Saturday 30 May 2015

Credit Card Imprinting Press

With minimal intervention I've modified a Datacard Addressograph credit card imprinter to be able to print very small linocuts and etchings. The initial idea came from an article by the artist Sarah Whorf but the result was far better than I expected. It's portable and convenient so I can make prints on the train (barring public outcry.)
I've improvised a stop to prevent slippage with mount board and split pins. I plan to pack the baseboard to even out the print.
At the moment instead of my usual caligo safewash oil based printng inks, I've been using Versafine oil based inkpads which work beautifully.

Rumpelstiltskin Concertina Book

This is the result of a brief for the visual narrative project in which we had to retell the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale and interpret the story using our own visual style.
For the cover I cut out the lettering by hand and glued it to a prepared gold coloured board.
I used a mixture of print and collage inside. I wanted to simplify the sequence by using a consistent medium and chose to not use text to elucidate the narrative events. I wanted there to be room for personal interpretation.
I find the concertina format allows me sufficient freedom to continue an ongoing story allowing the viewer the choice of focusing on a single panel or the entire sequence.
I assumed the viewer's prior knowledge of Rumpelstiltskin for the story to be recognisable as that particular fairytale.

Ceramic Work

12" x 12" Ceramic floor tiles sprayed with glaze and collaged with ceramic transfers.

Friday 29 May 2015

Animation Experiment

I've worked primarily with cut out animation techniques but have recently been experimenting with 3D plasticine figures.

Heinrich the dirty naked caveman with malformed hands and feet.
I started by making rudimentary person shapes out of pipecleaners and milliput plumbers putty. I overlayed the basic skeleton with plasticine 'flesh' and googly eyes.


I made this short film with objects I had to hand to get a feel for the process. Heinrich's left leg fell apart, his genitalia was fatally squashed by a gorilla and he had difficulty standing unaided. Needless to say Heinrich requires extensive rehabilitation.

Thursday 28 May 2015

RCA Secret History

This is a selection of my many submissions for the annual RCA Secret exhibition which I've taken part in for over a decade.

Surprise Project

This was the result of a brief from MA Sequential Design/Illustration to plan and deliver a surprise to the rest of the MA group. Since the objective was so broad I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. I kept returning to the basic definition of surprise (To cause to feel wonder, astonishment, or amazement, as at something unanticipated) instances when I'd been surprised, what I think of when I hear the word surprise. What I finally I hit upon is the notion of winning something.

After the PowerPoint I presented these £1 lucky dip toys I bought and carried out a lottery, pulling names out of a pot which meant there were three 'lucky' winners. It's the purest notion of surprise that I have; the immensity of pre-gift potentiality the moment before curiosity is satisfied. The image you build in your mind which is invariably greater than the actuality.

RCA Secret Postcard Timelapse

As part of my current MA research I decided to make a short timelapse film of myself drawing a postcard and analyse it objectively to see what it would reveal about my decision making process.


I found that I'd somehow flipped the image of Tommy Steele I'd been working from without realising or intending to. It was interesting watching myself work as an onlooker would. I'd made no prior sketches or plans but I was surprised how deliberate I seemed with my choices. Once I'd put pen to paper the image seemed to resolve itself without any active intention.

The image that resulted; one of my submissions for RCA Secret 2015

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Andrew Foster Labour of Love

I finally got to see the work of Andrew Foster up close at the Camden Image Gallery. On display were drawings, paintings, sculptural pieces and in the corner played the unnervingly quiet recording of children's voices. His work is caught between the desire to convey personal information overtly, the exacting demands of commercial illustration and a strong fine art sensibility. I love that it straddles different visual worlds outside of easy categorisation. It's a rare quality that can be hard to find in an industry that relies on ready demographics and styles that are provably populist.

His scroll is longer in person, spread across four walls. It tells the story of miscarriage and the ensuing unfulfilled dreams of fatherhood, the toys, birthdays and summers that won't happen. Fantastical imaginings of the silent milestones never to pass. Foster employs scale and vivid colour deftly, creating a panorama of cheerfully sad scenes of unspent life in which those lost live on forever.
Of the sculptural pieces I enjoyed the pleasantly grotesque pool inflatables, their shiny smooth surfaces made sinister with glued on hair. They had a tactile appeal despite their looks and joined two inevitable facets of life, a meeting of childish and adult concerns.

Andrew 'Foz' Foster gave a short artist's talk about his methods and inspirations. I particularly enjoyed his sketchbook filled with beautifully detailed drawings of the growth patterns of pubic hair. Each individual strand is rendered with reverence. It's a meditation on pubes which is not something I ever thought I'd find so moving.

I was inspired by the passion and control evident in Foster's work. It is innovative, meaningful and beautiful. It is executed with mastery. Foster gave a talk at Brighton in which he played a clip of the All Blacks performing the haka at a Rugby match. He used it as an example of passion that's channelled, honed into a precision rather than a blunt instrument and I find that idea so relevant and useful to my own work.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Heart Etching

I made this etching by mentally reversing an image of a human heart which was a lot harder than I envisaged. After etching the lines I overlayed it with several gradations of aquatint.
I worked texture into the shadow of the heart.
The final print.
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