Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
The reproductive system
The above image (and the previous one of John being rammed) are taken from a little book I bought in a charity shop yesterday, for 50p. This one has to be my immediate favourite, showing as it does, the apparent provision of a luxury by an agency or agencies unknown. I like the 17th century glass as well.
I looked at the book briefly, then thought it would be a good source of striking images which could be easily reproduced, then when I got it home I read the small print to find out that it had been printed in Amsterdam with the sole intent of being used as an image source for graphic artists. Good old Amsterdamers - they care little for copyright laws which must have elapsed about 400 years ago.
The page fell open on the 'charging ram' picture, just after John had posted his rambitions up, and I thought that this too was a piece of providence which could not go unheeded, so I scanned the picture.
Then - later last night - I found the the book had it's own CD ROM hidden in the back cover, which contains all the 272 images (European woodcuts) in high-resolution, for ease of use in either Mac or PC. DERRR!
I have - in one of several past lives - been a graphic designer, and I used to supplement my income whist at college by producing flyers etc. for local businesses such as hairdressers, and I spent three years in the 1970s being a layout artist for a printers here in Bath. I still cannot let nice, hard, black images go without hankering to reproduce them, even if there is no commercial gain to be had from it.
When I was a commercial artist, Letraset was the chosen method of typeface for all but calligraphers, and studio cameras with massive formats (6 x 6 and larger) were essential tools. I spent hours in a dark-room, bathed in red light, just to reproduce a black and white image such as the one above, and at the end of the day my fingers stank of bromide. It's amazing I had any sex-life at all in 1975.
When I was starting out at Art School, the standard insult to a poor painting student was, "Maybe you would be better off doing a graphics course". That one was used on me many times, and I ended up in sculpture.
Stanley Donwood (not his real name) is a mate of mine, and - together with another madman who shuns computer-graphics for lead-type and woodcut (he also shuns digital music in favour of vinyl) - produces many fine, Victorian-style posters and flyers to advertise the Gothic Horror books that he writes. He also designs all the album covers for Radiohead - not so Gothic.
I think I may end up donating this image-source to Stanley, but not before I have selected a few more from it. I have a mind to use the images as an inspiration for a series of short stories which vaguely relate to them. That's the trouble with us amateurs - we are always thinking of the title before writing the the other 30,000 words.