It’ll Be Okay is my first linocut reduction print. A linocut reduction print is made carving and printing the same block of linoleum two or more times. While I feel that the process of printmaking is the best medium to convey the meditative act of repeatedly thinking of a memory, the reduction process felt even more conducive to art work related to recollecting life’s experiences.
Like reliving a memory, each print takes time to develop and reveal itself, and in the process or over time, the print or memory takes on a new look or new meaning. While the overall image stays the same, each print may have different nuances caused by a multitude of events that can happen during the printing process, such as a change in pressure, different amounts of ink, a shift in registration, etc. The reduction process added another metaphor for contemplating a memory in that the first printed layer mirrors the initial emotions and base understanding of an experience, and the second layer provides added clarity of what that experience meant and its place in a greater identity.
The subject or memory that inspired the print came from recognizing the phrase of “It’ll be okay” or “It’s going to be fine” continually being repeated in moments of uncertainty and anxiety. From trivial moments to more serious life experiences, I find myself repeating it as a source of solace to myself or loved ones in order to keep each other thinking positive. There have been plenty of times where I have said, “Everything’s going to be okay,” knowing full well that things are not okay currently or may not be okay in the end.
Thinking of times I have used this phrase, I remembered the bathtub shower of my childhood home that had several, sometimes constant, moments of disrepair. If you wanted a bath instead of a shower, you had to stuff a washcloth in the drain because the stopper wasn’t enough to prevent the water from draining. The house and tiles were old, and at one point the tiles started to fall off and reveal the wood underneath. They were kept up with various measures of duct tape and a plastic screen that protected the rest of the tiles from the water. There was also a summer where yellow jackets had made a nest outside the bathroom window and gained entry into the bathroom through the broken tiles and rotten wood. The memory felt like the perfect way to convey an experience and place in time where “It’ll be okay” was repeated despite knowing that the current situation was not ideal, but that there were no means to fix it at the time.
Sometimes you have to say “It’ll be okay” because that’s all you can do for the moment. It’s both a flippant way of avoiding problems and a positive coping mechanism.