A linocut is a relief print made using engraved linoleum as a plate.
Linoleum is made of a combination of linseed oil, ground cork, and gum spread on a canvas or burlap backing, creating a smooth, compact surface that can easily be engraved using gouges. This technique is not different from woodcut as the finished prints have the same aspect, but linoleum is easier to work than wood, as there are no knots and it is flexible, offering itself to fluid, spontaneous drawings....
Kandinsky and some Expressionists engraved on linoleum. Matisse was fascinated by its ease in working and used it in the simplest terms possible, creating a series of engravings of pure white lines on a black ground. Picasso too used linoleum to do a number of coloured linocuts between 1958 and 1964....
Below, please find some of the linocuts I made in 1998 (click on the thumbnails to view the full images):
This two-color linocut I made in 1999:
I also made several linocuts of Pokemon in 1999. It sounds strange, but I was particularly broke in 1999 and thought I could cash in on the Pokemon craze by selling "original Pokemon art" on Ebay.com. In the end, I'd hardly made enough to cover my costs, but I did get this wonderful feedback: "Thanks Chris, Pokamon make Grandson very happy. Service A+ Happy Holidays"
I made a couple of portraits in 2003 that aren't technically linocuts (the printing plates are some kind of soft rubber rather than linoleum). Click on the thumbnails below to view the full images:
I made these two linocuts in 2003 at Burning Man:
I made this four-color linocut for a Nervousness.org (a now-defunct mail-art
I made this 2-color linocut for a Nervousness.org (a now-defunct mail-art
community) project in 2004, a compilation of linocuts on the theme "the body":
I describe the process I used to create the print here: A 2-Color Linocut from Start to Finish
Also in 2004, as a gag, I threw together a quick print called Julia Horse-Kin, the Mongol, an advertisement for a fictious documentary telling the story of actress Julia Roberts, and how she was descended from horses. Doesn't she have huge horsey teeth? Not my finest moment, but good for a laugh.
I created this in 2005, although I didn't get around to printing it until 2010. It is pretty cartoonish, but I'm happy with how it came out. When I was flush with money, I imagined commissioning various artist friends to create their own works based on the same premise, just to see what all they would come up with.
I used myself as a model--taking a photo of myself with my phone, hands attacking myself--so I guess I can also call this a self-portrait.
I made a series of prints depicting some of the more unusual neighborhood features in Birmingham, Alabama's Five Points South, in celebration of my first year living there.
Kim Jong Il, Silvio Burlusconi, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Circa 2010.
2014. (These aren't really linocuts, they were printed from E-Z Cut blocks.)
I first became interested in linocuts as a method of cheaply printing color covers for my literary journal, White Crow:
After my first experience, I indeed found it was very easy to work with, and relatively inexpensive (a postcard size linoleum block for a linocut should cost $3.00 or less).
At various points I have been attracted to the linocut for reasons like: the bold lines, the stark contrast, the ease of reproducing any number of "original" works, and the incidental lines that appear--quite accidentally--in the finished product, giving it a rough and raw appearance not found in modern design methods.
I also found several works by a young Czech artist who seems to work in linocuts: Laszlo Novotny. I am not very good at linocuts. Laszlo is far worse. But somehow his work has a compelling and often humorous raw edge.
Kelly Pound also works in linocuts...extremely kitschy linocuts to be exact. I think they're fantastic.