Introduction to Linocuts

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life," said Pablo Picasso.

Chic in implementation and rich in history, linocuts have long been a celebrated art form enjoyed across the globe. Appropriately categorized as a form of printmaking, its widespread availability and prevalent simplicity prove it to be an ideal medium. Indeed, regardless of age, ethnicity, or nationality, linocuts play a substantial role in aiding humanity's eternal yearning for true, unfiltered self-expression.

Linocuts are simple in method. A block of linoleum - an impressionable material often noted for its aptness in flooring - is shaped in ways of the artist's choosing through the use of carving tools. In turn, once cut to the artist's desire, ink is spread evenly upon the linoleum, creating a surface ideal for printing. This simplicity, one of the many factors contributing to the extensive popularity of linocuts, has not gone without criticism, however.

Dating back to the nineteenth century, linoleum printing has had quite a turbulent history. Initially used in the manufacturing of wallpaper, it was not until after the turn of the twentieth century when linocuts, primarily through the labors of Austrian artist Franz Cizek, were applied in more artistic ways. Though major artists began adopting the linocut technique as early as 1903, many in the art community shunned the medium due to its simplicity, citing it as lacking in challenge.

Fortunately, artistic mediums cannot simply be judged on elitism alone - art, it has been proven, pays little mind to boundaries. As a result, through the defiant linocuts of such popular artists as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, linoleum printing outshined previous reputations and became an established art form.

Today, the simplicity of linocuts, an aspect which once contributed towards its spurn, now contributes towards its success. Indeed, more and more artists, novices and experts alike, are discovering the pleasures of linoleum printing. Are you next to experience the joys of linocutting?