Day 26: Today's topic - rubbings. I admit I've never taken a rubbing of a cover, but I have taken impressions of plenty of stencils, shoe bottoms, anaglypta, and gravestones. The manhole covers in my town are not that interesting, and there are lots of hard edges which will likely tear the paper. Someday I'll find the perfect specimen to try. I was thinking it might actually be cool to take a gelli print from a street pattern. Anyone else thinking that too?
Meet Dwight Pritchett from Pittsburgh, PA. I only found him a few days ago and I'm so glad he agreed to be included in this blog series as his work is fantastic. He has a terrific website - you should take some time to prowl around. Dwight tells you the backstory and shows his process - I always love seeing work-in-progress, don't you? Before we look at the art, be sure to check out his tshirt. On the back is an orange cone with "Artist at Work". Come on! That is so clever!!! Imagine seeing him crouched down, hovering over a cover, with that on his back as you drive past in the early morning when he is out on his missions.
Dwight refers to his rubbings as "lifts". I've never thought of a rubbing in those terms but it's exactly what they are. Dwight makes the impression of a cover with conte crayon on canvas then returns to his studio to complete the piece. He says he takes inspiration from the lighting, surrounding color and environment to finish the composition. Love that some of his titles tell you exactly what time he was on the streets. He tells the story better - see it HERE on his About page. He's got a video of himself at work on his Home page HERE. So interesting to see all the color choices he makes - so handsome. (I think he needs some professional knee pads as he's down on the ground for quite some time).
"One thing that has interested me is making the unnoticed, noticed." DP ~
You've certainly done that. Just stunning work Dwight. Thanks for letting me share your work.
Dwight Pritchett's "lift" art, ArtByDwight.com Dwight and wife Bonnie also have two other businesses which look so cool!
PritchettStudio.com - high end creative + commercial photo retouching, and PritchettPhotoRestoration.com - professional photo restoration. Their daughter Mollie is an entrepreneur too - photography and web design, MolliePritchett.com.
Another artist I found online who agreed to let me share her rubbings is Alexis Williams, a Canadian artist. First, I saw her City Rubbings, then I discovered Entrance. An amazing concept! Read this from her site: The project evolved from the juxtaposition of gravestone decorations and man hole covers to point out their similarities as markers between above and below and as thresholds between the known and the unknown. The work has been refined into a collection of rubbings of manhole, drain and conduit covers remixed into geometric patterns resembling monumental mandalas. Above/Below Known/Unknown. Great observation connecting gravestones to manhole covers.
See more of her work and a full description - so interesting - on her site, AlexisWilliams.net
Thank you Alexis for sharing your work with us!
EDIT: I'm thrilled to have heard back from David Robert with permission to show his rubbings from Japan. I love how he's set up his tumblr page - there's something so pleasing about consistency and continuity. Plus, those manhole covers are cool, as we know Japan has the most decorative street hardware on the planet. Many of them incorporate color too. Below is a sampling, but check his site for more, HERE. Thank you David for allowing me to show your work.
On Day 4 I showed you books about manhole covers. Two of them consist of rubbings. We are revisiting them since we are talking about rubbings today. Be sure to stop by and see the work of author/artist, Kim Christiansen.
Thanks Kim for letting me show more of your work. His book Mandalas of the Streets, HERE.
The other book, Overlooked, arrived last week. OMG. It's HUGE. I know there were posters made for the same project, and I think they are also the pages of this book. I didn't realize the the split image spreads were actually full papers of a single design, pages printed on both sides, and the whole ensemble held together with a elastic thing. I try to show you what I mean in the photos below.
Overlooked by Marina Willer + Pentagram, featuring (probably life size) twenty-two rubbings in neon colors.
I've had this book since 2000, according to the inscription from my friend Julie. You can get it for a penny on Amazon. It shows a few rubbings of manhole and coal covers, gravestones, as well as a lot of interesting textures, and how to do it all.
If you're considering taking up large scale rubbings, you can get supplies HERE.
I did do a little rubbing this week - little being the key word. I used my new stencils (Day 15), as well as my metal coasters (Day 14). I tried several different mediums to get impressions through plain old brown paper lunch bags, but the good old Crayola crayon worked best. Peel the wrapper, break in half, lay horizontal and rub.