Hoopsnake Press ~ Mississippi
(Ke Francis)


Share this page:

Ke Francis: " My work is mostly narrative in intent. I wouldn’t say that I tell stories with my visual art. When I want to tell a story, I use words and write a story. The initial impulse that drives me to start an image is a narrative impulse. Once the work is under way, the artwork has a life of its own: the words drop away from that point on and the creation of the work is based on purely visual response. The decisions are almost entirely visual decisions. Most of my preconceptions are left behind and the work assumes its own identity, finds its own way to completion."
Stories and art by Ke Francis  

Ringling Suite
By Ke Francis, CD Wright, and Forrest Gander
[Sarasota, Florida]: [Ringling College of Art and Design] Letterpress & Book Arts Center, 2012. Edition of 75.

13.5 x 18.75" portfolio containing 6 loose sheets (including title and colophon sheets) of white Somerset Satin 250 gm paper. Multi-colored relief prints printed from hand-engraved gravoply and photopolymer plates. Poems set in Bodoni Book and Frutiger Roman and printed from a polymer plate. Editions printed by Jill Lerner and published by the Ringling College of Art Book Arts Center. Laid in paper portfolio with paper title label tipped on front cover.

Suite of broadsides with prints by Ke Francis and poetry by C.D. Wright and Forrest Gander.

     Raven by Forrest Gander and Ke Francis
     Unconditional Love Song by C.D. Wright and Ke Francis
     Like Something In His Handwriting by C.D. Wright and Ke Francis
     Projected Love by Forrest Gander and Ke Francis

Brown University: "Forrest Gander is a writer and translator with degrees in geology and English literature. Concerned largely with the way the self is revised and translated in encounters with the foreign, his book Core Samples from the World was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award."

Robert Creeley Foundation: "C. D. Wright ... has published numerous volumes of poetry including Rising, Falling, Hovering (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), which won the Griffin Poetry Prize; Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil (2005); Steal Away: New and Selected Poems (2002); and One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (2003), with photographer Deborah Luster. ... Wright teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island."

Click image for more

Dixie Compass: Short Stories, Prints, and Photographs
By Ke Francis
1997. Edition of 50.

An octagonal shaped book 19" diameter linen-over-board with print inset with Velcro closure. 40 pages in hand-stitched, two-page signatures, Text set in fourteen-point Century type and printed Mohawk Letterpress. Woodcuts use an all-rag Lennox. Binding by Larry Cooper of Gardyloo Handmade Books. Contains five digital photos, 14 woodcuts, and three digital prints.

"Dixie Compass" focuses on images and stories that elaborate on life within the four points of the Dixie Compass (all marked South).

Click image for more

Celestial Hitchhikers
By Ke Francis
Memphis / Florida
1994. Edition of 50.

13 x 9.25" Linen over board cover with hot foil stamping and letterpress title. Binding by Larry Cooper of Gardyloo Handmade Books. Paper upon which the text and images are printed is Arches Text Laid. Images printed by direct methods: lithography from bi-metal plates, woodcuts from wooden blocks, and photopolymer plates from Adobe Photoshop Drawings. Letterpress artist statement printed from hot lead type on Arches text. Contains eight digital transparencies, eight color woodcuts, a seven-page short story by the artist, hand drawn/printed litho of Jack Kerouac as a young man, and a fanfold of maps with roads that spell Jack Kerouac on the US map.

This book plays the romance of the dream of hitchhiking (inspired by Kerouac's On the Road) against a dark short story dealing with the reality of the road. The monument to Kerouac consists of a list of roads that spell his name across the map of America.

Click image for more

By Ke Francis
Tupelo, Mississippi: Hoopsnake Press, 1994. Edition of 250.

10.5 x 14.5"; 36 pages. Letterpress printed on 80 pound Mohawk Superfine. Type cast on the artist's Model Thirty one Linotype casting machine. Text set in twelve point Century. Portfolio set in Spartan and Linotype Gothic. Titles handset in Spartan and Gothic foundry type in combination with handset Century. Compact disc of artist reading story. Short story illustrated with multi-colored woodcuts. Includes a bound in portfolio of ten woodcuts. Designed, written, and printed by Ke Francis. Paper over board, with a cloth spine, binding by Larry Cooper of Gardyloo Handmade Books.Housed in cloth covered clam shell box with cavity for CD.

