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Smoke Portrait 3



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From an ongoing series of prints representing smoke as a personage or character, something with agency that pervades our environments and changes our relationships to the forest, its use and history of use, and to each other. I've been experimenting with handmade charcoal ink, from carbonized wood gathered in the scars of the catastrophic 2020 wildfires in Oregon. This is a three color print made with both that ink and a two-layer reduction of DayGlo inks.

Wildfire smoke has changed since the settlement of North America. Where once it was composed entirely of natural materials, smoke today contains the volatilized essences of everything we've built into and on top of the forests that this society has so harshly exploited: plastics, paints, tar, tires and everything else. It's a different animal. The smoke of yesteryear meant renewal, the yearly clearing out of undergrowth performed by first nations to shape and manage forests for particular uses. The smoke of today is a fugue of disaster, a sign of change and terror. What would it take for us to cherish smoke again?

Printed on a Vandercook 25 letterpress at Mullowney Studios in Portland, OR.

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