Posts tagged
with printmaking


Invoking the Divine Feminine, Delita Martin’s Mixed-Media Portraits Embrace Self-Empowerment

May 4, 2023

Grace Ebert

A mixed-media portrait of a Black woman with colorful patterns all over her body

“Blue Stars” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, acrylic, liquid gold leaf, decorative papers, hand stitching. All images © Delita Martin, shared with permission

“Duality is the idea that there are two realms within (the) spirit world,” says Delita Martin, “one that is seen and one that is unseen.” This coupling is a grounding force for the artist as she practices an alchemy of spirit and aesthetics, coaxing dynamic figures from a mélange of patterns, materials, and symbols.

Through a vivid body of work titled Conjure, Martin explores what it means to be self-empowered as a Black woman and embrace “the veilscape,” a spirit world in which the unseen, freedom from racism and sexism, transformation, and ancestral connection prevail. The artist refers to this space as an “intangible reality” and returns to it again and again as she overlays her relief-printed portraits with charcoal, acrylic, gold leaf, and threaded details.


A mixed-media portrait of a Black woman with colorful patterns all over her body

“Resting Place” (2020), charcoal, acrylic, decorative papers, hand stitching

While this conceptual layer remains throughout all of Martin’s works, her vast use of symbols shifts with each portrait. She might feature a bird mid-flight, as in “Flying (Feather Skirt),” for example, to convey an unrestricted spirit, or a full flock bound to a subject’s shoulders as in “Feathers” to communicate the experience of being tethered to another. Recurring in different forms on garments or backdrops, circles are similarly evocative as they reference the connection between the divine feminine and the moon. Color, too, is emblematic. She shares:

Although I do not subscribe to any particular theory on color, I very much believe that color causes a reaction and can connect with the human spirit. For my own purposes, colors like red and orange carry a fiery energy, and blues are very calming and actually connect more closely to the spirit world in my work than any other color. I tend to favor blues the most in my work. Yellows and golds are what I consider outdoor colors that reference the earth, colors that are closely related to the waking world. Greens I connect with nature and growth. Purples/burgundy I associate with mystery and time.

Washes of acrylic or fragments of colorful patterns blur the distinction between body and surroundings, emphasizing the co-existence of the physical and spiritual worlds and reminding the viewer that part of the self always remains invisible and hidden behind the veil.

Martin, who is based in Huffman, Texas, and represented by Galerie Myrtis, will have new portraits on view this month at Tiwani Contemporary in London and is teaching a printmaking course in Salzburg this July. Find more of Conjure and other works on her site and Instagram.


Two mixed-media portraits of Black women with colorful patterns all over their bodies

Left: “Woman Sitting (Golden Stool)” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, acrylic, decorative papers, hand stitching. Right: “Claiming What Has Risen” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, fabric, decorative papers, hand stitching, acrylic

A mixed-media portrait of a Black woman with colorful patterns all over her body and birds on her shoulders

“Feathers” (2020), charcoal, acrylic, relief printing, decorative papers, liquid silver leaf, hand stitching

A mixed-media portrait of a Black woman with colorful patterns all over her body and birds flying nearby

“Flying (Feather Skirt)” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, acrylic, fabric, decorative papers, hand stitching

Two mixed-media portraits of Black women with colorful patterns all over their bodies

Left: “Offerings” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, decorative papers, hand stitching, acrylic, liquid gold leaf. Right: “Mirrors and Sky” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, acrylic, decorative papers, hand stitching

A mixed-media portrait of a Black woman with colorful patterns all over her body

“The Moon Now Rises” (2020), relief printing, charcoal, acrylic, decorative papers, hand stitching

A hand pulls a needle through paper depicting a bird

Martin at work in her studio in Huffman, Texas





In a 100-Day Printmaking Project, Lisa Stubbs Reflects on the Holme Valley from a Bird’s-Eye View

March 30, 2023

Grace Ebert

All images © Lisa Stubbs, shared with permission

Artist Lisa Stubbs is in the midst of a 100-day project that both explores unusual printmaking materials and recalls the topographical allure of her hometown. Working from her studio in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, Stubbs began the series as a way to experiment with utilizing cleaned and flattened Tetra Pak cartons in place of wood or metal plates. She layers ink onto the plastic-coated cardboard and uses a type of gauze known as a scrim to wipe away the excess pigment. “For me, this is the playful part of the process as the scrim creates beautiful gestural marks on the Tetra Pak surface,” she says. “It’s very organic and intuitive, making each print unique despite using the same plate.”

