Dox Thrash was an American artist from Georgia who invented the printmaking process known as carborundum mezzotint. Thrash used his trademark technique in the majority of his works. Compared with traditional mezzotint which relies on stipple or hatching, Thrash created a range of tones by burnishing copper plates with a rough, carbon-based material.
Linda. 1940-41. lithograph
Second Thought. 1939. Carborundum mezzotint.
Many of Thrash’s works dealt with his African-American identity, which was slow to be accepted in the art world. Thrash left the south at an early age of fifteen, in search of greater opportunity. Thrash came from modest means and had to work as an elevator operator to pay for night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. The young artist also gained employment through the Federal Art Project in the 1930s. During this time, Thrash was able to develop his own style.
Ship Fitterd. Aquatint. 1940
Eventually, Thrash moved to Philadelphia, where he taught younger artists and continued to develop his own work. Thrash was instrumental in finding a new way of drawing African Americans that was both dignified and beautiful. Dox Thrash’s work has inspired generations of artists, becoming more popular as time passes and Thrash’s legacy is revealed.
Ruined Cabin. 1940-45. Carborundum mezzotint