The James Gleeson oral history collection
James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists
The seed 1978
Print, planographic, lithograph, printed in colour, from four plates
sheet 76.0 h x 57.0 w cm
Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund 1990
27 November 1979
Frank Hodgkinson: Druckma.
James Gleeson: Druckma. D-R-A—
Frank Hodgkinson: D-R-U-K-M-A. I think it’s K-M-A not C-K.
James Gleeson: How did they arrive at that name?
Frank Hodgkinson: Oh, it was the name of the press. It’s written on the actual press, so they thought they’d retain that. They produced a series of eight lithographs. It was actually for the Labour Party so that they could restore premises in Carlton for their headquarters, some rather charming old national trust houses. They chose eight painters. I think it was Len French, George Baldessin, John Olsen, John Brack, Clifton Pugh, Les Kossatz and myself, I think.
James Gleeson: These were done on that press?
Frank Hodgkinson: Yes. Well, that was the lithograph that was in that folio that I had on the right called The seed.
James Gleeson: Two coloured?
Frank Hodgkinson: That’s a two colour lithograph. They printed 300 of that and I think they’ve sold most of them and made some money out of it.
James Gleeson: The other one’s that I see, there are, what, four?
Frank Hodgkinson: There are four in limited editions of 15. I try not to release them singly. I want to keep them as a group. It’s a developing idea based upon the Banksia seeds. You know the Banksia fruit, which has fascinated me for many years.
James Gleeson: Yes.
Frank Hodgkinson: I like its strange sort of furriness, spikiness. I think it’s a very Australian form. It looks a bit like an animal at times.
James Gleeson: Yes, it does.
Frank Hodgkinson: And sometimes it looks almost human. So, as you can see there, I’ve given it some human appearance, characteristics.
James Gleeson: Yes, yes.
Frank Hodgkinson: It’s part of this sort of thing we were discussing earlier involving, you know—
James Gleeson: Transference of property.
Frank Hodgkinson: Transference of properties, yes.
James Gleeson: They’re very beautiful. They have that direct quality of drawing which I find very pleasing. Did you use stone?
Frank Hodgkinson: No, this was on zinc, yes.
James Gleeson: And you drew straight onto it?
Frank Hodgkinson: Directly onto the plate, yes. Yes, you have to steel your nerves and just go at it. Forget you’re working on zinc. Think it’s just an old piece of paper, preferably butcher’s paper or something like that. It’s funny how we never get over those complexes of our poverty stricken years when we freeze when we’re faced with, you know, an expensive sheet of paper.James Gleeson: Well, Frank, I think that covers it quite well.