» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

April 30, 2010
"[I] just had the pleasure of spending 12 days working with Aaron Horkey, who is possibly my favorite living illustrator, and one of the nicer and more interesting folks on the planet," wrote illustrator and printmaker Jay Ryan earlier this week of his latest work. LAS readers are already well acquainted with Ryan, the subject of an LAS feature on his art book 100 Posters 134 Squirrels, and though Horkey's persona is decidedly less visible on the web his illustration work for various skateboard companies and rock bands is no less revered.

The print, a massive collaboration titled VERSUS, is a study in the elaborate detail possible with serigraphy, that Ryan describes as "based on drawings which Aaron and I had each done individually, ahead of time, which we compiled and laid out for screenprinting without using computers." Considering the degree of difficulty, going unplugged for such a detailed setup would be no small feat for your run of the mill designer.

A detailed view of the original illustrations in the set-up process.

"The image depicts a giant pangolin, two adult brontotherium, and a brototherium calf in front of a billowing cloud of dust," Ryan says of the image. Like his famed frozen mammoths, pangolins and brontotheriums are just a few of the various creatures that populate Ryan's universe, which is also inhabited by more familiar but no less exotic beasts like bicycling bears and fish, literate cats, shark-weilding gorillas, film-projecting donkeys, skateboarding armadillos and suicidal squirrels.

Along with his role in the post-rock band Dianogah, Ryan is something of a Jedi in the screen printing world (he talks about "the behavior of paper grain direction" when considering how to roll posters for shipping), and Horkey is known for creating the kind of wildly intricate designs and hand lettering not often seen in modern times. Novice printmakers can only stare in wild-eyed dismay at the mesh-clogging fine lines of Horkey's prints, like that poster for HBO's Aussie comedians Flight of the Conchords or the beautiful banner for hard rockers Isis and Baroness.

Horkey's fine-point work and Ryan's printing prowess yeild tight details.

To say that VERSUS is elaborate is to risk drastic understatement. "In the end, we printed 25 screens," Ryan said upon the poster's release this week. Doing the math that comes to 5500 passes. Had the two gone completely old-school their arms would have been aching, but lucky for them Ryan's studio is outfitted with automated pulling machines.

Two-dozen-plus Screens:

1) sky/stripes
2) sky/stripes
3) background light blue cloud flood
4) brontotherium yellow flood
5) background cloud blue shadow
6) pangolin orange flood
7) brontotherium shadow texture
8) pangolin shadown
9) grey foreground cloud flood
10) sky trans overprint
11) lighter grey foregound cloud shadow
12) brontotherium shadow flood
13) brontotherium highlight flood
14) brontotherium highlight texture
15) background cloud highlight
16) tongues
17) pangolin highlight flood
18) pangolin highlight texture
19) background cloud second highlight
20) highlight foreground dust
21) key plate background cloud
22) key plate pangolin
23) key plate foreground cloud
24) key plate brontotherium & grass
25) key plate dark shadows & grass

The sixteenth screen was literally just a couple of pink dots, for tongues. After the twenty-second screen Ryan proclaimed, "shit just got real, dudes."

Ryan documented the creation process on the popular screenprinting hub GigPosters.com, and it went a little something like THIS.

When the dust settled there were three finished editions, plus the proofs. Ryan lays out the VERSUS inventory and pricing thusly:

The paper is approximately 29.75" wide, by 12.875" tall. We printed on 90# Stonehenge printmaking paper, color fawn. All prints are signed by myself and Aaron.

1) The regular edition is 130 pieces, of which 120 are available. They are numbered 1-130/130. These will cost $300.

2) There is an edition printed on the same Stonehenge paper, but in the color 'natural'. These prints were cut fractionally smaller than the regular edition, by roughly 0.25" in each dimension. This is the exact same print as the rest, but these 20 prints have the title ("versus") hand-drawn in pencil by Aaron, with flanking brontotherium busts drawn in pencil by me. Obviously, since these are drawn by hand, there is some variation in their appearance. These prints are numbered 1-20/20. Twelve will be for sale for $600 each.

3) There is an edition of 60 prints (on fawn color paper) for the bird machine subscribers, numbered VSE 1-60/60. These have already been committed to the current subscribers.

4) There are 10 artists' proofs (on fawn color paper), numbered AP 1-10/10. These will be kept by myself and Aaron.

The print has been for sale since Monday (April 26th). As noted, not all of the prints are available to the general buying public, so collectors or anyone else interested in claiming one are advised to act quickly. Both Ryan and Horkey's prints routinely sell out of their limited editions.

SEE ALSO: www.thebirdmachine.com
SEE ALSO: www.deadartspublishing.com
SEE ALSO: www.rockofeye.net/artists/aaron-horkey

Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other articles by Eric J Herboth.



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