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  • Writer's pictureAlynn Guerra

Sprawl linocut

Updated: May 15

Growing up in the 80s, I have some pretty vivid memories of seeing bird nests built with cassette tape. You'd come across a jumble of tangled tape lying around, and then you'd spot a bird carrying strips of it away.  It used to make me feel really sad whenever I saw these "tape nests." It was a stark reminder of the scarcity of natural materials in urban areas and the pervasive presence of human-made materials in the natural environment. 


I have been ruminating on that idea for about 40 years...

People sometimes ask me, "How'd you come up with that?" As if  I'm some kind of genius who just sits around and waits for inspiration to strike. But the truth is, it's not like that at all. I don't just get touched by the inspiration muse and suddenly there's a masterpiece. It takes a lot of reading, sketching, and trying out crazy ideas; also, a lot of failing. In fact, I fail all the time. But that is also part of the process.


First sketch always looks terrible. I started with a group of realistic houses and a

cassette tape hidden in the trunk. The perspective has only one vanishing point

Second sketch: I moved the view point up and added a second vanishing point for a more dramatic effect. Also, I placed the tape in the center, hanging from the tree and drew the nest in perspective.

To make the sprawl feel even more dramatic, I added mounds with their own vanishing points, thiswould make them look like they were just sitting on the surface

Final print. I added cobblestones for aesthetic purposes and a bird for narrative.

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