Scott Mutter reading at
Bubby & Zayde’s deli-coffeehouse

Scott Mutter reading at B&Z’s (Bubby & Zayde’s) deli-coffeehouse, Champaign, Illinois, 1974
Art: 1974
Media: Woodcut print in black ink, printed on a paper on which I had likely printed reddish ink first.
Block image size: 11 1/4 in. H x 22.5 W.

Scott Mutter, born in 1944, was an older acquaintance in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. We met at Bubby & Zayde’s, a deli-coffeehouse in Champaign near the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. Once or twice I went to his house to use his darkroom to develop 33mm black & white film and print photos with an enlarger. I did a sketch of him in pencil (destroyed) from which I made the woodcut print. This is the sole extant proof I have from the woodblock, which I had drawn and cut on a plank, probably pine.

I remember showing a previously printed proof (whereabouts unknown, perhaps destroyed) to a Parkland College art department  faculty instructor. He said my imagery is “too busy.” On his prompting I excised, with my wood carving tools, books that were seen in the background, upper level bookshelf. In this sole remaining proof, the spines of books, portrayed on a lower shelf, are seen.

I recall thinking my having cut out the imagery of the books was a visual disaster. I recall telling myself I will never again follow that sort of advice from an art instructor or professor again.

The proof is titled, signed and dated in pencil:
“Scott Mutter reading at B&Z’s” Ken Segan 1/74
[1/74 would refer to January 1974 and is not an edition number]

Scott became well known as a photographer for his darkroom-manipulated photographs. This was years before the advent of digital photography changed the entire world of photography. In 2008, sadly, he took his life. He was living near Chicago. I heard that he hadn’t done well – psychologically – with the transition from film photography to the internet computer digital era of photography.

Many of Scott’s photographs are viewable in the American Museum of Photography website. That website’s creator lived in Champaign-Urbana for many years and knew Scott.

“The Photographer” based on portrait of Scott Mutter
Tom Mooney (1973)
Ethel Rosenberg (1974)
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