Nolan O’Connell is a New England artist who focuses on woodcut and linoleum relief printmaking. The content of his work reflects the culture upon which he was raised in and his love for science and space exploration. New England is rich in diversity. Mountains thrust upward, oceans crash on rocky shores, valleys lay low with mills lining their creases, and the trees climb high seeking the sun’s energy. These elements are the inspiration for Nolan’s work, along with the animals and people living within his environment.
Nolan is from Hampstead, a small town in southern New Hampshire. He grew up on a small lake and surrounded by trees. The ocean, mountains, and the city of Boston are each only an hour's drive from Hampstead and Nolan was fortunate enough to be able to take full advantage of such elements. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and studied a Firenze Arti Visive in Florence, Italy.
The printmaking process Nolan uses is called reductive, or destructive woodcut relief printmaking. It is called this because by the time the print is completed, the block has been destroyed by the process and no further prints can be printed. The print is created through the carving of wood with various chisels and carving tools. The first areas to be carved away by the artist are those which should remain white, or the color of the paper. Then, ink is applied to the surface with a brayer and either hand printed onto paper or pulled through a printing press. After this step, the last color to be printed is carved away from the block. This process is repeated until the final color to be printed is all that remains on the block.