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El Pueblo Unido / United We Stand

I’m excited to be participating in the Cornbread & Tortillas Festival festival tomorrow (Saturday Oct 20th) at the Americana Center in Louisville, KY. we’ll be celebrating our cultures, with music, dance, food and art. I’ll have my press, and you can make your own el pueblo unido/united we stand woodcut for free.

estoy emocionado para participar en la fiesta de cornbread and tortillas mañana en el centro americana en Louisville, KY. celebraremos nuestras culturas con música, bailar, gastronomía y arte. traeré mi prensa para impresares este xilografia gratis: el pueblo unido/United we stand

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Gotica Americana

banner with woodcut of frida kahlo and emiliano zapata in grant woods classic american gothic pose

I was brainstorming images for a woodcut to use for the upcoming USA/Latin American cultural exchange, Cornbread and Tortillas festival, and a friend suggested a parody of the iconic “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood. I wanted to replace the farmer and his daughter with famous Mexicans. I chose Frida Kahlo for the daughter, because she is one of the most popular Mexican artists of all time. Despite having a handicap, she was an independent, strong woman, in a time that was not the norm.  I chose to use Emiliano Zapata to represent the farmer, because he is one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He fought to put an end to the exploitation of the poor, working, rural class (peasants).

woodcut of frida and zapata by artist ken swinson

I thought the blending of these three icons say a lot about my ideas about contemporary culture and cultural exchange. I was raised in the United States as an ‘army brat’, my idea of culture is that it is a living, evolving thing. Our country is made up of lots of different people and cultures that are constantly moving around and influencing each other. United States Culture is a blending of cultures – so is Mexico’s.

Here’s a short video of the printing of the woodcut:

For the first 6 weeks of 2019, I am planning a trip (cultural exchange) to Oaxaca, Mexico. Sales of this print will help with my expenses for the trip. Thank you/muchas gracias to everyone for supporting my work.

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Harlan Hubbard Studio Test Proof

banner of harlan hubbard woodcut by artist ken swinson

I’m excited to share with you all the design and test proof for my Harlan Hubbard Studio woodcut.

Before his legendary journey down the Ohio River in his Shantyboat, he lived in a studio that he built for himself in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.

This weekend, I am going to be part of a community activity and fundraiser to help restore and maintain the studio. Harlan’s life was inspired by nature, the studio is part of the Ft. Thomas Forest Conservancy; so I wanted to include nature in the design of the woodcut.

If YOU would like to print your own copy of this woodcut, using my traditional press, come visit the Harlan Hubbard Studio and support his legacy. The activity is from 12-4pm at 129 Highland Ave in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.

More information here:

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Visiting the Harlan Hubbard studio in Ft. Thomas

Yesterday, I got to visit Harlan Hubbard’s studio in Ft. Thomas, KY to make some sketches for a new Harlan Hubbard woodcut I am working on. Harlan is my patron saint of art, and it was a magical experience (a dream come true) to visit, and make art in the home/studio he lived in and built.

You can visit the studio too! The Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy is having a fundraising event for the studio on October 13th, from noon – 4pm. I’ll be there with my press and print…make a donation to the studio (100% of the donation goes to the studio restoration), and you can print a copy to take home with you!

thanks Chuck Keller and Sidney Thomas from the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy, for inviting me to participate (and helping with the video)

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Flannery’s Dream – Large Woodcut Print

artist printmaker revealing a large woodcut of a bear playing a fiddle violin

I’m working on a series of large, hand made woodcut prints. I and wanted to share my latest, “Flannery’s Dream” the video below shows some of the process in making it:

“Flannery’s Dream” is a Kentucky folk story about a fiddler who was challenged to play a tune that had never heard before. He exhausted all the tunes he knew–without succeeding, then fell asleep. In his dream, he saw a bear with a fiddle. The bear chased him while playing a tune. The next day, he remembered the tune, and won the challenge!!!

If you’d like to support my work and have one of these woodcuts for your art collection. I am selling them for $60.

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County Fair: Lambs – new woodcut print!

Last month’s woodcut print went so well, I decided to carve another one.

I love the tradition of the county fair, and 4H children’s livestock presentation in particular. When everything goes right, the competition reminds me of ballet with animals. When things go wrong…that’s a lot of fun to watch too!

Here’s my latest print to celebrate the awesome kids who work all year to show off their 4H projects at the county fair. It’s another big one 15″x22″. If you live in the USA and would like one for your collection, buy one, and i’ll even ship it to you for free!