Screen Printing: Paul Romano

I’m due to start a printing workshop next week which involves researching different methods of printing beforehand. When it came to screen printing I ended up thinking of Paul Romano because of my previous entry concerning his work with prog-metal band Mastodon. In this entry I’ll be looking at his personal screen prints which are available to buy online from his website http://www.paulromanoworks.com/

First up is ‘Leviathan’, based on the cover from the Mastodon album of the same name. It depicts the hunting of the great white whale from Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’. The nightshift blue background indicates the element of water while the composition of the hunter, the ship and the beast’s tail hints at an almost triptych arrangement.

          

These screen prints, ‘The Modern Prometheus’ and ‘The Brides’ respectively, evoke classic Halloween monsters in a more-decorative style. Prometheus was the Titan who was punished by Zeus for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humanity. His never-ending torment is compared to the fate of Frankenstein’s Monster; the quote at the bottom of the print reads,”I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind”. The second print depicts the brides of Dracula, covered in blood and shrouded in bat wings. The colour of both prints’ backgrounds might be reflective of their subject matter; grey for Frankenstein’s Monster could represent stone, steadfastness and immovability whereas the red of the Brides is probably blood, gore and death. Nice.

Here’s a Romano print that’s a bit more out there, entitled ‘Lady Treehair’. A finely dressed woman has two intertwined trees growing out of her head with a cat resting in the lofty branches. This could be a reference to the Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

           

These mixed media screen prints were done as part of Romano’s ‘XxXxX Series’, 1000 pieces done at 10″x10″ over the course of a year.Romano said, “It’s both exercise and exorcise- through mediums and ideas. The goal is to come out the other side with a better understanding of my personal aesthetic as well as questioning the role of art.”

I don’t know how intricate my screen prints will be next week but I hope to emulate the mysterious, decorative quality of Paul Romano’s personal work. Check out his website, you won’t be disappointed.

My Favourite Album Artwork- Courtesy of Paul Romano

Mastodon’s new album ‘The Hunter’ has just come out this month prompting me to re-investigate their back catalogue. For a group of bearded, heavily tattooed metalheads their music never fails to impress with its sonic quality and sprawling arrangements. The best thing about their albums is the simply gorgeous artwork designed by Paul Romano. ‘Blood Mountain’ (2006) in particular is full of great fine art influenced images depicting crystal skulls, wolves, mythical beings and intricate geometric patterns.

               

It’s definitely a step above a black and white photograph taken in an abandoned warehouse! Here’s a selection of Romano’s other Mastodon album covers; ‘Leviathan’ their 2004 breakthrough dealing with the concept of ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Crack the Skye’ (2009) which narrated the story of a paraplegic travelling through wormholes in time to encounter Rasputin and the Russian Czar. Such unusual but intriguing  concepts are reflected once again in Romano’s distinctive style.

       

Romano’s website workhardened shows all his work with Mastodon along with designs for other bands and his personal fine art work. Here’s the URL http://www.workhardened.com/

Mastodon are due to appear on the new series of ‘Later with Jools Holland’ on BBC 2 at some point, making them the second metal band to appear on the show after Metallica. I’ll leave you with a track off of ‘Blood Mountain’, ‘Colony of Birchmen’ featuring guest vocals from QOTSA’s Josh Homme. DO NOT download the album- get a physical release instead. Even buying the CD means you can experience the very visual side of this unique band!