In the early 80s, I learned about catching a wave in my career. I had already been influenced by Asian art—my partner’s father who lived next door for several years had collected Japanese prints and other artifacts during his WWII tour of duty in Japan and Korea, and we met other collectors in the Bay Area, which reflects the pull of the Orient. (Angel Island in the Bay is the arrival point for immigrants from the East, as Ellis Island was for those from Europe.) I was also looking at German Expressionism, bowled over by the show from the Guggenheim that traveled to SFMOMA in1981. It was natural, therefore, that I started making my own woodcuts, or woodblocks, as I preferred to call them, while still a student. This coincided with an explosion of art world interest in woodblocks, and I was included in many shows all over the world with my prints.
These exhibits included the 1992 and 1998 Triennial International Exhibition of Woodcut and Wood-Engraving at the State Gallery, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia; the 1987 International Biennial of Graphic Art in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, and the 1986 Japan Print Association/California Society of Printmakers exhibit at the Tokyo Art Museum. Carol Pulin, curator from the Library of Congress, bought two of my woodblocks from a gallery in Boston for their collection, and several entered the permanent collection of the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, under Curator Robert F. Johnson. Therese Heyman, Prints and Photography Curator at the Oakland Museum of California, acquired a woodblock for their permanent collection.
With time and distance, these woodblocks have a new aura, perhaps a new stature. My most popular woodblock, Figures on a Bridge—after Hiroshige,—impasto oil-base inks on Japanese paper—was included in the ambitious survey exhibition California inRelief: A History of Wood and Linocut Prints at the Hearst Art Gallery, St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga, Ca. in 2009 and the 1992 Directions in Bay Area Printmaking: 3 Decades at the Palo Alto Cultural Center.
I was a guest artist at a workshop at Drake University in 1993 where I managed in a few days to cut, proof, and print a medium-sized block. I met and became friends with other relief printmakers, such as Karen Kunc at the University of Nebraska and the late, great Roy Ragle in SF. I was invited to teach relief printmaking at San Francisco State University in 1993 and was also a visiting lecturer at UC-Davis in 1991, teaching etching.