Zenga Studios

These prints are created in at least three equally demanding phases. I. With enormous concentration and varying size Asian animal-hair brushes in both hands at once, the figure is brushed onto rice paper in calligraphic strokes in under 30 seconds with eyes on the live model, not the page. When I look down, I see a creature on the page whose life seems to have sprung from beyond me.

II. Perhaps one prime image out of sixty from such a painting session is chosen and scanned at high resolution. In the case of the siren prints, an additional series of fish prints was developed, then combined in photoshop, but original brushstrokes are not altered. This creative process results in many variations, twists and turns before a final image is tweaked to satisfaction, ever-mindful of color, space, and content. I find that meaning makes itself, although I encourage the image to go beyond its origins, seeing where it wants to go, being willing to destroy what I have created to find something bigger.

III. A proof is printed and paper suitability and printed colors are evaluated and reconsidered. As many as ten proofs are sometimes run to find just the right paper to bring life to the inks for this image in particular, and just the right pallette (sometimes difficult to regulate between monitor color and printed color). Occassionally, there are happy accidents, more often, there is tedious detail work.

This physical world has no two things alike.
Every comparison is awkwardly rough.

You can put a lion next to a man,
but the placing is hazardous to both.

Say the body is like a lamp.
It has to have a wick and oil. Sleep and food.
If it doesn't get those, it will die,
and it's always burning those up, trying to die.

But where is the sun in this comparison?
It rises, and the lamp's light
mixes with the day.
which is the reality, cannot be understood
with lamp and sun images. The blurring
of a plural into a unity is wrong.

No image can describe
what of our fathers and mothers,
our grandfathers and grandmothers, remains.

Language does not touch the one
who lives in each of us. -Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)