A short story by Ke Francis about memories and how we share them with others: "the smell of my grandfather's workbench"; "the way my heart beats when I get up early and walk in the field in the winter mist and flocks of starlings take flight from the cedars and wind their way to the sky in powerful black arcs"; "the sunset that faded from an intense magenta-red just over the tree line, to a deep violet nearly overhead;" and many more.

Geraldine Prince, Director for the Centre of Continuing Studies at Edinburgh College of Art:: "The book Penumbra incorporates a CD of the artist reading his work, a use of modern technological resources which underlies the fact that for Francis, art manifests itself not just as a visual sensation, but as felt experience and, in the case of the musicality of his own readings, something the audience can hear. Gauguin's sentiment about the the 'sound' of Brittany is familiar enough. Writing in 1888 he declared that 'When my clogs ring out on this granite soil, I hear the dull, muted, powerful tone which I seek in my painting.' For a European, Francis's Mississippi parallels Gauguin's Brittany - geographically and culturally remote from an acknowledged 'centre', but with a folk culture rich in inspiration, metaphor and story. For a European, therefore, not recognizing the cultural heritage of Mississippi as a distinct entity would be like not addressing the cultural heritage of Flanders, for example, or Scotland in the 21st century."

Click image to enlarge





Jugline: A Fish Tale and a Portfolio of Prints
By Ke Francis
1992. Edition of 250 copies. An Editorial Copy.

Contains "The Walking Catfish," a story written and illustrated by the artist. With a portfolio of prints related to the pastime of fishing. Hardbound in paper over board, with a cloth spine and encased in a clamshell box. Illustrated with black and white woodcut prints from type high blocks. Portfolio contains nine black and white prints, one black and red print, and one fold-out eight-color print. Each print is individually numbered and signed by the artist.


Click image for more


Works with art and stories by Ke Francis

Ke Francis: "My work is mostly narrative in intent. I wouldn't say that I tell stories with my visual art. When I want to tell a story, I use words and write a story. The initial impulse that drives me to start an image is a narrative impulse. Once the work is under way, the artwork has a life of its own: the words drop away and from that point on the creation of the work is based on purely visual response."


Soul Shark
By Ke Francis
Oviedo, Florida: Hoopsnake Press, 2009. Edition of 25.

11.75 x 15.25"; 18 pages, including one pullout. Deckled foredges. Printed on Vandercook presses from a combination of lead type and photopolymer plates. Illustrations printed from plates made from woodcuts by the artist. Paper is Canson light gray. Color-woodcut end sheets. Linen-over-board cover with vinyl spine.

A short story written in 1996 and revised in 2009 by Ke Francis, with his illustrations.

A tip in on the frontispiece page hints of the fish tale to come:

Sailors are prone to exaggeration. ... They feel the need to enlarge their experiences to match the overwhelming proportions that are the backdrop for their daily tasks. That view will make the best of them create myth and turn the worst of them into liars; barring that they will, as a last resort, come to religion.
           ~ Mason Whitehead, from the mariner's personal journal, 1937

Winston had to go to church three times a week - twice on Sunday and then on Wednesday night. Sometimes a visiting evangelist would add zest to the routine. The congregation hears that a coming evangelist "had actually lost his leg to a shark in the South Pacific following a submarine attack on his navy vessel." Winston is determined to hear the complete tale, but the lesson is a surprise.

Click image for more
Text and images by Ke Francis
Orlando, Florida: Hoopsnake Press, 1992. Edition of 35.

8.5 x 11.5"; 18 pages with a four-panel double-sided fold out page. Multi-colored engravings printed on a Paul Schniedewend hand press. Text set in Franklin Gothic Book and printed from photopolymer plates on a Vandercook Universal I. Printed on Canson Gray and Mohawk Superfine paper. Bound in black linen over boards with black leather spine.

A short story by Ke Francis accompanied by his illustrations about the ups and downs of being an artist. Wyndell's friend, Wanda, is asking when are you going to "make up your mind to stop all of this madness and get a real job."

Howard Risatti, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University: "Collectively, Francis' work can be seen as an attempt to represent that psychic landscape that is the mental space of the human mind; it is an attempt to show that while it is littered with trauma and pleasure, despair and hope, through the creative will anything is possible."

Click image for more

Page last update: 05.16.15


Home | About Us | Contact Us | New Arrivals | Fine Press & Artists' Books | Broadsides | Miniature Books | Resource Books | Order/Inquiry

   Copyright © 2013 Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers, LLC. All rights reserved.