Lucas Weschke

As a child growing up in West Penwith, I gained many impressions from the painters, potters and printmakers working in the region at that time. On one occasion I was shown how to make prints from a lino block, and that stuck with me for some reason. I still use traditional block-printing materials, but my method is probably unusual in that most of the time involved in the making of a print is devoted to drawing the picture on paper.

The initial image becoming clearer in your mind is like finding your bearings in a fog. Absolute bewilderment at finding oneself somewhere is followed by an almost intimate sense of isolation. Then comes a nagging fear that one will stray from the path and find oneself in the wrong place, and a persistent need to establish some coherence in sentiment, or even acknowledge an absence of any such coherence. The lines in the drawing often take many months to find their right places, and if there is an element of tension in a picture, then I suppose that does in a way reflect reality.

I do not believe there is any inherent merit in complexity, and perhaps that explains why this type of block printing appeals to me. The print looks simple, I mean there is either ink or no ink. But I nonetheless find it extremely difficult to produce, both in terms of the image and its realisation. Perhaps it is the difficulty of reconciliation. I value the pared down nature of the block print because it forces me to remain close to the core content of the image. At the same time, the effort of carving effectively represents a commitment. The physicality of the block and the printing process itself also suggest some sort of permanence.

Describing his pictures as “deceptively simple”, the arts writer Fiona Robinson observes that the “flat colour, blocked shapes and simplicity of line impart an abstract quality to his work.” And the poet Kris Hemensley writes: “the simultaneity of allegory and reality hits me in the head and the heart”.

Lucas Weschke’s hand-made block prints have featured in many curated exhibitions, including the Royal West of England Academy and the Evolver prizewinners exhibition.