For my personal project I thought I would begin by reviewing how far I have come, and looking at all of the previous themes I have worked with. Bodies featured heavily in my first assignment, followed by my personal travels and locations I had experienced and enjoyed. Then moving onto life I focused on my baby niece who is now a very important part of my life, followed by a return to the body and process of abstraction. People, places, experience and abstraction have all been present so far so I began to think about how I could develop this further.
I have moved home during the course of “Introduction to Printmaking” which has brought with it a sense of freedom and joy, when I first moved the journey began like a holiday, some months later it’s now my home and I’m excited soon to decorate and make it mine. To this end I thought I could perhaps explore my own personal environment, the interiors and exteriors around me. Reflecting back on the last year or so our immediate environments have become extremely important, safe havens and places of joy or for others dangerous unsafe spaces they may want to escape from. I began by exploring the environment just outside of my flat and took the following photos:
Considering the different elements I want to incorporate into this final piece I thought technically about the different practices I have used and the following components were important for me to include:
- Gradient /ombré printing
- Chine Collé
- Lino cut and/or reduction lino cut
- Collagraph printing using poly filler
- Escaping edges
Gradient /ombré printing
I considered if I would use a piece of lino to match the size of the overall print or if I should use a glass base which I used for some of the first mono printing experiments. I also wanted to work with the “Lino Extender” from Schminke which provides a transparency to the ink. I decided in the end to use a piece of A4 glass base for mono printing for the ombré print as I felt the A4 size would give enough space for the other elements to breathe and tip over the edge. I experimented with blue (ultra marine) straight from the tube but I felt it needed a slightly warmer feel to it, my next prints were slightly too green so I think for the final I will aim for something in the middle.
When I was cutting out the very delicate flowers for my earlier experiments, I found this incredibly difficult to then produce a good print, however when using block shapes like squares this was much more straight forward. I wasn’t quite sure how this would fit in but thought that I could perhaps pick out the colours of the vibrants flowers (yellow and pinks) to represent this part of the environment in a more abstract way.
Lino cut and/or reduction lino cut
Looking at the photographs I had taken I was immediately drawn to recreating the gas holder which dominates the landscape behind the new build flats. The strong lines reminded me of the prints of Brooklyn Bridge by Anne Desmet.
Collagraph using Poly Filler
Creating the collagraph using poly filler and the subsequent prints that followed was one of the most enjoyable parts of the previous assignment and I really like the textures that could be created in this process, so I would definitely like to incorporate this into the final piece.
For this final piece I wanted to create a combination of sorts using abstract and figurative elements, and different techniques, I also didn’t want to be bound by hard boundaries, and felt like this would resonate with my theme of immediate environment. Especially as we have been so restricted in our movements throughout this whole pandemic, we are finally (hopefully) coming towards the end of restrictions and bursting from the barriers that prevented connection to people and place. Alice Macdonald served as inspiration for this particular part of the final prints, like her I didn’t want to be constrained by boundaries and wanted to create a collage of all of the different elements I have chosen to focus on from the photographs of my immediate environment.
Using masking to help overlap and collage the different components of this print I thought might be important, especially given the delicate nature of the ombré base layer and chine collé tissue paper. I thought that I would likely use masking in order to add the poly filler collagraph element but not to overlap onto the chine collé to enable these buildings to stand out from the natural elements. However masking felt too overly complicated so instead I experimented with printing the chine collé over the existing collagraph, then the collagraph over the chine collé, and then both side by side but not overlapping. Overall I felt the chine collé over the collagraph worked best. The tissue paper is thick and vibrant enough for it to hold on the paper and allowing just a glimpse of the collagraph to appear underneath.
Before starting the printing process I created some sketches to incorporate all of my different ideas and to play around with composition. The first couple of sketches felt quite restrictive and flat, however when I started to play around with the idea of the different elements floating more so on the page I think this worked much better.
Here are the four final prints on Shoji paper, I have purposefully placed the different elements at different points across the page in order to create a series of prints. Unfortunately whilst printing the chine collé there were some errors on my part and limited supply of tissue paper so some prints have two or three printed buildings on them. The collagraph section of grass and vegetation float on top of the blue sky gradient back ground, creeping out of the edges. Lastly the gas holder with bold black line stands steadfast in the centre of the page grounding the entire image.
Here are the four final prints on zerkall printing paper. I actually prefer the print on this paper as it is thicker and more opaque the images really sit well on the page. The paper size is slightly smaller than the shoji however think there is still enough space on the paper for the print to breathe. As there are a combination of two or three buildings on the print I also included two or three collagraph prints to create some variety. I also chose to print the chine collé buildings using a yellow border as I wanted the gas holder to really stand out on the page and I felt having both the buildings and gas holder in black ink would cause too much conflict on the page.
Overall I’m really happy with how the prints have turned out, I think I have developed my skills over the course of “Introduction to printmaking” and am able to produce high quality, interesting and beautiful prints.
I am a visual artist based in London and my current work focuses on the human experience in different forms. Over the last year I have been exploring themes such as the human body, personal experience, new life and family and finally culminating in this final piece exploring my own lived environment. I work in an autobiographical way in that the subject matter I choose is very close to me. Having previously gained a BA in Sociology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Counselling I have always been concerned with the human experience, what motivates people, their joys, hopes dreams, fears and worries.
Making art is also a very personal experience for me in that I can become completely lost in the work I am producing, no longer preoccupied in the past or concerned about the future, I live in that moment concerned only with my next artistic move. As I have previously studied people, societies and the human mind, I now turn to my own experience and how I relate to the world through art. What does it mean to be a person living in our contemporary world, to be a man or woman, young or old…how do current world concerns impact us? The COVID pandemic has impacted so many of us in lots of different ways, it has allowed me to spend more time at home, creating, painting and printing which I have enjoyed but it has also restricted my movements and interactions with others, and the world around me.
For this reason I decided to focus on my immediate environment for my final piece. Having recently moved during “Introduction to Printmaking” as well as this on-going pandemic it felt significant for me to explore. I began by collecting ideas through photographs, and by doing so I was able to pick out different elements I wanted to depict in the final prints, buildings, nature, weather, colour. I also wanted to bring together all of the different skills I had learnt during this period so decided to use these techniques to depict the different elements, for example the ombré mono print skyline for the background, textured collagraph print to represent the grass and vegetation, colourful chine collé buildings inspired by the vibrant pink and yellow flowers and finally the lino cut gas holder bringing together all of those elements.