Tom Killion carves the blocks for his Japanese-style woodcut prints using Japanese hand tools which he sharpens on Japanese water stones. Killion uses an array of 20 tools, handling them in a “Western” manner, and spends up to 40 working hours to create a large and elaborate key block.
Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Gary Snyder and Tom Killion have collaborated on three award-winning books – The High Sierra of California, Tamalpais Walking: Poetry, History and Prints, and California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Prints, Poetry and History – published by Heydey Books.
When asked what it was about woodcut printmaking that best communicated the spirit of a place, Killion responded, “The process frees you from this difficulty that artists have: when you draw, and paint, you see exactly what you’re doing. With the printmaking process, you don’t at all. You’re using a different medium, and doing everything in reverse to eventually lead to a picture, and it takes on its own life. Even though I’ve done well over 500 prints, I am always surprised at how things come out.”
Marin Magazine, Calin Van Paris, July, 2015