Set on vintage and hand-painted papers, the resulting works feature a recurring house with a small door on the bottom right, a chimney, and an oversized bird perched on the roof. While the ink colors and images change, the central structure remains constant and evokes the homes of Stubb’s native Holmfirth, a small town nestled in the Holme Valley. The land’s steep elevation means that many houses are built on angles, with their backyards at window-level rather than ground. “The beauty of this is when you’re sitting in your back garden, you enjoy breathtaking views over your rooftop,” the artist says, sharing:

‘Ova tops,’ to be said in broad Yorkshire tones, you can see a bird’s eye view of the Holme Valley and Black Hill, part of the Peak District and the rough fringe of Saddleworth Moor, a view that’s become a comforting touchstone and one I never tire of. I wanted my printmaking to illustrate the character of the homes embedded into this landscape, along with the birds which sit on their stone rooftops mulling over life below.

Stubbs has finished 36 of the 100 prints in the series, many of which she shares on Instagram along with glimpses into her process and studio. Shop available works on Etsy.





From Chicago to Detroit, Yashua Klos Presents Black Resilience, Defiance, and Tenderness

January 30, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a portrait of a woman bisected by blocks of wood

“You See Through It All” (2021), paper construction of woodblock prints and graphite on archival paper, 41 x 54.5 inches. All images © Yashua Klos, shared with permission

Chicago continues to rank among the most segregated cities in the United States, with Black and brown populations living across the south and west sides that lack the investment and resources of the white-dominated northern neighborhoods. Caused by more than a century’s worth of inequitable governance, redlining, and various forms of discrimination, this enduring racial separation has irrevocably shaped the city and its residents, impacting those who came to the area during the Great Migration and those who call it home still today. It’s often said that the history of Chicago is also the history of segregation.

This infamous legacy is an essential component of Yashua Klos’s evolution as an artist. “I’m from the city of Chicago, and Chicago’s urban planning was designed for segregation, to separate Black and white,” he shares with Colossal. “That segregation is baked into the ‘redlining’ housing ownership policies and the geography of the city.”


A photo of a collaged portrait of a man with blocks bisecting his face

“Your Strength Is In Your Shadow” (2021), paper construction of woodblock prints and graphite on archival paper, 41.5 x 51 inches

Now based in the Bronx, Klos frequently reflects on his hometown and brings the gridded structure of its streets into his works. A 2021 solo show at UTA Artist Space exhibited portraits bisected by angular blocks textured like wood, brick, and cinder, allowing fragments of the uniform roadways to emerge through facial features. “In art history, the grid is a kind of tool for optical democracy. There’s no visual hierarchy in a grid—you can enter any space at any time. So, I’m interested in that grid’s proposal of democracy and how that’s failed Black folks, especially where I’m from and how Chicago is constructed,” he says.

The collaged portraits evoke the ways identities are an amalgam of both genetics and surrounding influences. They mimic three-dimensional forms that surface from the flat plane of the paper, and Klos portrays the subjects as breaking free from constraint or relying on the structure for support. “I’m considering Black folks who are forming a defiant sense of self in order to survive in an often unjust environment. This is why these head forms often appear built of construction materials and suggest that they are sculptures or even monuments,” the artist writes, referencing the art historical use of statues and portraits to convey value and respect.


A wood-like rendering of an upturned hand holding blue flowers

“Vein Vine” (2021), paper construction of woodblock prints, graphite, spray paint, and Japanese rice paper on stretched canvas, 84 x 60 inches

While Klos spent his upbringing in Chicago, his father’s family has ties to Detroit, particularly the car industry and Ford plant where many relatives worked. Like his portraiture, the artist’s woodblock prints of singular, upturned hands allow this personal history to converge with broader themes of familial love and political resilience. The appendages grasp botanicals native to Michigan and blocks floating nearby as they deny “work in order to hold flowers,” he says. “Here, I’ve found (an) opportunity to explore themes of nurturing, tenderness, generosity, and self-care.”

To explore an archive of Klos’s works, visit his site and Instagram


A photo of a framed collage of a hand grasping blue flowers

“Your Roots Hold On To You” (2022), paper construction of woodblock prints on muslin and Japanese rice paper, acrylic paint on paper, 60 x 75.5 inches

A photo of a colalged portrait of a man with wood blocks bisecting his face

“You Built Your Shelter From Shadows” (2021), paper construction of woodblock prints and graphite on archival paper, 42 x 50.5 inches

A photo of a collaged hand holding blue flowers

“We Hold The Wildflowers”

A photo of a collage of a hand holding blocks

“Diagram of How She Hold It All Together” (2021), paper construction of woodblock prints and graphite on archival Japanese rice paper, 52 x 53 inches




A Series of Meticulously Carved Panels Combine Layers of Color to Make Tugboat Printshop’s ‘River’ Woodcut

December 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

All images © Tugboat Printshop

Woodland creatures peek out from behind tree trunks, and a stream of water rushes through a dense, forested landscape in Valerie Lueth’s latest woodcut for Tugboat Printshop (previously). “River” uses four intricately carved panels layered into a composition of overlapping, vivid color. Currently a work in progress and nearing completion, the detailed scene features intricate foliage and a smattering of stars throughout the sky and landscape.

