Raven Victoria Erebus

Language of Birds, Seahorses, and introducing new series:
Past Perfect Future



Language of Birds | Seahorses | Past Perfect Future

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Past Perfect Future

Pieces of the past, reassembled and perfected as images for an imagined fantastical future.

This series began as a collage a day project, encouraged by friends on twitter. Many of the images are from old books with engravings that I have been collecting for many years. I love the engravings from the turn of the 19th century. They work beautifully into these collages. I've created backgrounds using suminagashi over vintage papers, using citrasolv to dissolve magazines into a marbled background, making marbled paper by hand, with acrylic paints. I hand cut images and then apply them into their new context. I've created new beings by blending old engravings with photographs of animals at the Natural Science Museum. There are thousands of pieces of paper from my life collected and rearranged into windows of the future.


Conjuring visions of mythical beasts, these delicate little carnivores hide in underwater gardens, a fantastical existence. Their environment is often destroyed by fishing nets, pollution, and severe storms. The seahorse relies on slow moving water and grasses to anchor themselves as they are not very good swimmers. They are highly prized in Chinese medicine. Millions are hunted and removed from the wild annually.

These prints started out in the darkroom. I made dozens of photograms using various objects laid on top of the sensitized black and white photo paper. The paper is then developed normally in developer, stop bath, and fixer, then washed. 

Once the images are dry I then scan them. After that I go in and invert the image. Then I lighten any very dark areas to a neutral grey. I then print the image out on Rives BFK and proceed to watercolor the image. After that I scan the image again, and touch up any scratches or dust spots. 

Language of Birds

Beauty is all around us, it’s ordinary and stunning, secretive and fleeting, cold and struggling, singing down the sun. One must just open up and let it in. In The Language Of Birds I look at what is around me with fresh curious eyes. Because I struggle with a chronic disability, it’s hard to get out there and get the shot. As a result, my work concentrates on the everyday world surrounding me, much of it not beyond my driveway. The little birds are regulars in my yard. I watch them and, as I get to know them, I capture them in my spirit box. As I lie and watch them in their struggles, I listen to their songs and wonder what they are saying. I toss out seed and watch the frenzy ensue. I admire their ability to move through an urban landscape but still be wild and free.

I began working with a photogravure process because it provides a beautiful tonal range and texture. Like my study of the world around me, the process of creating a print forces me to slow down and think. Each print is an hour long meditation as I ink the plates, then slowly wipe off the ink, add in new colors, and wipe most of it away again. At the end, I put dampened paper and the carefully inked plate through an etching press. The intense pressure of the press moulds the paper into the surface of the plate, transferring ink from plate to paper. The process is very labor intensive but results in beautiful archival prints—each with slight variations due to the handmade nature of the process.

Raven Victoria Erebus


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