Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Sean StarWars discusses viking ships and chimp attacks
Strange sights in Vegas are not uncommon, so the colorful characters created by Mississippi-based artist Sean StarWars fit right in. His woodcut prints, currently on show at Blackbird Studios, feature sailor chimps, guitar-playing goats, girls in bondage and many references to popular culture.
StarWars gave a talk at the gallery where he described his approach to making work. "You get better every day that you draw. You become more capable. As soon as you stop doing it, you become worse". In line with this attitude, and in addition to teaching, he is on target with a current project of producing one woodcut per week for an entire year, then the following year intends to motivate himself further to produce one smaller-scale woodcut per day.
StarWars believes in the importance of first learning the techniques and traditions of printmaking, then discarding those which could restrict the development of a fresh, experimental process. With a longtime association with The Outlaw Printmakers, StarWars enjoys working on projects which push contemporary printmaking into new territory. One such project spearheaded by artist Dennis McNett at the Southern Graphics Council Conference in Philadelphia, 2010, involved the construction of a viking ship which was pasted with prints by StarWars and others, then pushed through the streets with a heavy metal drummer inside, and finally demolished by the crowd who walked off with the prints as trophies.
The graphic nature of woodcuts allows a strong narrative to come through in the work, and StarWars has developed this in his larger-scale multi-color prints. Magazine advertising has been a source of inspiration in the past, but like many other artists, StarWars now makes use of the wealth of material available on the internet. His current fascination is with former NASCAR driver St James Davis who was mauled by escaped chimps in an animal sanctuary. We can look forward to a new chimp series by StarWars.
"If I live till I'm 60, I'm going to be making prints till I'm 60, unless a chimp bites my hands off".