A pretty quick post about the last etching I made in 2016.  I mainly just wanted to post the video beneath, so be sure to turn the volume up, because there are few noises that are sexier than the paper coming off of a juicy aquatinted plate.  This image is a mash-up of Greek gorgons, cyclopes, mythological monsters in general, Victorian Lover’s eyes, and Memento Mori.  I made this etching to go along with three graphite drawings in a similar vein which are named after the three Gorgon sisters.  Edition of 8, $200 each.  Purchase Here.

Black and white etching
Image: 6 x 6 inches
Paper: 11 x 11 inches
Edition: 8

The video below is a print being pulled.  🙂


Hoya Plant: An exercise in neurotic behavior

I love plants.  I really love plants.  If I didn’t have such a rambunctious force of destruction masquerading as a domestic cat, my little studio apartment would be exploding with greenery.  The first plant I bought when moving to Chicago was a Hoya plant and in an open admission of bad parenting, I play favorites.  My sister recently killed her money tree plant, and for Christmas I made her this etching:  A plant that could not be killed.  Edition of 11, e-mail RaeleenKao@gmail for purchase.

Black and white etching
Image: 3 1/2 x 5 inches
Paper: 8 1/2 x 10 inches
Edition: 11

The first step is applying a hard-ground acid resist to the copper plate.  The image is drawn through the acid resist, exposing the copper underneath.  In order to capture all the detail, I use a pair of jeweler’s glasses on top of my day-to-day Coke-bottle lenses.

The entire plate is submerged in acid, which bites into the drawn lines.

Tone in etching is applied by dusting a plate with powdered rosin to create a random dot pattern, which is heat-fused to the plate and also acts as an acid resist.

Detail of rosin fused to the plate. Oooooo shiny.

Ink is applied to the plate, and transferred to pre-soaked paper under the high pressure of the etching press.

Freshly pulled print


The Visceral Hand: “Only Weeds Will Grow”

“Only Weeds Will Grow”
3-Plate etching
Image: 12 x 8 inches
Paper: 18 x 14 inches

Titled after the Victorian belief that, “When a good life was lived, flowers will grow on the deceased grave.  But on the graves of the wicked, only weeds will grow,” this three-plate etching was made for the exchange portfolio, “The Visceral Hand,” organized by Michael Weigman and Joshua Jay Johnson.  27 of these prints went directly into the portfolio, and I have 8 available artist proofs.  E-mail RaeleenKao@gmail.com if you would like to reserve one.

The Visceral Hand

The imagery was inspired by Victorian hair wreaths which were built with hair from deceased family members as a memorial.  As a member of the family died, their hair would be intricately woven and added to the wreath in a bizarre sort of postmortem family tree.

Detail of hair wreath

The entire plate is coated with an acid resist and the image is drawn with an etching needle to expose the copper underneath.  When the entire plate is submerged in acid, the acid bites into the copper where the image was drawn.

Key plate before etching in acid

The blue plate was inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-E woodblock prints.

Blue layer before adding the key plate.

The fade was etched using a creep bite technique where acid is incrementally poured into a tray of water and allowed to “creep” up the plate


Each plate is inked and wiped separately, then printed one on top of another.

3-plate etching
Printing the key layer on top of the sienna and blue layers
Raeleen’s graveyard of prints

The first exhibition of the completed portfolio will open at Rivet Gallery in Columbus, OH.  Full list of participants and exhibition info Here.