The Persistence of LINEWORK

It’s 1 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and there is scarcely an available seat inside Bold Bean Coffee Roasters’ Stockton St. location. Understandably so, because inside it’s the first day that Myra Oh’s mixed media linocut prints are displayed on the walls of the coffee shop. It’s also the launch of New Rose Ice Cream, an all vegan small-batch ice cream company of which Oh’s boyfriend, James Siboni, is co-founder.

Oh was introduced to the process of printmaking while attending high school in California. She made her first prints in 2001. In 2007, after moving to Jacksonville, she obtained a tattoo apprenticeship with Thomas Asher of Autograf Tattoo, put printmaking aside and dedicated herself completely to learning as much as possible about tattooing and the industry. During her formative years in California, Oh had been involved in the punk rock and hardcore music scene and it was through that community that Oh developed her interest in tattoos. Her desire to become a professional tattoo artist was formed when she was 16 years old. Oh began studying the fundamentals of American traditional tattooing, which utilized a limited, yet highly effective, color pallet with a strong foundation of black shading. Today she is an in-demand tattoo artist at Diadem Tattoo in Orange Park.

In 2014, Oh resumed printmaking. This is her first time creating and exhibiting a full series of linocuts.

Oh prefers linocut to woodblock prints because of the bold lines that she is able to achieve—linocuts are made from linoleum blocks—they are often easier to cut and get very crisp results from. It is fitting for Oh to unveil her first series of linocuts at Bold Bean, because boldness has been consistently present throughout her career–in her watercolor paintings and the tattoos that she creates.

This series of prints highlight how the artist merges the first medium she worked in with the medium that she is most known for. Her prints are derivative of the tattoos that she designs; they cull from images iconic to the tattoo industry—snakes, wolves, flowers and tigers—as well as Oh’s tombstones-images, often embellished with sentiments like “Let there be night” and “Forget me not,” which have become so popular that they almost serve as her calling card.

Over the course of her 10-year career as a tattooist, Oh has done a remarkable job creating an aesthetic that is identifiable to her, and that aesthetic is conveyed in her prints. But in 2014—when Oh returned to printmaking—she further honed her particular tattooing style, finding ways to make a maximum impact through limited embellishments, largely working in black and gray. 

As she refines her craft, Oh remains committed to challenging herself on her artistic journey. In 2016, she told the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, “One thing I’ve learned after all these years is that I will always love producing art, but I will never be completely satisfied with the art I produce.  And that’s fine because I think it’s necessary for growth and progression.”

And for those close, curious readers: The black coffee ice cream with chocolate sprinkles and a toasted marshmallow is a strong recommendation to keep a look out for New Rose’s next pop up event (follow their Instagram for announcements).

MYRA OH’S work displays through December at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, 869 Stockton St., Riverside,