January 24, 2017

Grashow's Flies

        James Grashow (USA, 1942 - ) is a woodcut artist who does complex, detailed, occasionally political, and usually weird wood block prints.  He did a series of pictures of flies, all of which are puns on phrases with “fly” in them.  Horse fly, house fly, and shoe fly are pretty straightforward, super fly and Spanish fly are a little stranger.  I’ve just picked my favorites purely based on aesthetics.  I think these make the best creatures and the best images.

        The dragon fly makes a marvelous creature, and I like to picture it being only about the size of a large dragonfly, buzzing around the garden in an everyday way, spitting small sparks.  The fish fly is fun because its insecty legs end in fins, which could conceivably improve its swimming.  Its wings clearly help in the air, and it’s catching a bug in its jaws although its hooked tail implies it could also snare larger underwater prey.  I think it’s about a foot long.  The zipper fly looks like a noxious insect, with its grippy little forearm parts.  Does it slap with its tail?  Smack with its zipper pull?  Or does it simply fly around with a pleasant little zipping noise?
        Grashow clearly had a lot of fun with this series, and I’m all in favor of art being fun.

[Pictures: Dragon Fly, wood block print by James Grashow;
Fish Fly, wood block print by Grashow;
Zipper Fly, wood block print by Grashow (All images from JamesGrashow.com).]

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