John W. Lane

J. W. Lane
Knoxville, TN

John W. Lane: illustrator, animator, painter and printmaker.

Early on I found myself completely satisfied illustrating editorial publication and advertising, in a modestly sized city. It couldn’t last. Technology and business acquisitions gobbled up too much. To keep working I transitioned into broadcast news graphics. Before those positions were eliminated in regional markets I had moved on to video production. I learned animation and how to shoot footage for special effects. I taught myself 3D modeling and animation and carried on.

The evolving commercial world, full of sleepless deadlines and technical moving targets, created a need for both convalesce and a segment of craft that was stable over time. I took opportunities to experiment with personal projects, using basic materials that haven’t substantially changed for centuries. My commercial project eventually took on a more mature nature, while the personal work becoming less of a reaction to stress; a softer and more narrative in nature. I’ve observed that, whether we are immediately aware of it or not, having images around us that buffer the clang and beep of modernity is a good thing. And, artistic works that are not reproductions of famous pieces provide the opportunity to be more personal. We can imagine our own story for what they represent, like a code we have deciphered and keep within the space we call home.

I use some drawing tools that were made before WWII, like drafting supplies and drawing boards. They were left behind by relatives that used them in a more technical manner than I do (my technical work in on a computer). I studied painting and western method printmaking when I was younger. In more recent years I was able to take instruction in the Japanese method of printmaking. A favorite instructor is the highly regarded Keiji Shinohara. The Japanese wood block print (mokuhaga) is less mechanical and requires more sensitivity than with western methods. However, the more I return to it the more my mind evolves subtleties toward color and composition in general.

Side note:

For wood I clean up and use other people’s discards, or use regional fast growing species such as poplar. I do not buy new stock of exotic or rare species. Sometimes I wind up with weird wood grain that’s hard to hand plane and prep. It’s an interesting challenge that can sometimes produce interesting results.

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