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'LoBack Meat Co.' is a 18” x 24” 6-layer reduction woodblock print on paper based on a photograph of a neon sign at Seattle's Pike Place Market. The sign's typography reads "LoBACK MEAT CO. QUALITY ALWAYS," but it has been cropped to "BACK MEA QUALITY ALW." The neon sign itself is a bright ocean blue in the upper foreground of the image, with the letters themselves contrasting in a rich yellow-orange. The outside of each letter is outlined in a bright purple, making the letters appear three-dimensional against the sign's blue background. A hallway leading back into space is depicted in the background, with a line of circular lights fading into the background on the faded purple ceiling. While the sign and typography stand out in a graphic way, the scene feels nostalgic and faded. Within the image's background is a faded gray rectangular sign with letters that look like words but are too illegible to read. The nostalgic feel of the words and the faded color palette are representative of a memory for me. I began to experience chronic memory loss after being diagnosed with mold poisoning shortly after graduating from high school. I was able to take a road trip across the Pacific Northwest with my stepfather in the summer of 2021. This was the first trip I was able to take since becoming well enough after my diagnosis, and I took hundreds of photos out of fear of forgetting the memories we were making. Each edition of this print explored the feeling of nostalgia, much like the flash of a memory we get of a time and place we can't quite pinpoint that's buried deep in our subconscious. Looking closer at the image, each cut is quite expressive as I explored my spirit and self through the cuts of the woodblock. As each subsequent print is printed, the previous one is carved away, leaving a fully carved block at the end.

LoBack Meat Co.

Paige Gilstad

Color woodblock print on paper

This print was inspired by an original photograph of a neon sign at Seattle's Pike Place Market, as well as my personal history of memory loss due to toxic mold poisoning. I was able to take a road trip across the Pacific Northwest with my stepfather in the summer of 2021, the first trip I'd been able to take since becoming chronically ill after high school. I took hundreds of photographs across the country out of fear of forgetting, as memory loss was my most severe symptom. Each edition of these reduction prints represents a memory for me. I was so afraid of losing my memory of the trip that I took as many pictures as I could. Because of the way the image is cropped, the words of the sign are slightly illegible, you can't tell where it is, and the colors appear faded. When I look at them, I get nostalgic, like when you get a flash of a memory from somewhere you can't quite remember that's buried within your subconscious. The woodblock itself was also a journey, and the various techniques I tried while carving it transferred a bit of my spirit to each print.