I am Liv Rainey-Smith, woodcut printmaker and founder of Xylographilia ("love of woodcut"). I create original art through xylography—the practice of carving and printing blocks of wood—and have been working full-time as a woodcut artist since graduating from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2008. I've combined influences from medieval European woodcuts and Japanese printmaking techniques to develop my own personal technique and style. Because each piece of wood is unique, my creative process leaves room for the personality of the wood to have its say in how the final image develops.
In addition to creating and selling my work solo, I've been fortunate to work with publishers who allow me the time and creative freedom to work exclusively in woodcut. Over the last few years I have collaborated to create over fifty new woodcuts for Robert Fitzgerald's Arcanum Bestiarum published by Three Hands Press; six woodcuts mimicking numerous historic styles for P.S. Publishing's Starry Wisdom Library; and three special backer-only editions for sponsors of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. As much as I love it, woodcut is a labor-intensive means of producing art, and I must often turn down publishing projects due to time constraints.
Contrary to popular misconception, woodcut isn't a dead art form that needs to be resuscitated—it just needs to get out more! Because I want to help make xylography accessible, I've chosen not to restrict my creations to fine art venues. So in addition to gallery exhibits my original prints, T-shirts, and other items bearing my art can be found in stores including Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle, Washington; The Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council Store in Providence, Rhode Island; and Wells & Verne in Portland, Oregon. However, the bulk of my sales are made in person at conventions and conferences including Norwescon, BizarroCon, NecronomiCon, the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival/CthulhuCon, and the Esoteric Book Conference. Here I take part in panel discussions, offer live woodcut demonstrations, and occasionally compete in ninety-minute live art competitions.
Photo taken at H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival San Pedro 2015 courtesy Todd Chicoine Toddcphoto.wix.com/toddchicoinephoto
While I love getting out and sharing my art face-to-face, events outside of Portland, Oregon are both costly and time-consuming to attend. In addition to refusing some commissions due to time constraints, I must also pass on a number of events every year due to the expense and uncertainty of sales. Profits I make are invested back into materials, tools, learning new techniques, applying for shows, traveling to shows, and developing new ways of offering my art to a growing audience. In 2015 I began offering laser printed wood veneer cards featuring a few of my more popular works. This year I'm transitioning to screenprinting instead of laser printing, and expanding the number of artworks and sizes offered. I am also, of course, continuing to carve and print new woodcuts which I look forward to sharing.
Your monthly pledge will help me to continue growing my body of work and developing the selection of art available to you. Your contribution helps to maintain woodcut as a thriving art form. In exchange for your pledge you can bring the love of xylography into your life with as many or as few rewards as you wish.