The Write A House project featured in the New York Times.


The Write A House project featured in the New York Times.

A couple of months back a good friend of mine, Toby Barlow, approached me about creating a limited edition poster for his Write A House project here in Detroit. This exciting project is based on the idea of taking the abandonment and blight in Detroit and turning it around by rebuilding neighborhoods. The article in the New York Times states that starting in April, a prestigious panel of writers and poets will review applications from literary authors, poets and journalists; winners will receive free houses.

The article further explains that writers will need to live in the renovated structures two years, pay modest fees ($500 monthly) for insurance and taxes, make low-cost interior improvements and participate in Write A House’s blog and literary readings.

I wanted to use this opportunity to further my exploration in wood carving, something that I don’t get as much of a chance to work in due to quick deadlines I have as an illustrator. I have posted here and in the Work section of my site the process shots of the carving process as well as the proof, or first print from the block. I wanted to make this a special artifact in both the wood carved printing block as well as the poster to be printed from the block.

I am honored that Toby asked me to participate in this worthwhile project, and I am excited to hear of who will be awarded these homes. I can't wait to see what great things they bring to my city.

If you are wondering how you can contribute to the Write A House project, please visit their site for more information.

This is one of the first proofs, or test prints of the final piece.

This is one of the first proofs, or test prints of the final piece.


Close up of the carved block.

Close up of the carved block.

My Detroit themed stickers making an appearance in the New York Times.

I have been working up a new series of Detroit themed cards and the like, and just the other day my gallery agent made me aware of my Detroit stickers having appeared in a photo from a New York Times article from a couple of days back about Detroit. I am in the process of hand printing another run of these, as well as add new designs to the overall mix. I will be working with my partners at Detroit Wood Type Co. in producing these new cards and other stationary.

Lovely decorations for a laptop. Love seeing how people use these things.  Photo- Fabrizio Constantini for the New York Times.

Lovely decorations for a laptop. Love seeing how people use these things.  Photo- Fabrizio Constantini for the New York Times.

The newest addition just carved and soon to be added to Detroit Wood Type Co.'s new line of stationary.

The newest addition just carved and soon to be added to Detroit Wood Type Co.'s new line of stationary.

I normally have been carving my typographical treatments and illustrations into linoleum up until most recently. I found that it is a very durable and inexpensive medium to work in, but the one drawback is that I don’t see it as a desirable artifact ultimately. This has led me to start carving my work into both end grain and long grain maple and cherry wood. It is a bit more difficult to carve, but I feel more confident that the end result will be a lot more archival. However one drawback to carving and engraving into wood is the potential for repetitive stress injury on my hands and wrists. It makes it so that simple things like typing this entry very miserable, but I have been working on pacing myself a bit better than in the recent past, and I am incorporating routine stretches while I work. In any case, I have found a medium that I truly enjoy exploring, and want to continue exploring in spite of the concerns that I may have for injuring my hands and wrists any further.

Carving in linoleum and wood teaches you so much on the level of muscle memory. I have heated up my linoleum in the past, but I find for myself that I tend to overdo it with carving too deep or carving too much away when I am trying to work out intricate areas of the carving. It isn’t as easy, but I don’t heat up my linoleum anymore because I feel it has taught me how much and how little pressure I need to have while carving with my tools. I feel that the experience carving with resistance has made it easier for me to better understand how to control my carving, and this has assisted me in speeding up my process.