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Dark Myth and folklore: An Interview with Grady Gordon

Posted by J Meyers on

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Fugue (detail) All images courtesy the Artist 

This month Dark Art & Craft talked to Oakland based monotype Artist Grady Gordon. Gordon's raw ink monotypes are filled with textured figures, landscapes and ominous skulls on stark backgrounds. 

Thank you for taking the time to speak with Dark Art & Craft! Can you tell us a little more about yourself & what you do? 

Thanks for having me. I'm Grady Gordon originally from Santa Fe, NM but have lived in Oakland, CA for the last 17 years. I make monotype prints. I also teach art in San Francisco.

We've enjoyed your monotype prints and process for some time - Can you explain your method for production to our readers?

The monotype print is a single run printing technique. Unlike other forms of printmaking where you can create multiples, the monotype only offers one true print.  I work by applying etching ink to a plexiglass plate, roughly blocking in shapes and forms with solid black, then using multiple tools to remove the ink to create the figures, creatures, landscapes, etc. I work primarily using the subtractive method, only adding when I need to bring in additional shapes. After all the ink has been worked over on the plate, I place paper on top and send it through an etching press. On the other side you find the result. 

What tools/mediums do you use to create Art?  

I am a markmaker and texture hound.. so creating textures is paramount for me. Anything and everything can be used to achieve marks in a monotype. For example, a brush that has dried ink stuck to it can yield interesting fur or plantlike textures. Rags, q-tips, make-up sponges can yield soft skin like textures. My fingers, brushes, cardboard, erasers, you name it- I've probably tried to remove ink with it.. I highly recommend Gamblin (out of Portland) Bone Black Etching ink- Gorgeous viscosity and rich deep black.



Do you have any Artistic Rituals or frameworks you adhere to?

I try to base my work on a series and create single panel narratives within that series. An idea would be based on a type of figure or creature appearing throughout the prints. Or a mood or location for those figures, objects, actions to exist in. Different narratives have different soundtracks and I always listen to music when I work. Other than that I let the ink tell me what it wants to show that session and go with it. I love to matrix faces and forms out of the blackness. I rarely know exactly what I'm making until it presents itself.

The evolution of an Artist is always one our readers like to know about. Can you describe a little bit about how you evolved into the creator/Artist that you are today? 

I've made art since I was a little kid. Had a long stint with graffiti. A bit of graphic design here and there.  I went to school for Illustration and graduated from CCA in 2008. I didn't know what a monotype was until 2006 when a professor told me to give them a try. True love ever since.. have not wanted to make or create outside of the monotype print medium. 

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 Fugue 1


Does your location in Oakland, CA affect your Art?

When I moved to Oakland the bay area Art scene was thriving. Super cool shows and excited artists everywhere that could afford to live and work in the bay. But now everything is so expensive out here that it has made me reconsider what I'm doing here. So I've decided to move back to Santa Fe and become an artist full time. The internet has made it easier and harder to get your work out to the masses so your physical location should be one that makes you happy and brings peace to your mind and spirit. I learned my medium of choice out here in Oakland and that I am thankful for.


World wide human interaction and gathering has been changing rapidly - has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected you and your Artwork? In what ways will Artists need to Adapt to this current world?

The pandemic brought art further into the digital realm, which is good and bad. I think that artists need to realize that their worth is not dictated by an algorithm or by likes.  Creating your pieces for a gallery is becoming less mainstream and desirable - as the fun art shows with hundreds of people and parties are a thing of the past, at least for now. I hope it changes back to where we can interact again in person. I think it's important for artists to reach out to people and find your group of collaborators, like minds, and supportive creators that can work collectively to nurture art and artists in every medium through these hard times. We need art in our lives. That is something the pandemic has not changed. It's just how we view and experience art that is different now. 

Does the occult, myth, or the macabre relate to your work ? 

All of the above. Growing up in New Mexico I was surrounded by constant reminders of myth and folklore. I have been fascinated by the macabre since a very early age. I've had my share of strange experiences with ghosts and the unknown. I like to include human-like emotion into my "monsters/creatures" as I think it helps us connect with them at a deeper level. Some have said that I do monster existentialism which is fine by me. I really love horror films and stories. They scare and excite me. I like to bring humor into my work on occasion and the films are a great place to start.  I've always been fascinated by the afterlife. What is behind the veil. The invisible. The unknown.  I try to create new mythology in my work and push myself to create by honoring everything that has come before me in this genre.

Can you explain what the NEOTROGLOCISM movement is?

Neotroglocism is a made up art movement that my friend Ian Norstad, and I created after we graduated college. It was an expression of being a refined brute. A new caveman smearing ink around, but also paying attention to the context. For me it means sophisticated mark making mixed with crude objectivity. 

What past Artists of any medium have inspired your current art output? 

So many and it's ever changing. But to start- Goya, Bacon, Kollwitz, Nick Cave(visual artist), Giger, Durer, Bougeureau, Skinner, Allison Sommers, Jeanne D'Angelo, Alan Brown, Christopher Tandy, Cait McCormack, Alex Eckman-Lawn, Kyle Lypka, Nicomi Turner , Aaron Hodges, Dustin Wengreen and Zac Scheinbaum 



We always ask people for three contemporary Artists you want everyone to check out right now. What are your recommendations to our audience?

Parker S. Jackson (@parker.s.jackson), Caroline Harrison(@carolinedraws), Keith Magruder(@bakersson)

Where can we find you online?

Best place to find up to date work is on Instagram - my handle is: @joaquindead gradygordon.com Reach me by email: themonotypewarlock@gmail.com

Thank you!
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Collector [End]

J Meyers

@ Dark Art & Craft, print collector and Graphic Artist from Ohio, US.



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