In the spring of 2012 I spent 5 weeks as the Artist in Residence on Monhegan Island, Maine. For several years prior to this I had been involved with a group of artists, organizing draw-a-thons, draw-ins and print-a-thons and various other political art actions. From this I had learned how to create silk-screen prints using water based acrylic inks squeezed through very simple newsprint stencils. So for my residency I decided to try and teach myself more about this medium and to create some prints in line with my own painting and drawing. I created close to 30 different editions of around 12 or so prints, per edition, washing out/destroying each stencil after printing. I also created stencils using drawing fluid and screen filler, which was a bit more of a process than newsprint stencils, but afforded a nice fluid contrast to cut paper.
Monhegan Island is truly a magically romantic place, with cliffs, crashing waves, fish shacks and walls of stacked lobster traps. There is a long tradition of artists who have sought out the rugged beauty and solitude of this place, including Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent and George Bellows, just to name a few. My experiences and impressions were intensely mixed. While amazingly enough the light, landscape and community of lobster persons are all still there, the ills of our modern world have not left Monhegan unscathed. Plastic is everywhere, not surprisingly, considering that the island industry requires a material that can stand up to moisture, loading and hauling, to which lesser materials like wood and steel would invariably degrade by rotting and rusting. And as is the same everywhere by the sea, stuff washes up. So I found myself transfixed on the things that the boatloads of plein air painters, who descended upon Monhegan each spring, refused to contemplate or capture, finding instead contrast and contradiction as my subject matter. Each print reflects something of my Monhegan experience during the spring of 2012 and here you will find everything I allowed my encounters and instincts to capture and reveal, from the minke whales and night heron to the guy with the “sword” pierced earring and the “I Love Bacon” bumper sticker. My hope is that I have created a compelling portrayal of a place that is in fact still truly compelling.