While many illustrators and graphic designers are sitting at keyboards, electronically manipulating images, Bellevue artist Deanna Glad continues to chip away at wood and linoleum blocks and covers them with ink in order to make individual prints.
After a freelance career selling her work to national magazines and newspapers, Glad is displaying her prints, as well as a few of her paintings, this month at the Hailey Coffee Company on Main Street in Hailey.
"You have to wear old clothes to do this kind of work," Glad said. "It takes chisels, gouges, files, knives and a lot of patience."
After studying at UCLA's art department in Los Angeles, Redondo Beach native Deanna Glad produced a series of woodcut prints in the early 1970s depicting Goethe's tale of Faust. These stark and powerful images were accepted into juried shows in New York and Los Angeles, bringing some commercial success to an artist working in an archaic medium.
"Print-making was very popular from the 15th to 17th centuries as a means of conveying images on paper," Glad said. "With its bold and graphic images it has long been considered a good medium for making a strong statement."
Psychology Today magazine and the Los Angeles Times commissioned work by Glad who eventually worked for the National Football League, a Hollywood poster maker and the United States Air Force.
"I knew early on that I wanted to be an illustrator, but it was a very difficult field to break into," Glad said. "I decided not to move to New York, but I did visit and show my portfolio around to agents. Even the agents there were living in apartments so small there was a curtain separating the bedroom from the kitchen."
Although Glad was paid for a Hollywood poster for the film "I Dreamed of Africa," a photograph of Kim Basinger was chosen instead to advertise the movie. Although the days of illustrated movie posters have come and gone, Glad has noticed a small resurgence in hand-drawn work in The New Yorker magazine as well as the Los Angeles Times.
"Illustration as well as fine art is all very fashion-oriented," Glad said. "It's glamorous to have something hand drawn. An editor will call on Friday and tell you they need something on Monday. This isn't so easy for a wood cut. These pieces can take months to finish."
Glad solved this problem by learning early on how to draw and paint with the raw, starkly contrasting style reminiscent of wood cut prints, sometimes forming collages with her paintings.
"It's a medieval art," Glad said. "I took a year of medieval art history at UCLA and found that the German Expressionists appreciated this kind of work. I've always liked Edward Munch, Goya and Van Gogh."
After working in the field of film animation and teaching at the Children's Museum in Long Beach, Calif., Glad and her husband, Mark Caywood, took interest in ancient Rock Art, traveling when they could to visit the sites of prehistoric paintings. They are both members of the American Rock Art Research Association, attending seminars in the southwest desert and elsewhere.
"We are glyphoholics," said Glad of herself and her husband, who is an avid hunter. "Mark usually hunts while I study the art."
In recent months, Glad's artwork has evolved to incorporate these ancient designs, which she says range from abstract forms of ancient shamans to road maps for hunting practices.
"It is very interesting for us to go to these places and wonder what they were thinking," she said. "These were very spiritual places."