Ken Januski - Woodcut Prints

Ken Januski began experimenting with woodblock prints in 2013, after about three years using linoleum blocks. He found that he liked their gentler surface, especially when coupled with water-soluble inks. Since 2017 most of his prints have been woodcuts done in the traditional Japanese method, moku hanga.

He is still trying to find the best mixture of realism and abstraction. As the following prints show sometimes they are much more abstract and sometimes abstraction is replaced by a simpler, seemingly primitive realism. In all cases his work is informed by his sketches from life. He likes to remain true to birds while not getting lost in details. This helps he thinks to better portray the emotional effect, or better the comprehensive experience, of seeing these birds in their habitat.

In 2017 he began experimenting with moku hanga, or traditional Japanese woodblock printing. It uses water-based materials, good quality Japanese paper and has a rich history. Though he much admires the prints of  moku hanga masters like Hokusai and Utamaro he realizes that he'll never be able to match the abilities of  these artists and their highly skilled carvers and printers. It is the rich color of a few contemporary  moku hanga artists that finally convinced him to give the method a try. Unlike much contemporary work however, that seems to eschew lines in favor of  color  fields, he  feels that lines are just too  important a part of any artist's tools to be ignored.

In 2021 he applied for the Sumi-Fusion Exhibition at the 4th International Moku Hanga Conference near Tokyo, Japan in late 2021. He was quite thrilled to have one work accepted  to the show. It is  below. In it  as in many of his  more recent prints he has printed similar if not  identical editions on different papers. This has been done mainly as a learning experience.

A Frenzy of  Golden-crowned  Kinglets. Moku Hanga print by Ken Januski on Nishinouchi paper in edition of  20. It will be exhibited at the International Moku Hanga Conference  in Japan in late 2021.

Golden- crowned Kinglets. Moku Hanga print by Ken Januski. Image, including border of about 1 inch, is about 10x8 inches. Printed in edition of 10 on Shin Torinoko. 

Least, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers. Moku Hanga print by Ken Januski. Image, including border, is about 10.5x8.5 inches. It is printed in an edition of 24 on Echizen Kozo paper. 2019.  Another smaller edition is printed  on  Nishinouchi.

Purple Finch and Hairy Woodpecker. Moku Hanga print by Ken Januski. Image, including small border is about 6x8 inches. Edition is 20 and printed on Echizen Kozo. 2019. Another edition of 20 on Nishinouchi paper is not illustrated here.
American Woodcock at Magee Marsh. Moku  Hanga print by Ken Januski. Image is about 7x9 inches with border of about 1 inch on each side. Edition of 20 on Nishinouchi paper from 2018.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture and Trumpet Honeysuckle. Two-block Reduction Woodcut by Ken Januski. Image is 4x6 inches and entire print is 7x9. 2015.

Mergansers and Grebes on Schuylkill River Multi-block Woodcut by Ken Januski. Editon of 15. Daniel Smith Water-soluble Inks on Shin Torinoko Paper. Image is 6x8 inches; entire print is 9x11 inches. 2014.

Piping Plover at 'The Meadows' Multi-block Woodcut by Ken Januski. Edition of 12. Daniel Smith Water-soluble Ink on Rives Lightweight Paper. Image is 4x6 inches; entire print is 7x9 inches. 2013.

No comments: