Bill Farran is showing his unique linocut prints at the Nathan D. Rosen Museum Gallery Biennial Juried Art Exhibit (Opening Reception Feb.11), ArtiGras in Jupiter (Feb. 13- 15) and Chabad House in Manalapan (Feb. 21) After retiring as a history and culinary arts teacher, Bill Farran became a Florida snowbird. With the guidance of several art teachers he pursued portraits and outdoor landscapes before he rediscovered his love of block prints. He enjoys working backward and in reverse! Combining his art with his love of history, Bill’s versatility shows as his subjects range from Pop Art to social commentary and his Jewish roots. In addition, Bill is an author and an internationally sought-after speaker. The Rickie Report shares Bill’s story, his upcoming Exhibits and speaking engagements plus some sneak peeks. Bill’s abundant knowledge, including more of his artwork as well videos, resources and a vast history lesson can be found on his website.
The Linocuts of Bill Farran
Meet The Artist:
Nathan D. Rosen Museum Gallery
“Art 2016” Biennial Juried Art Exhibit
Public Opening Reception:
Thursday, February 11, 2016
4:00 – 6:00 PM:
Exhibit runs through Friday, March 18, 2016
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Levis JCC Sandler Center
21050 95th Avenue S. Boca Raton, FL 33428
(located off Glades Road at 95th Avenue S., West of the Florida Turnpike)
ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival
February 13, 14 & 15, 2016
Saturday 10am to 6pm
Sunday 10am to 6pm
Monday 10am to 5pm
Abacoa Town Center in Jupiter, Florida
Central Boulevard between Main Street Circle and Fredrick Small Circle & University Boulevard
Chabad of South Palm Beach
Sunday, February 21
Plaza Del Mar 224 S. Ocean Blvd.
Manalapan, FL 33462
Gallery Show runs February 21st thru March
“Flowers”, Linocut by Bill Farran
It all started in 1968 with the need for a quick gift. Bill Farran made a woodcut, and framed it. After that, he created a woodcut or linocut each Jewish New Year. His two children were announced to the world via woodcuts. As the years passed and postage increased, Jewish New Year Cards became less frequent.
“Klezmer Singer, Elizabeth Schwartz” by Bill Farran
Bill tells The Rickie Report, “Then in 2011 two things happened. First, I made a Jewish New Card and posted it on Youtube for my friends and family. In the past I incorporated the usual images; apples and honey, views of the Jerusalem skyline, Chassids dancing, men holding the torah or blowing the shofer. In 2012, I made a linocut Jewish New Year Card of the Gvozdetz wooden synagogue (Gwoździec, Poland is now Hvfzdets, Ukraine). It must have been fate”.
Jewish New Year Linocut by Bill Farran
Bill met a group of men in Century Village who were members of the woodcarving club. They were a mixed group, liberals and conservatives, religious Jews and non-religious Jews, Americans and Canadians. “I decided to make a Jewish New Years video, as I would carve and print my linocuts with them each Tuesday morning. I never did make the video. As one thing always leads to another, before I knew it I’d created over 20 Wooden Synagogue linocuts, spent untold hours researching and learning about Eastern European history, had entered shows, and began to speak about “Lost Treasures: Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe”.
“My wooden synagogue series has become a labor of love. It brings together many aspects of myself. My love of history and geography, my love affair with Jewish genealogy, my love of art, and my love of my wife who helps me research and write”.
Wooden Synagogue of Novyy Yarychiv, Ukraine by Bill Farran
TRR: Take us through the process of a linocut:
A linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.
The process begins with finding a photo or drawing of a wooden synagogue. They were all destroyed by the end of World War II, and very few images have survived. We research the history of the towns or shetles, to learn about the synagogue, how the people lived and finally how the Jewish presence came to an end. We often become very emotional, but it is my way of not forgetting the past. Then I transfer the image to a linoleum block and carve. I work backwards, only “what I leave behind” prints. The next stage is to make a print from the block. I have to ink the block and place a sheet of acid free paper over it and burnish the image. All my prints are hand printed. Each print is ever so slightly different and I create limited editions.
Bill explains, “My artistic focus and inspiration flow from two sources. First, I love my medium, block printing. The feel of the wood or linoleum under the carving tools transports me to another plain. The process of working backwards and in reverse is an enjoyable challenge. In block printing one has to remove surface, leaving behind the surface that will accept the ink and print. When adding color a second block has to be carved. Hand printing in itself is an art”.
