Friday, November 14, 2008
Wesley Bates was born in the Yukon and raised in Saskatchewan. He now lives in Clifford, Ontario, where he runs West Meadow Press. Known primarily as a wood engraver, Bates’ work has been commissioned by numerous publishers, including Penguin, Random House, McClelland & Stewart, The Porcupine’s Quill and Gaspereau Press.
In Black & White is Bates’ account of his career as a freelance illustrator. Beginning with his earliest inspirations in the pages of books browsed in childhood, Bates recalls his first set of wood-engraving tools, his first and subsequent commissions, becoming established in the Hamilton arts scene, and his collaboration with friends and acquaintances in the private press and publishing communities. He tells the stories behind several book projects and commissioned works, including illustrating W.O. Mitchell’s The Black Bonspiel of Willie McCrimmon for McClelland & Stewart, George Elliott Clarke’s award-winning Execution Poems for Gaspereau Press and the lasting friendship that developed in the process of illustrating the work of American poet and essayist Wendell Berry.