The Spotlight on The Colour of Ink is Sweetly Meditative

Overall, viewers will get quite the education by looking at The Colour of Ink.

The Colour of InkPlaying at the Victoria Film Festival on Feb 4 (1pm) and 7 (9pm)
And coming to Summer 2023

Brian D. Johnson’s The Colour of Ink is a beautiful documentary to behold on the silver screen. Not only does it vividly render the pigmented products made by Jason Logan for us to behold, but also, we see Nicholas De Pencier‘s camerawork provide some beautiful juxtapositions. But there’s more to this work than meets the eye, pardoning the pun. To understand what ink is requires knowing its history with artistic expression. Whether it’s applied in aboriginal art, calligraphy, or tattooing, the creators often want that hue to stand out.

When it comes to inking comic books or digital products, sometimes the advances in technology overshadow what’s loved with the traditional process–those liquid textures or shapes formed by a brush are much more organic and alive! To let it bleed through and act according to its own fractual language is the message Johnson I believe wants to get across.

To hear what others think of Jason’s product is very insightful. After being raised by the sights and sounds that make up the natural beauty of Gambier Island, he became an artist himself. But to bring that essence to the canvas meant creating his own paints. These days, he lives in the big city, working as a graphic designer for big clients like The New Yorker, and managing the Toronto Ink Company, where he creates specialty inks in small batches for clients all over the world!

Because he sources his material from natural environments, what’s sold is non-toxic. His most popular product is walnut black and sumac. They are locally sourced, and as for other tones, they’re made from things he finds drifting to shore or falling from the sky to his lap.

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He even sent bottled samples to a renowned illustrator, Robert Crumb, to use. Unfortunately, this artist wasn’t featured in this documentary. Instead, what Logan reveals is just as telling. In the end, I believe he’s become an avid user of Logan’s inks. This producer said they have an organic and transformative quality, which many artists admire. OOKA of the Shadows from Japan and Gregory “Seth” Gallant from Canada are two avid supporters, and the list doesn’t end there. He’s named Wendy Macnaughton, Gary Taxali, and Mike Kerr as regular customers.

Perhaps that’s why Heidi Gustafson is also an advocate. This artist is based out of the Northern Washington Cascade foothills, and her Ochre Sanctuary project seeks to preserve all that’s rich in this mineral. Whether that be with display pieces of the earth or turning it into something useful elsewhere, it’s been used a lot in the past, be it in a painting or to colour the exterior of a teapot. To recreate the tone can’t be easy, as it’s not as simple as pounding the dirt to dust and putting it on some liquid base. Thankfully, Logan continues to share his secrets with workshops and also online. Anyone who has access to his book Make Ink, (Amazon) or subscribe to the newsletter The Colour can also learn how to make their own coloured resins.

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Sometimes we think of ink as something added on top of paint, and while that’s true for painting scale model miniatures (a subject not explored here), others use it to write or draw. I get the sense they can be blended with other polymers so that vases can showcase the wider possibilities to where Logan’s product can be used.

Overall, viewers will get quite the education by looking at The Colour of Ink. The careful attention put into profiling not only Logan, but also these other talented individuals shows why they got into art. It’s about that meditation when creating. What I’ve discovered after watching is that it’s no different from the process involved while crafting and destroying a sand mandala, and that’s a different type of beauty to admire.

The Colour of Ink Trailer

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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