To create the nocturnal setting, Lueth began by meticulously carving the surface of a “key block” using knives and gouging tools to create an overview of the entire composition. She then transferred the full scene to three additional panels in gray ink and filled in sections with marker to delineate which areas should be carved and where different pigments would be applied. Printed in succession, each block will provide a puzzle-like piece of the final print.

“River” is available for pre-order on the Tugboat Printshop website, and you can follow more updates on Instagram.


An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

Two process images of making an intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.


An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.



Art Design

Thousands of Used Tea Bags Assemble in Ruby Silvious’s Delicate Full-Size Garments

December 2, 2022

Kate Mothes

A child's dress made from tea bags.

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

When we steep a cup of tea, we typically toss out the bag once it has served up its brew, but for Ruby Silvious, this humble sachet provides the basis for a distinctive artistic practice. Known for her miniature paintings that use tea bags as canvases, she has expanded her use of the material by employing it as a fabric for larger-scale works that are inspired by her family history and an interest in fashion. “It gives me a chance to do large scale work, the antithesis to my miniature paintings,” she tells Colossal. “It’s only natural that my art has always been inspired by fashion. My maternal grandmother was a brilliant seamstress. I was only 20 years old when I migrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, and my very first job was at Bergdorff Goodman in New York City.”

Silvious began making garments in 2015, spurred by an ongoing fascination with the various methods of printing, staining, and assembling the deconstructed segments together. “I have accumulated bins of used tea bags,” she says, “not just from my own consumption but also from friends and family who have generously contributed to my growing collection.” She has made more than ten full-size kimonos, each requiring up to 800 used bags to complete. Pieces in her most recent series, Dressed to a Tea, average approximately 75 to 125 sachets, each one emptied out, flattened, and ironed before being glued together into shirts, slips, or child-size dresses. “Some tea bag pieces have monoprints on them, and the simpler designs are assembled with plain or slightly stained, used tea bags, giving them a more delicate and fragile look,” she explains.

A number of pieces from Dressed to a Tea will be on view in a weeklong exhibition at Ceres Gallery in New York from December 5 to 10. Her work will also be featured in a solo exhibit at the Ostfriedsisches Teemuseum in Norden, Germany, from March 4 to April 29, 2023. You can find more of Silvious’s work on her website and Instagram.


A shirt made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.

Slips made out of tea bags.

Two images of a kimono made from tea bags, shown front and back. A child's dress made out of tea bags.

Two dresses made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.




Delicately Carved Wood Engravings Are Transformed into Dreamlike Paintings by Matt Roussel

November 3, 2022

Kate Mothes

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel featuring a face in the silhouette of a cat with flowers and a snake.

All images © Matt Roussel, shared with permission

Characterized by the use of specialized tools called burins, gravers, or gouges to carve thin, elegant lines, wood engraving developed in the late 18th century to produce more precise detail than earlier techniques. For French artist Matt Roussel, the linear forms created on the surface of linoleum or wood are just as compelling as the prints that can be made from them. In his series of mounted printing blocks, he highlights the curving textures of lilies sprouting from a scarab beetle or leaves emanating from the body of a trotting horse.

Roussel first sketches directly onto the material and then carefully guides the gouge to produce markings that he likens to brushstrokes. While he often prints black-and-white multiples from the engravings, he began adding acrylic paint to the reliefs and presenting them as original artworks in their own right. Inspired by mythology and ancient motifs, he focuses on connections between culture and nature. “Whether it’s mountains, clouds, plants, and animals, I like to mix all these elements to tell or symbolize stories,” he tells Colossal, describing the painted panels as windows to an imagined realm. “Our world is beautiful, provided you know how to see it from this angle.”

Roussel often has prints available for sale on his website, and you can find more on Instagram.


A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a scarab beetle with lilies.

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a magenta fish.

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a horse with leaves flowing off of its body.

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of two fish with flowers on their bodies.  A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a school of fish.  A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a blue beetle with flowers on its body.