggles in Australia, I don't understand why kids love those old men) So I decided to make a bunny version of teletubbies but more of them so it's like they are going to come and get us with the crazy TV in the stomach to communicate with each other.
I wanted it to look like a doodle so I did sugar-lift. This print is quite small as I was experimenting with the medium so I think I will do them again in a much larger plate."

"I got the image when I was doodling again. I had a Edvard Munch's The Kiss in my head when I made a sugar-lift version of this doodle. In his painting, faces of man and woman are melting in to one another. I think I didn't want to make a parody but kind of pay tribute of his work about life, melancholy and death! Someone at APW said it looks like Michael Leunig's though..."

"This is a work called 'What the Mouse Must Know' and I made it when I was in uni. This school project was about what is real and not real, what defines 'real'. My work has always been about a constructed nature and a question of what is nature, so I decided to use a mix of my own project and school project together. I wanted to make a landscape with lots of animals and plants in it but they are mixed with images from fairy tales and drawings from a colonial time. I put those animals/plants/stories/historical drawings together so borderline of all becomes blurry. And because it's all made of paper it can add the sense of being constructed/man-made and also a fragility to it. I painted the back of each paper strip in light red colour so the colour would reflect on the one behind. "

"I think I will paste a text from a gallery proposal I made last year about this image. Although it sounds really stiff, it can summarise better.
"Kyoko Imazu examines artificial and cultural constructions of nature using the motif of the rabbit. The significance of the rabbit in the context of Australia and in children’s books and films around the world is vastly different. It is viewed both as a pest and a symbol of cuteness. Through distorting and manipulating its physical structure the work challenges conventional representations of this creature in a cross-cultural investigation. Using copper plate engravings and referencing eighteenth century natural illustration the pieces evoke an imagined evolution of this iconic animal."

"This is a doodle from which I got the ideas for Telebunnies (5) and The Kiss (6). I can't really explain how I got these images or why, because I drew them when I was on the tram or on the phone at work. Lots of animals are working or playing like humans. Sometimes humans trying to be animals just like a girl in a picture with rabbit mask.
I'm always thinking about ways to incorporate my doodles into prints but haven't quite figure out how."

"Bob the Hare! I felt a little bit rude about making so many hybrid or anthropomorphic animals in the past ( I still do!). Rather than playing with the rabbit's physical form e.g. hybrid, I wanted to make him as he is, not against his nature, so hopefully he keeps the sense of awe that we used to have to animals. Because of our desire to collect, research, label and understand the nature, nothing is a mystery to us. It's not an unknown anymore and we don't feel scared by it so we do whatever we want with it. I thought this wanting-to-know-everything-around-us resulted in human's dominion over nature. And I think having no respect towards nature is one of the cause of all ecological concerns. By drawing animals as they are in nature, I thought I could pay more respect to the animal." 

"This is a watercolour of a tree that I found on the internet. It made a list for world strange tree. 
I just couldn't resist drawing it as it was really beautiful! It wasn't raining in the photo but it looks like raining on the paper."

Thank you so much to you Kyoko for taking time to talk about your work. You can view more of Kyokos work on her blog 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The winner is...

Well done to Carapace for winning my November Giveaway. I'll be sending out a little goodie parcel to Texas for her! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Teals and Trials

I got so frustrated yesterday. I had a list of a few items I needed to get from an art shop. If I was in Melbourne I'd know exactly where to go and that the shops would have what I'm after. But not in Belfast! It's so difficult moving to a new place, even though Belfast isn't technically a new place for me, I'm just not used to it and I don't know the secrets! Although I think the secret is you have to buy everything on line because Belfast just doesn't cater to the specialist market of printmaking supplies, grey board or 0.5 2B pencil leads! I have to get used to it and realise Melbourne has nearly 4,000,000 people whereas Belfast has 267,500, so it's obvious really that supplies will be more limited here. Grrrrrr! I've been spoilt!

Oh, hold on, I'm baby sitting my nephew and he's just woken up, I'd better go and see if he's ok.................................................

