24" x 18" Silkscreen
on Heavyweight White Paper
Signed and numbered on the front
Edition of 20
This is Mike.
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This is a bit long and and possibly a little hard to believe but it will tie together a number of the Dartmouth print stories that you and all of your printmaking brothers and sisters have heard.
To begin you have to remember back to your first day of printmaking when you learned to cut copper on the shear. Recall how I told you of the poor woman at Yale who sadly had the sharp edge of a copper plate stuck deeply in her stomach, so deep that when she raised her hands and screamed the plate remained in place. The story of Mike Houston begins the weekend of this accident. I was, as you now remember, doing the workshop at Yale. The workshop ended early begins of the plate “plate in the gut” event so I returned early and stopped in the shop to unload my workshop supplies.
I opened the shop door to a horror show. Mike had organized a Hillbilly Hootenanny thinking I was gone for the whole weekend. The Hootenanny went terribly wrong. Mike was playing his guitar and screaming Woodie Guthrie songs at the top of his lungs. This was all new stuff to his Dartmouth brothers and sisters. Even newer was the trashcan filled with Mike’s Hillbillly liquor he secretly made in a "still" in the litho room (of course, I rarely went back there because litho is a waste of time). They were smashed, nearly blind drunk.
Immediately to my right, Evan Brown the 400 pound Canadian hammer thrower who visited our shop a few years back, was trying to cook pancakes on the hotplate, Rugby Dan Rush was fighting for hotplate space to cook California toast (he now produces movies in Hollywood and he used this scene recently). Poor Elizabeth O’Hara (her picture with the guitar (taken that day) is in our shop) was passed out on the couch. Jake Tapper, now a news anchor with NBC had just cut off the tip of part of his anatomy on the chain mechanism that ran the combo press (he wrote a play about it if you don’t believe me). My poor TA Tara was trying to clean up, as she always did, but she could not stand for long, she finally lay on the soft ground texture box she always kept filled. Even sadder, John Lee, (the faculty member in sculptor who visited us and had an exhibit in our gallery) who promised to look in on the shop during my absence was dancing on my Brand press with Michael Parks (who took the printmaking MFA from Texas Austin with a thesis combining exotic dance with intaglio). Mike had stopped singing and organized a collaborative offset -tushe’-stone litho body printing of Melanie the bull whip-wielding, world-class hockey player (I will eventually post some the resulting lithos as further proof). So Mike obviously hasn’t changed a bit. He has simply found a perfect outlet for his wild assed printmakerly ways.
What a role model for all of you he is.