In case you missed it live at the heliumcowboy gallery or on TV last Sunday - here's the full video from the clubkinder artist talk with me, which was held on January 22 at our gallery. I was interviewed by Jannes Vahl, founder of the social organization clubkinder e.V., which supports social projects in Hamburg. Jörg donated one of his trademark Alex Diamond-photodrawings (see here), which was auctioned for the benefit of Sport ohne Grenzen e.V., a youth basketball project in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg.
Here is part 2 with the Q&A by the auditorium:
Here‘s is a new direction in my woodcuts - an open series with various themes and formats, with technique and colors as the one thing in common. The pigmenting and painting of these works resembles old russian icon paintings, and while I am not pursuing any religious ideas here, the golden, vintage look and the choice of iconic characters is a main theme.
Looking at these images in this portfolio, please consider that my work is always rather difficult to document - woodcuts are so much harder to reduce to a Jpeg than a painting or drawing. They are simply never just „flat“ - it is the carving that gives them depth and a very special feel. Even my very own coloring techniques are so hard to see if you are just looking at the pieces on a screen.
It is again very true for this new line of work I am currently creating. These russion-icon-like small-format-heavily-worked-on-blocks-of-wood I am currently creating. They all are rather small, and I love running my fingers over the surfaces of them. They feel almost ancient, and they look different from every angle, and the light changes them depending on where you stand. Or hold them in your hands.
It is a beautiful experience. Well, at least it is a unique experience.
Believe me, I find the process of photographing them and uploading them to the internet pretty frustrating. So much gets lost.
You all should be able to see the originals, feel them, touch them. My work is a very haptic and sensual experience, one that I would love to share with all of you…
PS: These works are available through Galerie Wolfsen .
„Encounter at 4 am“ is a woodcut built from 6 layers in total, and it‘s the deepest I have created to date. It takes us far into a forest for what appears to be a rather unusual encounter between a hunter and some kind of mythical animal, resembling a man and his responsibilities in life. You could say that there are elements of inner conflict, of patience, hesitation, surprise and tension perceptible in the meeting of the two parties.
This encounter in the depth of the woods takes place in the very early hours, when the day still seems to be full of innocence and opportunity. Being an early bird myself, with my days often starting some time between 4 and 5 in the morning, I appreciate the solitude and tranquility of these moments before the world wakes up for its daily grind. It is a time you truly have to yourself. Thoughts spin slower and with more depth. Energy levels are fully charged but only used ... delicately. Creativity arises, ideas are born, but everything‘s still a bit dreamy in a softly distorted way. It is an excellent time for decision making, albeit in a rather lighthearted and slightly irrational way.
A rather lighthearted series of three (individual) woodcuts, “The Great Outdoors” shows my deep respect for nature and wildlife as well as my desire to travel the countryside and enjoy nature’s wonders. Relaxing in in front of a crackling campfire with a few beers, a guitar and my family or my best friends is probably the closest I will ever get to so-called ‘Wellness’-activities.
These woodcuts are the outlook you have from the edge of a forest. However, these works are not just postcard images. The added warnings, albeit in an aesthetically freely interpreted version, are reminiscent of the various safety information signs in a National Park. Here, they are comments on current social behaviour … which I guess I won’t have to elaborate any further on. I am sure you’ll get the idea.
More detail images below.
Artists: Van Arno, atak, Anthony Ausgang, Dan Barry, Jana Brike, Chris Buzelli, John Casey, Victor Castillo, Paul Chatem, Brendan Danielsson, Danielle de Picciotto, Alex Diamond, Mark Elliott, Charles Glaubitz, Benjamin Güdel, Thorsten Hasenkamm, Gregory Hergert, Ryan Heshka, Femke Hiemstra, Charlie Immer, Gregory Jacobsen, Boje Arndt Kiesiel, Susanne König, Craig LaRotonda, Elmar Lause, Sean Lewis, Jon MacNair, moki, Sergio Mora, Heiko Müller, Thorsten Passfeld, Anthony Pontius, Bene Rohlmann, Wolfgang Sangmeister, Marcus Schäfer, Allison Sommers, Fred Stonehouse, Marco Wagner.