................................................................ok, nephew on knee here, now there's one thing melbourne doesn't have, my wee nephew! oh and Belfast has a BRILLIANT display of birds in the museum. Here are a few more drawings, I did these yesterday.

Grey Heron
Brent Goose


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Now on Facebook!

I'm following suit, my bridbird label is now on facebook and I'm quite enjoying playing around with it like a new toy.

Here's the deal, if you become a fan of bridbird page and enter or have already entered the November giveaway I'll enter you twice so you have double the chance of winning! Woo Hoo!!!

I'd also like to introduce you to my good friends Able and Game who make fantastic cards and gift tags, like the one above. Here's the link to their facebook page. They are based in Melbourne and I miss them lots :(

Friday, November 20, 2009

November Giveaway!

For your chance to win a goodie bag containing :-
1 A5 mounted print
4 cards including a christmas card
2 sets of fridge magnets

simply go to both my etsy shops (bridbird and bridgetfarmerprints) and decide on one thing that you'd like to have for christmas, then leave a comment here on my blog. Please remember to leave your details with your comment, good luck!

Winner will be announced 2nd December.

only one entry per person please, unless you are a fan of my facebook page, Click here to join up!

Thank you to everyone who took part in my giveaway, the winner is Carapace. The competition is now closed. I'll have another soon so keep watching!

That Christmassy Feeling

Does that just mean cold toes and needing to wear a scarf indoors? Well if thats the case, I'm well and truly feeling Christmassy! Of course it's a different case in Australia where I hear temperatures are getting higher. Would I rather 35 degrees and clear skies or 5 degrees and eternal rain? Honestly, I'd choose the rain, I can't stand the heat, and it's just not Christmassy!

Here are a few of my new designs for Christmas cards. I have three different robins, each one initially drawn in pencil, then colour added on the computer. You can find them for sale on etsy or on folksy, a UK site. I'll also be selling them at markets around Belfast.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Out and About

I did manage to get to the museum yesterday and drew a couple of pheasants. My favourite was the Silver Pheasant, simple black and white plumage with beautiful markings. I'd love to make a long etched plate of one of these birds. I've had to scan it over a few different pages and haven't quite managed to get him all in, but you get the idea!

Today I went back to Castle Espie. I got in contact with the staff a few weeks ago to ask if they had any specimens and they showed me to the attic where they have a secret stash of old, dusty birds. It was great!

View of Stangford Lough from Castle Espie.

Tomorrow I hope to get to the Belfast Print Workshop and finally join! I always get nervous when it comes to taking steps towards printmaking again, I love it, but it's such a wide area of possibilities it slightly daunts me. I think this is a good thing though!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sketches at Seapark

The day I got back from Amsterdam I was still fired up with drawing, I braved the drizzle and went down to Seapark near Holywood to draw. It was great, I sat for an hour until my feet got too cold.

Anyone from this area will know these houses on the shore, they're beautiful. My friend's grandfather helped to build them. I think everyone want to live in one of them.

This poor old dog was so old and stiff he just stood in front of me for ages instead of climbing the incline from the beach up to the path. Thanks for the pose!

The view from Holywood up Belfast Lough to the docks.

I'm raring to go drawing again today now that my first market is out of the way and I have all my stock made. I can set all that aside and do what I really want to be doing. I'm just waiting for a phone call from the museum about drawing their birds.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I've worked it out.

The best way to draw more is to buy a lovely sketchbook!

While in Amsterdam last week I went into a great little shop that I recognised from when I lived there for three months 6 years ago. They sold beautiful paper, ink and sketchbooks. I decided to treat myself to a new green cloth covered sketchbook, and since then I've been drawing drawing drawing. It feels good!

Here's some of my drawings from the Netherlands.

Oh, also, the Etsy Irish team are having a giveaway, open to everyone and anyone. The winner will receive a marvelous goodie box made up of items from Etsy Irish Team shops. I've donated a few items too! All you have to do is leave a comment in their blog post. Here's the link.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Wee Peek

Here's a wee peek of my time last week.