This work, titled “Cet étrange soleil” (litt. This strange sun) continues my exploration on the topic of addiction. It's a 5 layer reduction linocut, printed using Caligo Safe Wash ink on Arnhem 1618 rag paper. Image is approximately 9" x 9" and paper is 11" x 14".
I’ve done some more conceptual pieces in the past, but with this one, I simply wanted to represent a common object in the life of addicts. Addiction to nicotine is quite powerful, and a filled ashtray is a common object in a smoker’s environment. It’s as mundane as it gets. It stinks. It’s dirty. It’s basically an open-air garbage can, full of discarded, used up objects. You have to empty and wash it from time to time. It becomes a central part of the ritual of smoking, whatever you end up smoking.
I vividly remember my brother and I collecting tobacco out of butts from ashtrays to roll it up again. We were desperately broke, and just like the sun represents the source of life, a filled ashtray was the source for further smoking. Anyone who’s ever done this knows how disgusting the resulting cigarette tastes, but it provided a severely needed nicotine shot.
The original source image, with its perfect circle and protruding butts, in addition to orange being the main colour, reminded me of a burning sun. That inspired me to adapt the colour palette to mimic an image of the sun.