Back in the summer of 1993 I had the idea to start a new woodcut series. The concept was to produce a woodcut for each day for a year. Each print would be about something that happened that day- something I saw, did, read about, had a dream about, thought about, etc. No two prints could be about exactly the same thing. All would be the same size, black and white. When to start? I thought about waiting for the next calendar year, but I didn't want to wait that long to get started. July 4 was only a few days away, so I decided to start it then. For the next year it was my major work, carrying me through two semesters and parts of two summers. Most prints were done on the day that inspired it, but if circumstances didn't allow that, I made notes/sketches and got to it soon after. In any case, I finished it on time, completing print #366 on July 4, 1994. I showed it as a full unit twice (University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University), then put it all away.
Over the years it was one of those projects that people would talk about, but I never found a good opportunity to show it. But then I was offered a space to show work a few years ago, a place with large walls but far behind a glass wall where viewers wouldn't be able to get up close enough to appreciate small framed works. And I had 3 weeks to prepare. I decided to bring The Fourth of July out of retirement, pinning the prints directly to the wall in the typical grid format. The aggregate piece (about 8 feet high by 22 feet long) was large enough to attact attention from a distance, and the bold black and white graphics made most of the individual prints readable even from 20 feet away.
Since then there continues to be interest in this work, enough so that I decided to post the whole series in chronological order on this blog. My plan is to post them on the dates corresponding to each print, so tomorrow I'll post July 4, 1993, and continue in this way through next July. With each I'll post a very brief synopsis of the image. Check in every day, once in a while, or next summer. The prints tell a story of a year in my life, one of many such stories I could have told. Some days are more interesting than others, just like real life.
All images Copyright 1993-1994 Paul Bonelli