“Second, I love my subject love – the wooden synagogues of Eastern Europe and their importance in Jewish cultural history. Depicting them as linocuts and woodcuts, began with creating a simple Jewish new year’s card has become a journey reinventing my life. Wooden synagogues are gone from Eastern Europe, victims of fire, war, old age and the Holocaust. Through art I try to bring back these wonderful Jewish wooden synagogues, to give us a glimpse of the past”.
City View of Vitebsk, Belarus by Bill Farran
TRR: How did you get started creating your art work?
I needed a quick last minute gift for my Mom and decided to make a wood cut. I based it on Vincent Van Gogh’s Postman Joseph Roulin. Everyone said it looked like a rabbi, so I used it as a Jewish New Year Card. After that card I made a woodcut or linocut each Jewish New Year.
Prienai,Lithuania by Bill Farran
TRR: Tell us about your lectures.
I use my Art to educate my audience about Jewish history is Eastern Europe from 900 AD to the present. My goal is to impart that Jews were fairly well off until the Partition of Poland, in 1772-1794.
• Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania
• The Art of Wooden Synagogues, What motivates the Artist
• The Jews under the rule of the Tsars
• Rise and Fall of the Shtetl
• Yom Ha Shoah
Lost Souls of the Ghetto by Bill Farran
TRR: We understand that you have lectured internationally and in the US.
I love the art and the knowledge that I acquired, and I have a passion to share them with people.My next lecture will be on February 21, 2016 at Chabad of South Palm Beach.
• November, 2015 92nd Street Y, New York, NY “The Jews under the rule of the Tzars”
• August, 2015 Neptune Towers Co-op, Long Beach NY “Rise and Fall of the Shtetl”
• August 2015 92nd Street Y, New York, NY “Rise and Fall of the Shtetl”
• April, 2015 Temple Beth Shalom, Melville NY: “Yom Ha Shoah Commemoration”
• April, 2015 Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, “Yom Ha Shoah Commemoration”
• March, 2015 Jewish Genealogy Society of Palm Beach; Florida
• September 2014 Temple Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek,Chester, CT “Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania”
• January 13, 2014 Na’amat Movement Of Working Woman And Volunteers, Valencia Lakes, Boynton Beach, Florida “Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania”
• August, 2014 International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) 33rd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy; Boston MA “Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania”
• July, 2014 Tomek Wisniewski’s Studio Of Film, Sound and Photography, Michalowo Poland. “A Day of Jewish Culture. Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania”.
• November, 2014 Long Beach. NY Public Library “Kristallnacht”
• March, 2013 Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island; NY “Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania”
• March, 2013 Adolph And Rose Levis JCC, Boca Raton, Florida “Jews in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania”
• January 2013 Century Village Art Club, Boca Raton, Florida “The Art of the Wooden Synagogue”
“Sugar” by Bill Farran
TRR: Where have you exhibited your Art?
ArtiGras is my first professional Exhibition, as I am now a full-time artist. Previously my work has been seen at: Huntington Arts Council, “Artie Techie Show”, Huntington NY July, 2015; Huntington Arts Council “Don’t Eat This” Art Show Huntington NY May, 2015; Ocean Ridge Coastal Artist Exhibition, Ocean Ridge, FL March 2015; Temple Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Gallery, Chester, CT August-October 2014; Anti-Defamation League of Palm Beach; Florida Artworks: “Justice, Advocacy & Art” November 14, 2013; The Opera and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Podlasie-European Centre for the Arts, Bialystok, Poland August 19 – September 20. 2014; The Studio of Film, Sound and Photography, Michalowo, Poland July 7, 2014-August 7, 2014; Arts Arena Gallery, Delray Beach, Florida January 2013 and the Public Library, Long Beach NY October-November 2012.
Bill continues to write for various newsletters, including the most recent “The Towns of Our Ancestors”. He is available for small groups, synagogues, organizations, museums and special events.
TRR: What sustains your creative energy?
I’m always learning and discovering new things about both block printing and Jewish history.
TRR: What challenges you face as an emerging artist and what would you share with other emerging artists?
It’s a challenge to find a balance between creating and marketing. Keep working and promoting yourself!
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