Our idea for this large scale, full color woodcut print was to capture a positive spirit of America. We chose to make a topographical image of the United States in an effort to represent all of America as a unified land, omitting state boundaries & focusing on cities, national monuments, & general regional land characteristics.
"AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL" reads as a simultaneous narrative--tucked into the complex patterning of the landscape are subtle references to American history and our growth as an adaptable, pioneering country and people. Other small details of note? There are exactly 50 stars in the bunting across the top (with 13 original colonies represented by the stars in the central banner). Also, notice that Old Glory never touches the ground.
"AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL" was conceived after Tugboat received an invitation to show in MANIFEST HOPE: DC, an art exhibition celebrating the inauguration of the 44th U.S. President. MANIFEST HOPE: DC was an event put on by the Obama Campaign, the Evolutionary Media Group, the SEIU & others for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
Copy #44 of this editioned print now hangs in the White House Offices in the Old Executive Office Building at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington DC.
DRAWING & CARVING "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL"
(ABOVE, TOP) Valerie draws directly onto the key block for "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL". All of our woodcuts start as detailed, original drawings on blocks of birch plywood. We draw in reverse so our images will print in the correct orientation.
(ABOVE, BOTTOM) A close-up of the carved Hawaiian Islands; Paul carving on the 'AMERICA' key block (pictured below almost carved). 5 hand-drawn, hand-cut, hand-printed blocks (24" x 30") make the finished printed image.
MAKING COLOR WOODBLOCKS & PRINTING AMERICA
(ABOVE) Red & Yellow blocks carved and ready to print for "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL". Two additional color blocks (Light Blue & Dark Blue, unpictured) are also printed; Dark Blue is shown on the press after printing below.
(BELOW) The paper is pulled up from the inked black/key block after a final run through the press. Additional photos of our work drawing, carving and printing 'AMERICA' can be viewed on OUR FLICKR.
>>> TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL"