The Linocut


The lino-cut offers the printmaker a range of scale limited only by the size of printing press available. It has a distinct character that can be exploited in many ways while still retaining a uniqueness of its own. The technique I use when cutting a block has moved away from the general practice of tracing a drawing onto the block and then meticulously cutting around the shapes. With an aim of retaining a freedom of expression that responds to the material I treat the lino surface as a blank sheet onto which I can draw, using the cutting tool as freely as I would with a pencil or piece of charcoal on a sheet of paper. This method of working still necessitates the development and production of an original drawing as a reference but allows me the freedom to interpret the marks on paper and translate them into marks on the lino surface dictated by the material. As a material dictates a method, ones experience in life dictates certain interests when it comes to applying images to paper. Living in London and having spent my childhood in Rotherhithe alongside the Thames, when the docks were in their heyday, sailing on the Thames and maintaining a wooden boat, all contribute to images that I collect, am drawn to and attempt to convey in a visual form. My recent research into family history has taken me back 200 years and then forward again through the history of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, a history that was implicit to the river and its commerce. This journey has been enhanced by the many fine prints and photographs that capture a moment and also convey the changes through time. In itself a valid function of art.

Graham Smith