black and red. ink on paper. an experimental series
i've been experimenting with a unique opaque black ink called Acee's Witches Brew for many years, however for a long time i kept the results private because of the nature of the work i made with it. described as kettle-cooked-secret-recipe-cage-free-cold-reversed-filtered19x-aged-to-perfection ink, each jar comes with a dauber/ ink brush included, which is the only way i use it; its strengths are the textures and expressive strokes the ink & dauber combo make possible, which leads me to an abstract expressionism type of realm when i use it. this kind of art for me is completed quickly, fueled by emotion, motion and aesthetic but doesn't necessarily exhibit artistic 'skill' as they are quick strikes, never embellished. basically, i figured people wouldn't get it, saying 'that's not art' upon seeing this type of work by me, so i kept it private for a long time & just did it on the side here and there. however, after so many years of working in the strictly brightly multicolored palette the bulk of my art is characterized by, i sought balance in my portfolio and went further down the rabbit hole with my black ink based explorations. i was pleasantly surprised when there was a positive response to the style once i debuted it on my Instagram ("a little recognition makes me do better gladly" - Open Mike Eagle, haha truth) which increased my confidence to continue down the path. for years i messed around with just the Witches Brew black by itself on a variety of surfaces; eventually i would integrate other colors but never was quite in love with the results, until i started adding hits of translucent Blazing Red Flowpen ink by On The Run.
while you'll see my work with Witches Brew all over this site, especially the main gallery, this post is highlighting a specific blackbook/sketchbook i completed recently which i call the no bleed palpitation papers. after messing around with the ink on a wide span of surfaces, (clayboard, gessoboard, the canvas-textured artist boards, canvas paper and more) i started using it on Render No Show Thru Paper, a bleed-proof paper that you can use hardcore inks and paints on without bleeding through to the next page. while some of the supplies i use look muddled on this paper, the Witches Brew works great on it - the dauber faces resistance on paper more so than on a smooth board surface, so the process can be extended a bit. i went strictly black for these ink on paper works for a while, and then went back to trying to integrate additional color. i eventually found the prime combination when i started using On The Run's Flowpen Ink up against the Witches Brew. while a more hard-staining, higher quality ink like say translucent Krink would overpower & muddle the black ink it would be going over, the Flowpen ink is mild enough to complement it. i've tried other color variants, but the best combination is still the Blazing Red, which for these i apply in an Art Primo finer-nibbed marker. more after the jump, but first here is the full blackbook presented as a slideshow, in the exact order they were made in. you can observe the progression of the experimentation best that way; i messed around with the levels of negative space on the page and the amount of red ink added to explore the aesthetic.
though all of my more 'official' work (ink & paint on boards or frames) is made while listening to music for most if not all of the artistic process, my more casual work on paper like this is typically done later at night once i've retired the record player & tapedeck and have the television on, halfway paying attention. when i first developed this style, however, i was doing quick black ink pieces like this to specific albums/tracks, and there's a rhythm to how these pages are all created that is almost musical in itself - also, i would argue that anything i do is supercharged by the music i'm constantly listening to, regardless of if i'm playing it at that exact moment of creating a piece. i'm constantly listening to and absorbing such a multitude of records that any art i'm making is bound to have a deep musical foundation. i like to percolate ideas abstractly in the subconscious, eventually working them out in the inks one way or another, so while i can create a piece to just one specific song, the dozens i rocked prior will also have their effect on it in some kind of intangible way. adding the red ink extended the process, which i carried over to boards with varying results; i'm currently most focused on black ink work like this but on smooth boards which i slice up with an engraving tool/ scratch knife but i also have another no-show pad like this with which i'm alternating each page between strictly black ink vs. black & red. i've also been using the dauber with a different ink and paper combo, so as always, there is much more to come!