December 2023: Joyous Dancer

December 2023: Joyous Dancer

Every month, I make 100 pieces of original art that are included in the first 100 orders of Humankind Candles.

This month, I did 100 linocut prints of my version of a dancer. Here is the first print I have ever made - if you were on the early bird list, you will be receiving one of these very soon.

This series is called “Joyous Dancer”. I used speedball ink with Strathmore series 300 lightweight printmaking paper. It is signed and number in the corner.

linoleum cut print with a keith haring like shape in combination with matisse

How I Made “Joyous Dancer”


Since visiting the MoMa in NYC this summer, I was particularly inspired by Matisse’s Dancers. I also had some earrings I picked up in Miami which portray a dancer. Here is a picture of me, the earrings, and the painting.

woman in front of matisse's dancers

When I first encountered this painting, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It seemed too simplistic. This is a mistake that I always make with every artist that I am inspired by - “Oh, this looks easy” and then it never is. From Rothko, to Monet, and finally to Matisse, I decided to challenge myself to a new medium and a new style of art.

I also find that the kind of art I make is pretty depressing - such as my performance art “Depression 1” or the next series I’m working on, which is about mass surveillance. I didn’t want to send depressing pieces to people who wanted to purchase humankind candles, or my friends. So I thought about pieces that were joyful and fun.


Before I start a new piece, I always do a lot of research - usually in the form of youtube videos or ancient art blogs. I also took inspiration from Picasso’s Reduction Linocut technique, which I didn’t end up using, but it was a cool video anyways.

youtube screenshot of watched videos

I also used DALL-E to create some samples/inspiration for me, which I was not very happy with. I find with generative AI, it’s very good at copying form, but not composition. Either way, I thought these were interesting to look at.

 6 dalle generated pieces of matisse art

Lastly, I looked at some OG references of other versions that Matisse did of dancers, as well as some imitations/patterns people had made.


I was also inspired by some stock photos of the words “dancing” and “joy”

stock photos of peolple dancing

Initial Sketches

I started practicing by copying some of the poses that Matisse used in his drawings, to get a feeling of form and movement. It was certainly challenging. You can see that I was able to get to my final form by the last sketch, after doing 5-6 of them.


sketch of human dancing

sketches of human dancing

sketch of humans dancing

final sketch of human dancing

Making the Prints

First, I transferred the image from the sketching paper to the linoleum block. You can see in this first image that I have already cut one piece off:

linoleum block with human sketch on it

I made this video of me stamping each linocut print. You can watch the Youtube video here:

Now, my living room is full of joyous dancers, who will be on their way to their loving owners very soon. I put a tarp down and some pieces over Amazon boxes so that the ink would not bleed through my floor. When I did my first few prints, I was a little disappointed that the print was not perfect. However, after doing many of them, I recognize that the imperfections make every piece different, and that’s what makes them special.

100s of linoleum prints on the floor

Pieces I Enjoy The Most out of This Series

This one had the most ink on it and was the messiest and darkest. As this was my 41th version, I was slightly disappointed as to how much ink was distributed. However, I actually now enjoy looking at it. Despite how messy it is, it still looks human.

IMG_4590 2.HEIC

linoleum print of person dancing

I like the texture in number 71, as it reminds me of a Rorschach diagram.


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