Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Mark Andrew Webber

Mark Webber likes to carve into slabs of linoleum, and with a little lino-cutting here and a couple of hundred hours there, he meticulously crafts 30-seconds worth of fantastic carved animation, or as he’s dubbed it, linomation. Mark gives us some insight to his lino world, which graced the cover of Crafts Magazine and the pages of Grafik.

What drew you to working with linoleum for your carvings and prints, as opposed to carving wood or other alternative printing methods?

Well, for one thing linoleum is softer than most other forms like wood. I have lots of joint problems (arthritis) especially in my hands, so linoleum works well, and the heat when I work with a heater on the lino feels great. It does not do my hands much good doing the carving, but I just have to keep doing it!  

Linomation is a very unique way of animating, how did you come up with the idea?

Linomation came about because I have a love of animation and a love of my carving work and I saw no reason why I could not combine the two. It seemed to make sense to me, as carving produces lots of prints of the same image and animation uses lots of images that are slightly different.

Typically, how long will one of your animations take to carve? 

It depends. It seems as though I always take things to “the next level,” as in the work is getting more detailed, with bigger frames, and no doubt if I did another one it would involve more frames too. The last linomation I did, for example, was about 500 hours, which was for a 30-second animation. Each frame was carved on a 10 cm squared piece of linoleum.

What’s the process you go through when you create an animated piece?

Using a light box, I align the frames when drawing on the paper. Then I cut the linoleum to the size I need it. Since I’ve drawn the frames on paper, I can rub each frame onto the separate piece of linoleum, making sure to number each one as I go along. Numbering is very important due to the subtle differences each frame has. Then once transferred, the carving begins. After I will scan each lino carving or take a picture of each one. Once I’ve done that then I’ll animate the linoleum carvings, printing each frame. The last one was 297 frames and it took me two days in a print room to just get a set of one prints done.

You also carve city maps out of linoleum, however instead of streets or picturesque landmarks you use words to indicate locations. Why do you choose to carve words as map detail?

The places I was making a map of, which started off as New York, were made up mainly of all these important places—these can be the more well-known areas: museums, the cafes, the shops, the parks, and churches. I chose to use the words, the names of the places, because some people will not even know what these places look like, yet they will have heard about them and know the name. I also like typography, so using type to make a map in this way, using various typefaces, seemed right since lots of the places, museums and shops use various typographies for their signs. The maps are getting more detailed, like the linomations.

How did you get commissioned for the cover of Crafts Magazine?

The Crafts Magazine came about because I got into the “International Society of Typography Designers” with the New York Map, which in turn got me featured in Grafik Magazine. Marcus Piper, who was hired to work on re-designing Crafts Magazine saw the New York Map in Grafik Magazine and emailed me about doing the Crafts Magazine front cover, the first one for the re-design, and I jumped at the chance.

By Emily Thomas

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