Evon Zerbetz :
Evon Zerbetz : Biography
My linocuts are originals printed individually from my hand carved blocks and hand tinted. These are not reproduction prints.
Most of my ideas begin as cryptic doodles on pieces of scratch paper. It seems that some of the best brainstorms come when I am "captive" - say - on a ferry boat or in a city council meeting. My idea is developed and emerges as I carve it, in reverse, into a linoleum block. I use sharp carving knifes and gouges to create the image. After a process of proofing and recarving, I print my finished blocks using an etching press. Ink is first rolled out to a juicy consistency on glass and rolled in thin layers onto the surface of my carved block. I cover the block with clean archival paper and crank it by hand through the press. The print is pulled from the block and pinned to the wall to dry. The process is repeated for each print in the edition.
Looking at works of the English engraver William Blake, who hand tinted many of his etchings in the 18th century, inspired my current technique of hand tinting my prints. The work is quite labor intensive in edition, but it creates the look I want - the contrast of strong opaque ink with transparent washes.
I live in Ketchikan, which hangs on the edge of an island in the rain forest of southeast Alaska. My workshop looks over tree tops to an ocean passage. I watch boats and float planes go by in the pass as I spin the wheel of the press.
My work in children’s picture books for the past decade has partially realized my desire to take my printwork off the wall. I love working for the book format which measures the reveal of imagery as pages are turned. I also find satisfaction in working in series which book work requires.
The relief print, however, remains my passion. The time I spend working in multiples (the repetition of printmaking) is a rolling meditation in motion. Ten years ago I would have regarded my methods as impractical. But with a nod to the printmaking ancestors - who used printmaking to hasten their efforts in producing the image of Buddha over and over as a means of achieving nirvana, I find myself positively immersed in multiple images. And regardless if enlightenment is at the end of the raven lined road, I simply strive to share my love of the natural world with others.