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The Dirty Hands Of Alex Diamond: Release exhibition

The Dirty Hands Of Alex Diamond meet the REAL dirty hands of Alex Diamond ...

We successfully launched THE DIRTY HANDS OF ALEX DIAMOND, the limited edition artist beer I created with Oliver Wesseloh from Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei in Hamburg - you can read the story behind it here

I embedded the presentation of the beer into a small solo exhibition at the heliumcowboy gallery, combining some brand new, never seen before woodworks with other important pieces of mine. The exhibition is on display until October 29, Thursday–Saturday 2–7 PM (Bäckerbreitergang 75, 20355 Hamburg).

You can purchase the limited edition beer box directly at at heliumcowboy or in the galleries' online store.  

Below are some images from this exhibition and from the fantastic night of the opening (by Frank Meyer, jumpallintheair.com).

 

THE EXHIBITION

 THE LAUNCH PARTY

The Dirty Hands Of Alex Diamond

This is so special. I cannot emphasize enough how stoked I am about this collaboration: My very first beer is about to hit the shelves: THE DIRTY HANDS OF ALEX DIAMOND will be launched October 13 (more info about the event here).

A couple of few years ago I was introduced to Oliver Wesseloh. A veteran brewmaster and a pioneer in a crisp young Craft Beer scene that just started to develop in Europe, he opened his own brewery Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei in Hamburg. It was one of the first truly independent small breweries in Germany. For some time now I was looking for like-minded people and craft beer experts, because I considered to open "The Alex Diamond Brewing Company" ... and that is how I met Olli. 

160726_ARTISTBEER_DIRTYHANDS_BRAUEN_4446.jpg

We shared a common passion. Not just for beer. Also for the arts. And for traditional craftsmanship, which we both take pride in excercizing in our professions. So I quickly tossed the idea of opening my own brewery and Olli and I started to make plans to collaborate and blend both our talents on very special projects. 

The first result is now bottled and labeled. THE DIRTY HANDS OF ALEX DIAMOND is s strong and powerful "Workman's Porter". Olli and I created the recipe last year, we tested and improved it along the way, and finally started brewing this summer. Of course, there is his craft and my craft. We combined Olli's experience and professionalism as not only a master brewer but also as the World Champion of Beer Sommeliers with .. well, the things I do and know best. Our goal was to make a beer that is inspired by my art, and where the artist is not only involved in designing a lovely label but also in creating and producing the beer. 

Jointly, side by side, we got our hands dirty. 

 

Ah. Yes. The name. Well:

Many years ago I was asked by the editor of an international art magazine to describe my motivation, my work ethics, and how I would explain it to my kids. I told her this:

"Be true. Be honest. Do it with passion or don't do it at all. And always get your hands dirty."

I believe Oliver and I share this approach. When we sat down to think about what kind of beer we want to make, it was very important for him to capture my art and the energy and relentlessness we bot put into our work.  

It is a lot to ask from a drink made from water, grain and hops. But I believe we achieved much in this first collaboration (yes, this is just the beginning).

 

There is more to it obviously than "just" the beer. We will launch a limited edition 6-pack box with a super fine screenprint of the label artwork. 11 colors on 24 x 18 cm - a task for the fabulous Dolly Demoratti and her mad print shop motherdrucker.de. And I will also publish one of my very rare woodblock prints on the occasion of the launch of the beer. The last one I did was in 2013!! This one is a beast, a five-color hand-pressed edition of 20.

We will launch the beer at the heliumcowboy gallery October 13, from 6-10 pm. We will also launch the boxed edition with the small screenprint (single bottles will hit the stores November 1st) and publish the larger woodblock print that night.

 

If you cannot make it to this event, you can of course get in touch with us and order both:

You can order the beer box and the print in the heliumcowboy online shop.

 

 

Prost!

Jörg Heikhaus aka Alex Diamond

Order the limited edition beer box online by clicking on this image.

Order the limited edition beer box online by clicking on this image.

Here's a look at the woodblock print edition of The Dirty Hands Of Alex Diamond: Edition 20 hand-pressed, 5-color prints on handmade Okashi paper (Size: print 40 x 30 cm, paper 61 x 45,5 cm). Check out the heliumcowboy online shop (click image), it will be available there Thursday, October 13, at noon.  

Here's a look at the woodblock print edition of The Dirty Hands Of Alex Diamond: Edition 20 hand-pressed, 5-color prints on handmade Okashi paper (Size: print 40 x 30 cm, paper 61 x 45,5 cm). Check out the heliumcowboy online shop (click image), it will be available there Thursday, October 13, at noon.  

 

PS: Below are some images from brewing the beer ... 

 

 

The Darwinist | new woodcut

Alex Diamond: The Darwinist (2016)
woodcut, acrylic paint, 63 x 36,5 x 5,5 cm (24,8” x 14,4” x 2,2”)

Let me introduce you to ‚The Darwinist‘, a strong-minded, slightly aggressive yet humble and thoughtful Wooden Being ... best spotted in the early mornings. when the air is crisp and clean. Living in the outdoors, far away from civilization but strongly connected to mankind. 

First in a new line of sculptural woodcuts, this work can be mounted on a wall or placed free-standing. It consists of 2 parts that are easy to assemble - just slide the character into the base.

For the exhibition "MENSCHTIERWIR", curated by Elmar Lause at Affenfaust Galerie in Hamburg.
October 7 – November 11, 2016. Vernissage October 7, 8 PM.

Temptation and Sin | new woodcut dyptich

Alex Diamond: Gefaellt 775 Mal (2016)
Acrylfarbe auf Holzschnitt, 32 x 45 x 5 cm | Instagram users @miss_sophie_photography @laurakokinowa

A new pair of woodcuts for „#gefaelltdas“, my ongoing series of small format woodcuts... another framed dyptich. 

It will be shown at an international group exhibition organized by art project Curator19.90 in Beirut this October, curated by Rasmus E. Fischer (Galerie Wolfsen).

The Instagram screenshots I turned into woodcuts are inspired by the users @miss_sophie_photography and @laurakokinowa ... please check out the profiles and follow these great ladies!

The work is available through Galerie Wolfsen, please get in touch with Rasmus if you are interested in these works

Along the banks of Rivers | woodcut

Alex Diamond: ALONG THE BANKS OF RIVERS (2016)
woodcut, acrylic paint, 50 x 70 x 3 cm (19.6” x 27.5” x 1.2”) 

A very simplified, abstract landscape carved into wood earlier this year. "Along The Banks Of Rivers" is the title of a Tortoise song from 1996. One of my all time favorite pieces of music, and the title for me bears also a significant autobiographical reference - all my life everything of real importance happened while living close to a river ... 

New Woodcut for series #gefaelltdas

Alex Diamond: Gefaellt 4.479 Mal (2016)
Acrylfarbe auf Holzschnitt, 32 x 45 x 5 cm | Instagram users @myladalbesio @insaanimal

Oh well. Here's finally another pair of my Instagram woodcuts from the series #gefaelltdas. But they're different from the other ones - on one hand, even though both individually are the standard size and all, they belong together and stand in a contextual relationship to each other (so it's a modern diptych). And on the other hand they are uniquely "framed". These frames though are an integral part of the work. I will explain if you ask, but maybe the work process images below already give you an idea. 

The Instagram screenshots I turned into woodcuts are by the users @myladalbesio @insaanimal

This work was first shown at the Millerntor Gallery #6 from July 14-17 in Hamburg. 

I never promised you a Rose Garden | woodcut

Alex Diamond: I never promised you a Rose Garden (2016)
Multi-layered woodcut, acrylic paint, ca. 80 x 60 x 11 cm (31,5” x 23,5” x 4,5”)

New 5-layered woodcut, created March–April 2016:

Alex Diamond: I never promised you a Rose Garden (2016)
Multi-layered woodcut, acrylic paint, ca. 80 x 60 x 11 cm (31,5” x 23,5” x 4,5”)

Background

When it comes to superheroes, at some point I will always come back to The Incredible Hulk, whom I‘ve used as a reference in my woodcuts for a few times already over the past years. For me personally there are so many angles to the big green fella that I am sure you will see him appear again in my future woodworks.

Alex Diamond: I never promised you a Rose Garden (2016)
Multi-layered woodcut, acrylic paint, ca. 80 x 60 x 11 cm (31,5” x 23,5” x 4,5”)

But as with most of the figurative elements in my work, I am using the Hulk mostly for his symbolic values: he is torn, powerful, unpredictable, unstable, and in constant soul-searching for the reasons for his being - all strong references to life itself and the daily struggles we often deal with. 

However, in this work ... the Hulk is looking down into the golden light that shines from the bluff he is sitting on, and he is ... smiling. Ever so slightly, just a smirk that you only see when standing close to the artwork - but a happy smile it is. It appears that he has made his peace.   

For some background trivia: There are two very popular „quotes“ in this woodcut: the Hulk‘s posture resembles Auguste Rodin‘s „The Thinker“, and the title derives from the famous country song „(I never promised you a) Rose Garden“. 

The reference to the sculpture is mainly about visual familiarity, putting the Hulk into a less violent and non-agressive environment. All despite the fact that „The Thinker“ originally sits at Rodin‘s„Gates of Hell“ and is definitely not smiling. But he is however also more or less just an observer. 