My new catalogue/book is here, fresh from the printers, featuring my woodcuts and some rare drawings I created over the past 2 years, as well as some personal annotations to a couple of the artworks. This catalogue is 60 color pages strong (300g/m soft cover, 135g/m inside), 21 x 29 cm large, and will be published in a very limited edition only.
There are only 250 hand-numbered copies, and if you wish to secure your edition you can order now through the heliumcowboy online shop. Each copy is 12 € and I will sign all copies purchased online. Visit this link to order now.
It has been a while since I last published a book (2011/2012), so it was about time you can get your hands on some printed paper from me. Here's a preview of what you'll get, I hope you like it.
This work, created over a stretch of four weeks in October 2015, is one of my so-called ‘sculptural multi-layered woodcuts’: it is built up from several layers of wood and combines my trademark woodwork & woodcarving craft with specially developed painting and pigmenting techniques as well as the application of semi-translucent resin in some parts.
“The Milkman Of Human Kindness”, the title of the work, quotes a song by artist Billy Bragg from 1983. During the creation of the work, the song subconsciously crawled back into my head. I listened to it a lot during the punk-driven early 80ies back in school; I wholeheartedly admired Billy Bragg for his straightforward music and his strong political attitude.
My work however is not about punk. The song (for me at least) has always been about compassion and about being there for someone who is having a bad time. Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth criticizes her husband for being too compassionate with the words: “Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness“, and this expression has since been used as a paraphrase for the care and compassion for others. And taking this (freely) a stepfurther: If there is such a thing as the milk of human kindness, there may as well be a milkman delivering it to your doorstep, right?
And this is what my work is about. I will not go and explore this in writing too deeply here, because that can easily become an evening-long talk I hope to have with many people personally. While I actually tell a story with every work I create, you may see different angles and aspects in it that I don’t want to take away from you by elaborating on theartwork already too much beforehand. It is important to me as an artist that the viewer has every opportunity to explore my work independently.
What I will say though is that for me, nature (bear, mountains) and technology (telegraph poles) are an integral part of this piece. There is a huge conflict between the two, mainly in the struggle we’re living to try and find harmony (or balance) between both. While I am not necessarily aiming at the environmental issue here, in my work this struggle is rather a symbol for the larger battles humanity is currently fighting, most presently in the terrible wars that result in people losing their home and having to flee their countries to save their lives and those of their families.
I have been using the bear many times in my work before. You may say that it has become some kind of spirit animal to me and it definitely has significance as to my role within my own loving and caring family. Which is not the point, really, but may explain the importance of the imagery of the sleeping animal for the understanding of the artwork.
I hope I haven’t said too much, and didn’t confuse you either. I wish you will enjoy “The Milkman Of Human Kindness” as much as I did creating it.
If you are sleeping, I will wait
If your bed is wet, I will dry your tears
I love you, I am the milkman
Of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint
Jörg Heikhaus (aka Alex Diamond), October 2015
Below are some details from the work, and here you can find images from the work in progress
Sometimes I manage to document my work process properly while I am creating a new piece. Currently I am making a new and complex, multi-layered woodcut. I am posting progress pictures continuously on my instagram account (@alexxxdiamond) - please feel free to follow me if that is something you might be interested in seeing.
Some work in progress pictures, to be continued (on instagram):
For a change I was taking sharp blades to paper instead of wood, my standard medium. As a result, these new little pieces are a combination of papercut and ink drawings. The distance between the front drawing and the spaypainted background creates visual depth that allows for shadows … and whatever is lurking inside of them.
Rich paper and black ink and golden acrylic paint, a few detailed works of a smaller kind (31 x 23 cm / 12 x 9 inches), drawn while I was traveling the Atlantic Coast in the west of France this summer. Words from songs that mean something to me, and probably to you, just google the titles, they're not hard to find.