Monday, May 7, 2012

BadAxe Design - "Trout Over Michigan"

Last week I happened upon Wisconsin artist Jonathan Marquardt's BadAxe Design website and was immediately drawn in completely with his artwork.  I've always had a thing for woodcut and linocut art, even though I never have done it myself, and found his pieces especially interesting since they are such a neat mix of the real but also the mystery of all things under the surface.   

The next day I placed an order for the "Trout Over Michigan" linocut through the BadAxe Design Etsy page and asked Jonathan if he would mind creating this piece in a brown ink of his choosing.  My very first trout caught on a fly was a small brown trout on the "Holy Water" of the Au Sable River in northern Michigan and so it just seemed quite fitting.

Over the past week Jonathan and I have corresponded a bit and I asked if he would mind taking a series of photographs which would show the process of creating a linocut piece of artwork step by step.  Jonathan obliged and also included a bit of copy to accompany the photographs which was much appreciated.

Jonathan wrote...  "I start by sketching all of my ideas in my pad that I carry around.  When I am thinking of something new for a piece, I sketch it down so I can reference it while I am carving.  When I am ready to start a block, I draw the image in reverse on to the surface of the linoleum covered block and then carve it in with two blades.  One is very fine and the other is a wide flat blade.  I am able to do practically all cuts with these two blades.  Once the image is carved out and the block cleaned, I'll do a test run and make sure all the areas of the block are laid out properly.  After that, I cut a piece of artist paper to size, lay the block over the paper and press it in.  I do all my pressing with a hand brayer as I do not have a press.  Maybe someday.  Hand pressing makes each piece totally unique as the ink and application are never exactly the same.  Once the piece is printed and I am happy with it (usually I have to print a few that don't make it into the edition for one reason or another) I sign, number and seal it with a workable fixative to prevent smearing while shipping."

Created with flickr slideshow.
"I've been carrying a sketch pad since I was old enough to carry something.  That's what my parents tell me anyway.  Combining my passion for fly fishing and art was a natural evolution.  Getting out of my studio and in front of people was the sage advice of my wife Megan.  The green chair in my studio is hers and it is from there that she inspects the prints and gives out much needed advice while I work.  My 10 month old son is a visitor as well, though all he can do at this point is supply plenty of drool soaked approval.  The warm reception that my prints have received at the few shows I have done led me to start putting them on shirts to express the fly fishing lifestyle.  We all love being out there and art that depicts that feeling is a wonderful thing to be able to give people.  I find that a lot of non-fisherman enjoy my work as well. I think it conveys a love for the outdoors and the animals that we love seeing and fishing for.

I started a series of state prints with the fish in them that I like to catch.  The "Trout Over Michigan" design was actually requested by Old Au Sable Fly Shop in Grayling, Michigan after they saw my Wisconsin print and shirts at a show in Illinois.  So the "Trout Over Michigan" shirts will be available at their shop and on my site in the next few weeks."

I am beyond happy with how this piece of artwork came out and have already hinted to my wife that it would make a phenomenal gift for Father's Day to have it matted and framed for my office.  If I can wait that long.

Follow Jonathan four ways.  The BadAxe Design website, his Etsy store, and of course Facebook and Twitter as well.  

1 comment:

Michissippi said...

Big thanks for the heads up on this! Those are the perfect combination of my fiancee's artsy-ness and my flyfishy-ness. And they're not expensive! A few of those WILL be decorating our future house.