The title from the Joe South country song „(I never promised you a) Rose Garden“ completes my composition and is to be taken pretty literally. Because like most good music, stories and paintings are about the one thing only, this woodcut is also just another love song.

Everything else regarding the stories within this work I am sure you will figure out easily enough ... 

#gefaelltdas | New series of 'Instagram' woodcuts

With my latest series of woodcuts, a new project I call '#gefaelltdas', I am exploring modern-day habits of interaction, (self-)reflection, perception and deception, borrowing the imagery as well as the values that we all have become so accustomed to through using Instagram. I am not criticizing social media, being a heavy user of mainly Instagram and Facebook myself. As an artist, curator, collector and gallery owner it has become a part of my daily routine to promote my work and even my lifestyle online.

continue reading below ...

For me creating art is also a very personal way to research and discover, to experiment and proof. It helps me to study and investigate life and the issues we interact with as humans, trying to satisfy my curiosity and to built (or develop) my ‚visual stories‘ upon my findings. I am mostly interested in the social and cultural aspects of the human habitat, and while some things may look supersimple and obvious to others, I have to dig in deep if something excites my ‚artistic instincts‘ until I am personally satisfied. 

With ‚#gefaelltdas‘ I am going down the path of interaction, perception and deception, borrowing the imagery that we all have become so accustomed to from Instagram. As with most of my work, during research I am setting some ground rules through iteration to achieve my results. These rules or guidelines are a way of outlining the work I will create in the studio afterwards, which it is a vital part of my sketching process.

For example in the first work of the series (see below) I was narrowing down the principles after which a certain kind of selfie is being composed: shot into a mirror with the smartphone covering the face. The awkward angle of the camera leads to an interesting perspective of the overall picture, with abstract-looking lines in the background. For the following pieces I use these findings and continue to search for something „iconic“ in the imagery in the sense that this is conditioning our behaviour and our viewing patterns. It will always be related to how we compose and consume photography on Instagram, but also, like in the animal images, to the kind of content we devour.  

To drive the recognition value of the imagery to the max, I am using the frame of the Instagram posts from the username/handle down to the interactive part and the number of likes, which seem to have turned into a hyper-valued currency these days.

That is why I am naming the artworks after the amount of likes of the source image. And because in the german version of Instagram on my smartphone a „like“ becomes a „gefällt“, the whole series is named ‚#gefaelltdas‘. I actually registered @gefaelltdas , a new Instagram account next to my regular one (@alexxxdiamond), where I will also document the project.

In regards to my distinctive woodcutting technique applied here: because of the smaller size of the woodblocks (18x 24 x 3 cm / 7” x 9.5” x 1.2”), the text becomes a bit choppy and almost unreadable, but everything is actually carved into the wood, while the color is mostly rubbed into the cuts. 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 a „new iconic imagery“ supports the theme.

For updates:

Please check this online-portfolio below. I will update this document when I add new work.

You can inquire about the availability of the individual pieces by clicking the links inside the portfolio. And of course you can check directly here.   

And of course please follow my own Instagram at @alexxxdiamond for my latest artworks, photography and nonsense. 

Wohnidee Suite: My drawings for the Bohemian Loft at the Radisson

© Alex Diamond

Here's something different: My drawings on bathroom furniture in a Hotel Suite for a nice project with GeberitKeramagWohnidee Magazine & JOI-Design at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cologne.

Read more about this in the Wohnidee Magazine (sorry, german only).


The icons | more superheroes

Alex Diamond: Cash Only Motherfucker (2016) acrylic paint, woodcut, 18 x 24 x 3 cm (7.8” x 7.8” x 1.2”)

Alex Diamond: Cash Only Motherfucker (2016)
acrylic paint, woodcut, 18 x 24 x 3 cm (7.8” x 7.8” x 1.2”)

Alex Diamond: A Is For Anarchy (2016) acrylic paint, woodcut, 18 x 24 x 3 cm (7.8” x 7.8” x 1.2”)

Alex Diamond: A Is For Anarchy (2016)
acrylic paint, woodcut, 18 x 24 x 3 cm (7.8” x 7.8” x 1.2”)

Alex Diamond: The Knight And The Demons (2016)
acrylic paint, woodcut, 20 x 20 x 3 cm (7.8” x 7.8” x 1.2”)

Click this link to view (and download) the complete ICONS-Portfolio.

Alex Diamond: Long Beard, Hairy Ass (2016)
acrylic paint, woodcut, 20 x 20 x 3 cm (7.8” x 7.8” x 1.2”)