Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Raymond Saunders ~ Jack Johnson, Then and Now

Raymond Saunders painted this image of Jack Johnson in 1971. That was a year after James Earl Jones portrayed Johnson (thinly disguised) in The Great White Hope. Johnson was a famous black American heavyweight boxer. He was the first black American boxer to win the heavyweight title.

Saunders has reprised this image in works he is creating at Magnolia Studios in the Bay Area. As described in Magnolia's newsletter...
In new unique works on canvas, wood and panel, acclaimed Oakland-based painter Raymond Saunders incorporates digitally printed elements into mixed media images which are densely layered with lyrical pencil drawings, spray painted vases, gauzywatercolor pomegranates, coffee grounds, torrents of dripping oil paint, collaged paper ephemera, and various other ingredients. Prints on recycled plywood from Urban Ore form the foundation for several of the works, lending a readymade texture with which ink and other media can interact. Saunders can be seen nearly every day bringing work back and forth from his studio, where elements are applied by hand, to Magnolia, where new elements are incorporated using a large scale flatbed printer. In some cases these elements have been scanned from older works and it is difficult if not impossible to tell which parts are hand-painted and which are printed. Also in the works are a series of mixed-media Saunders etchings which combine traditional copper plate etching with collaged elements.

Here's a quick video showing the printer adding color to the image.

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