Lyell Castonguay is a knock down, drag out, no holds barred woodcut printmaking extraordinaire. Originally from Maine, Castonguay attended the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester NH where he received his BFA in Illustration after completing intensive study in printmaking and drawing. His most recent series of seven large woodcut portraits, ranging in size from 36″ x 54″ to 36″ x 72″, depict 19th and early 20th century magicians. Castonguay is now interplaying splatter and woodgrain textures, bright colors, and calligraphic lines to illustrate birds. Castonguay's work has been exhibited at the APE in Northampton, MA, the D'Amour Museum of Fine Art in Springfield, MA, the Aberystwyth School of Art in Wales, Lorg Fine Art Printmakers in Galway, Ireland, and Danforth Art Museum in Framingham, MA. Castonguay is a past recipient of two Massachusetts Cultural council Grants. At his most recent community projects, Castonguay collaborated with a group of volunteers to print 7 large woodcuts on Main Street in Northampton, MA and is collaborating wit Carand Burnet in producing large woodcuts to beautify derelict public spaces on windows, doors or neglected walls. Check out BIG INK and CARVED CONTENT for more images and info on Lyell's latest projects. Castonguay is also an active member of Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, MA.
Feathery Devils Series
For more images and info on this body of work
and others, check out Lyell's website
A woodcut is an image carved into the plank surface of a piece of wood. The areas that show white are cut away leaving the image to show black on the surface level. The wood is then rolled with ink to show the design. Using hand chisels, we execute a carving into a boarded up window, door, or neglected wall. After the carving is complete we roll ink across the surface of the window, door, or wall and leave it as a permanently installed mural on the premises. Carved Content’s mission is to popularize the woodcut medium by placing it in highly visible and openly accessible locations within the local community. After viewing the woodcut mural we hope community members will seek out additional information about Carved Content, the history and tradition of woodcut, and other artists who practice printmaking.
Using partial funding awarded by the ECA+ and provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Carand and I will begin working on a 5 1/2 foot large woodcut on the side of the defunct Hurry & Scurry copy center at 118 Union St in Easthampton, MA starting July 2013. Our mural will depict the cross section of a tree with all the growth rings fully carved. The choice of subject is inspired by the persistence of nature in the face of urbanization (moss and grass grow plentifully inside the Hurry & Scurry building) and our recognition of the sudden recent passing of Bryan Nash Gill who’s woodcuts illustrate the complex intricacies of the natural world. Carved Content will take approximately 30-60 days to complete and we hope to have an official unveiling in August or September during Art Walk Easthampton.
Easthampton is a burgeoning arts center in western Massachusetts. The town is located in the Pioneer Valley – about 2 hours from Boston. It is a small community with many talented artists. Everyone has been incredibly supportive of our project including: Pine Valley Real Estate, ECA+, and the Mass Cultural Council.
IMAGES LEFT: Lyell carving out the rings of the cross section of a tree on a neglected wall in Northampton, MA