Reductive Linoleum Block Prints
Dave Lefner takes pictures of architectural images of the city and turns them into works of art with linoleum block printing.
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Picasso did a series in the '50s, and now Dave Lefner is doing it. It is the process of reductive linoleum block printing, and he’s using it to put his own spin on the urban landscape of Los Angeles. He begins by taking pictures of old signage, old neon or any architectural images throughout the city that catch his eye, which he then turns into works of art. His commissioned pieces range in size from two feet by three feet to just shy of one-foot squares.
Lefner makes a freehand sketch from the photos. He transfers this sketch to charcoal on paper, which is in turn adhered to the top of the linoleum sheet he uses for printing. Then he mixes the inks that he will use for each piece. He carves the linoleum, creating the image in reverse for printing. The lightest parts of the final image make the first layer of carving. After the first layer is carved, ink is rolled out, the paper is placed on top of it, and it rolls through the press. The paper is removed, and the linoleum is once again carved. These elements are what will make the next color appear; again after carving, the piece is inked with the next color and run through the press.
Each layer is carved onto the same piece of linoleum, making this a hugely labor-intensive process, until the last layer is reached. This will show the linoleum as a mostly deteriorated piece, and leave behind the darkest color of the four to six layers Lefner prints. The piece is framed and makes a strikingly colorful and photo-realistic image. Lefner was drawn to this process because it restored the artist to the "proper role of artisan," and his works are art that people enjoy and are proud to own.
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