Art Demo with Ke Francis

Last Saturday in the gallery, Ke Francis brought some of his tools to the gallery to demonstrate the process he incorporates into creating one of his wood block prints. He also invited three of his former art students, who are spending the next year apprenticing under him, to showcase their processes as well. So I walk into the gallery late that morning and find four artists demonstrating four various techniques. Ke had a 4×4 foot sheet of plywood and carving out a design, with the younger artists on the opposite side of the space lined up drawing and carving their designs. It was so interesting to see the balance of age and experience in the dynamics between them all. Several people had been there since the door opened to watch the demonstration and we had a steady flow of visitors drop by though out the day watching and asking questions. Many people stayed all day to see the end results. I was amazed with all the steps Ke takes to make the wood cut prints. Not only does in draw an initial piece of art. He then makes a wood cut of the piece, then makes another wood cut to add texture. He will then use all the different components to layer ink of various colors onto paper. Each printing will be a slightly different color and texture. The patience he shows is amazing.

Just before lunch, Ke’s granddaughter arrived to see him. Ke had brought a small woodcut for visitors to try and print their own paper, so he worked with her to print her own piece.  It was just precious to see them interact. I could see why he had spent so many years teaching, its natural. It was also very obvious that artistic genes are passed down generation after generation, Ke’s granddaughter has an artistic mother and two artistic grandparents. I can’t wait to see how her life unfolds in the art community.

- Kim Caron

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