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John Carruthers: AAN Featured Artist


ACK Artists

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We are thrilled to collaborate with the Artists Association of Nantucket this year to feature their talented artist members. The AAN is a non-profit organization supporting Nantucket artists, providing educational programs in the arts, and preserving the legacy of Nantucket artists. Visit their website, their gallery at 19 Washington Street, their studio at 24 Amelia Drive, or give them a call at (508) 228-0294.

For the month of June we are pleased to feature John Carruthers, a great artist member who has been creating woodcut prints for 30 years.

John Carruthers Biography

With a master’s degree from the New York Academy of Art, five years of printmaking at Pratt Graphic Center and Hunter College, John has been creating and selling woodcuts for 30 years. He is currently the Visual Arts Department Chair at The Storm King School in Cornwall, NY, and has been showing and teaching with the Artists Association of Nantucket (AAN) since 2004. At the AAN, he teaches Children, Teens, and Adult classes in painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. In 2010, he won the People’s Choice Award, in 2013 the Mixed Media Award, and in 2014, The Randy Goldberger Award for Teaching. He has also taught printmaking at The Arts Students League, and art history at Mercy College in New York City. His work is represented by Kathleen Knight at the Gallery on India Street and at the Artists Association gallery. John says, “being on Nantucket to teach with the Artist Association has been an incredible experience and the island art scene with its shops, galleries, and wonderful artists has been wonderfully supportive and a beautiful thing to be a part of. I love being part of island life teaching, exhibiting and busking with my banjo in front of the Juice Bar on summer evenings.”

John’s Statement

The intricate craftsmanship of knife and wood, the composition of line and space, and the sense of narrative are all inspirations for these pieces. Each of these prints are hand-made and unique. I revise each image as I print it. I change colors, add or remove details, and add colors. No two prints are alike. This is how it’s done- I choose a piece of wood that has its own character and integrity. Sometimes I cut the wood, but I prefer working with it as is because it’s like meeting someone halfway in a conversation or a debate. I sketch with pencil on the wood and improvise the composition if there’s a knot or some other peculiarity. I carve the image with a few trusted tools- a line cutter, v-gauge, and u-gauge. Sometimes I’ll add texture by sanding or scraping. Once the image is carved, I roll ink onto the surface (different colors are done with different small rollers), and place rice paper on the block. I rub the back of the paper with a spoon for a long time. It’s always a shock to see the print at first, because It’s a mirror image of the block, but it settles in after I pin it to my wall and live with it for a while. I always do a number of prints, changing colors, and adding or subtracting details. The creative process never ends. My images document where I live or what I see on a daily basis- NYC streets in the winter, the streets of Nantucket in the summer, or the historic woods of Orange County New York. I hope you enjoy the images and feel the passion I put into them.