Developing Practice

2 November 2017

Based on my thought earlier in the week, I decided to try and do some experiments in etching. I had a great conversation with Dave Sully, and with his help, I am going to explore combining my ideas of halftone, photography, and digital elements in the etching world. Intriguing. I am not sure how it will look in the end, but it seems like it really needs to be explored. At least I will know if it is worth pursuing.

I have prepared a test plate with a sample of a plant photograph. One section is lighter than the other, as I will print a halftone dot pattern on top, and Dave thought it would be worth testing whether the density of the background image will impact on the legibility of the dot pattern in the foreground. I will do the test prints next week. Watch this space!

30 October 2017

Just a quick thought. Typically, I am usually more interested in making colour photographs and usually non-representational, but for the series that I am doing with plants, I am using black and white photographs of plants and representational. This has led me to think about trying the photogravure process.  I have used Photopolymer plates in the past, but I wonder how the final images compare. I still plan to apply a layer of halftone images, which would be cut out shapes of a plate. Looking similar to how I have applied the halftone in the digital images.

Just a quick thought. Typically, I am usually more interested in making colour photographs and usually non-representational, but for the series that I am doing with plants, I am using black and white photographs of plants and representational. This has led me to think about trying the photogravure process.  I have used Photopolymer plates in the past, but I wonder how the final images compare. I still plan to apply a layer of halftone images, which would be cut out shapes of a plate. Looking similar to how I have applied the halftone in the digital images.

26 October 2017

My first attempt at printing a 4 colour halftone image onto Folex. I can do it now. Not hard once you do it. This is in preparation to screenprint, but I am now wondering if I would prefer to etch the halftone image, but having done a multi-plate print before, I need to plan it better so that registration is spot on. This would be key for the halftone, to be a true halftone. Even when perfect, the image is quite abstract, so if it is misaligned it won’t look like anything.

Ruth Broadway wonder if could etch on-top of a digital print? I made a comment that my favourite printmaking method was etching. Just the way that ink absorbs into the paper. I like the physical etching studio space. The blankets, the wheel.  Traditionally, etching paper needs to be wet before it is printed, will a digital print hold on to the ink when submerged in water, or will it bleed out into the tray contaminating everyone else’s work?  Only one way to find out.

I am also thinking about a hybrid print. Using the digital print, and then cutting out the etching plate shapes with the halftone image, and seeing how that will work and look.  Does it add anything more, than when a digital print is printing solely as digital?

19 October 2017

This was a day making more digital prints and trying to make my first book. Thinking of it as the first seems to put too much pressure on it. Actually, I have made books before, blank books, thanks to the amazing Angie Butler, but blank books seem like they don’t count. No content. I was thinking of doing a series of three books, based on some writings I did in response to Basim Magdy’s exhibition The Stars Were Aligned For a Century of New Beginnings at the Arnolfini. The books will also contain a series of excerpts from photo collages I have made. I have thought that I could make them A6 size and submit them to the London Centre for Book Arts open call for A6 books. But, I have wondered if the details of the collages would be lost in this size.  I will need to do some tests of A6 and A5 size, which would be the typical photo zine size.

12 October 2017

The two prints I made last week, I had printed at the Digital Print Beauro based on “conceptual screenprinting” and the other theme I plan to explore this term, feeling plants/can plants feel, based on the book by Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World. I was quite surprised by the results. There is something quite pleasing about the mixture of colour, a black and white photograph, and a large halftone obscuring the images.

I had some discussions with some of my classmates about the prints. Some of my questions where: Are they okay left as they are, as digital prints? Would the addition of screenprinted elements add to the overall final result? Or does the image need to have a printed element to be somehow legitimate in this course? Personally it doesn’t bother me, I could leave them as is, and use this same process in other forms, such as making books. But I feel fairly confident, whether people say it or not, that a digital print is considered less than a “handmade” print. Perhaps because, typically, someone else needs to print it for you? And because we are digitised these days, we crave the haptic. And that a human made something rather than a machine.  Although, let’s face it. We are still very dependent on the machine/computer/tools to make the handmade.

This has led to some thoughts about exploring riso printing. This seems to be an accepted form of printing in the print community. Despite that fact that someone else needs to do it for you, it is still rooted in the printmaking discipline, even though I think it may be a glorified photocopier (at least that’s how it looks), but prints each colour separately, similar to screenprinting or lithography. There is also something quite nostalgic about the colour palette as well. Prints look like they could have been made in the 50-70s.  This certainly does suit illustrative work, and simple shapes and abstract forms look fantastic.

I have been in contact with a riso printer in Birmingham, about getting one of my books printed. Of course it is much more complicated than I originally thought, because of the colour separation, and the way a book needs to be printed, I wasn’t able to do a test of this process, since the plates get made for each colour, so the hard part would be done. I think my test needs to be a single, smaller, photograph, just to see how it translates in this process.

5 October 2017

This was our official first day back. I was scheduled to have my mandatory tutorial with Sarah and Paul to discuss my plans for the term. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, as we hadn’t had one of these meetings in our first year. I discussed my main themes that I planned to focus on- photography, books, and print. I mentioned my guilt for not fully embracing printmaking, but still influenced by it in my approach to photography. Paul said this was okay, and I could approach it conceptually. This planted the seed for “conceptual printmaking”.

Sarah also had a fantastic gem hidden under the desk for me East [hyphen] West by Magda Stawarska-Beavan. A project based on the sounds of Istanbul. Because it was Sarah who gave it to me, I could only assume that it was an artist’s book. It was the same shape and feel as a vinyl record, and to my surprise it was both. She said we could consider this book as printmaking.

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Physically, it is just like a typical cardboard LP sleeve cover, a pocket for two records, there is a book inside with photographs and interesting text by an art historian and artists responding to this sound project. You can also see a video that would have made an impressive instillation as part of this project on the website. Turner prize winner Lubaina Himid and Ekin Sanac do a spoken word piece in response to the sound recordings of the city. Their words provided similar visuals like the sounds do.

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Based on this conversation, I started to think more about the idea of conceptual screenprinting, and made these two pieces you see below.  Maintaining the photograph, but experimenting with the halftone, as it is an integral part of the screenprinting process when screening photographs.

Website Chrystal Cherniwchan Plants Blue Half tone

Web Chrystal Cherniwchan Plants Orange Half Tone

 

 

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