The mountains of the Canadian West is where I became a person, grew comfortable with myself. But I retain an awareness, comfort with the larger world, my fore-mothers were Viking. After a fine, though harsh education in northern Europe, I searched out the Canadian West on purpose, it’s my chosen place.

My artwork explains who I am, quite straight forward I hope, with a fine rough edge of the underground, the rebel. I have no time for the pretentious nincompoops protecting the galleries and “explaining” idiotic ideas like Duchamp’s flipped over urinal parading as art. Don’t get me started, most of the work Andy Warhol created in his Art Factory would never see the light of day today – mostly due to copyright infringement (but also due to decisively crappy craftsmanship).

I use a pencil to create my art, a computer to refine it, a hundred-year-old press to print it, and the internet to share it with you

My art is ground in craftsmanship and quality, based on materials good for hundreds of years. Not interested in having my name in the news because my work is falling apart, like Pollock’s (and now Warhol’s).

I thrive on elegant lines – as sometimes also found in superb tattoos. I love searching for the re-curve, the expressive, economy of line. Is it influential? Don’t care. Will it appreciate? Don’t care. Something grabbed my attention, that’s why it exists. My work and I are not clamoring for admiration. It does not ask for permission, it asks you to have an opinion, it asks ‘what do you feel?’.

image of letterpress artwork from the Gyrfalcon Series "Steep Turn"
Steep Turn, right off the press – before hand colouring

You know about the slow food movement, but did you realize there is a slow art movement? Well I’m a champion of it! I take weeks sometimes, redrawing to get my pencil sketch just right. After that, I close the book on it for about a year, when I’m no longer so attached to the work. Then, after the year has passed, I evaluate and choose the pieces worthy of print. I redraw each of the chosen sketches in Illustrator software to come up with a file so that I can have a relief engraving made. Using the most gorgeous 100% cotton paper available, I then print with the most stable ink known to mankind – the same way it was done five-hundred years ago.

So I straddle the world of steam-engine-era print technology on the one side and contemporary art on the other. My press was patented April 12, 1887, a hulk of 3000 pounds of cast iron and steel, and I’ve attached a modern variable speed drive to it to make it safe for me to operate. I use a pencil to create my art, a computer to refine it, a hundred-year-old press to print it, and the internet to share it with you.

Art does not have to cost thousands to be worthwhile – find out about the new work that I am creating, and some background on the process, by signing up for my monthly newsletter “byHugo Art Insider”,  on the menu-bar above.

Thank you for your interest,