Fine Art Printmaking Year 1

Fine art printmaking present an exhibition as part of our editioned print project. Our work spans a variety of print techniques and mediums, stemming from the traditions of screen print, relief, lithography and etching as well as the photographic and digital. 

Escarpment by Jill Flower

The print above caught my eye in particular from this exhibition held by first year fine art printmaking. During my latest group critique for the project “art of the accident”, Andy Vella suggested that for the cover of my book for my final outcome I could print onto metallic paper, therefore this print onto metallic gold paper relates to this idea. The print itself is also similar to some of the work I had produced for the project, gestural and focused on mark making, conveying a sense of texture.

It does not say how this print has been created, however from the design I assume it to be a relief print, possibly a linocut or an etching. I have previously explored etchings within my work and I would enjoy returning to the process to create the cover of my book, however for my final outcome I wanted to increase the scale of my book to a3 and an a3 etching plate would be quite expensive. An A3 piece of lino on the other hand would be much cheaper to use, although the quality of the line would not be the same it would create its own aesthetic.

Art of the Accident: Group Critique

The feedback that I received during the group critique for my book was very positive, the tutors and the other students enjoyed the work that I produced and the feedback given was to help move the work on.

It was suggested that the book should be more monumental and could be printed A3 or A2, however due to printing costs the largest I could print the book for a reasonable price would be A3 spreads with A4 pages.

Another suggestion was that for the cover of the book I should consider using iron filings to actually rust the cover, however this process would be quite time consuming. I could also choose to screenprint with metallic ink or use metallic card and laser cut into it. There was also the option to laser cut into a metal cover, however attaching covers to the book may put too much strain on the binding and tear the book apart. I chose to use metallic card for the cover, online I purchased 300gsm pearlescent card in a copper colour resembling rust, this card is also dyed all the way through therefore when trimmed the edges would remain a copper colour and not go white. I decided to not laser cut into the card a gaining access to the laser cutter during this busy period leading up to deadlines across all courses and years was difficult.

For the final presentation of the book it was suggested that I contain the book within a thin metal box that needs to be cut into to access the book, however once again gaining access to the facilities needed to create the box is too tricky during this busy period, I would also need to be inducted into the workshops as previously I am not.

Finally it was suggested that I add text to the book, this could be scientific information about rust or a timeline of rust. I chose to include scientific information on rust as this book includes photographs from both Brighton and Portslade, therefore two very different kinds of rust are documented meaning two separate timelines would be required which could cause confusion if documented throughout the book.

METHODOLOGY OF THE EDITION: 50X50=75 Exhibition

Methodology of the Edition: 50×50=75 is an international printmaking project consisting of a box set of 75 editioned original prints by 75 staff and students from three universities and three countries; University of Brighton, Nagoya University of Art (NUA), and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang, (KMITL) Thailand.

The project offered students and staff the same task; to produce a printed image on paper dimensions of 50x50cm using any print media from traditional, digital and hybrid processes. This opportunity to share creative learning, through creative approaches to printmaking and to engage with cross-cultural exchange has enabled student-staff interaction through professional educational opportunities and real world challenges. In keeping with ‘Practical Wisdom’ of Strategic Plan 2016-21 this is an example in which ‘our research and learning are informed by real world challenges and opportunities’.

In Edward Street today I visit the Methodology of the Edition. I particularly enjoyed this exhibition due to my interest in print as well as in Asian design. Furthermore as my current materials, processes and art of the accident project focuses on the use of print to produce imagery this exhibition has helped to inspire me about possible techniques to utilise now or in the future.

Below are a selection of my favourite prints from the exhibit.


 

Cass Pad Competition

Brief: We’re giving one lucky winner the opportunity to be featured on the front cover of one of our award-winning pad ranges. An exclusive print run of your custom design will be available to buy online and in-store at Cass Art. Shortlisted works will be selected by CEO & Founder of Cass Art, Mark Cass, Head of Design at Cass Art Naj Ellwood and award-winning designer Angus Hyland, Creative Director at Cass Art and Partner at design consultancy, Pentagram.

The competition requirements were very open as the design did not need to have a concept and could be created using any medium, the only requirements were that the image was 203 x 206mm. As I am currently working on the materials, processes and art of the accident project I decided to utilise one of my experiments with print for my competition submission. Many of the current CASS Pad designs are abstract prints, therefore I thought the medium would fit well into their range, however I did want to make my work stand out and therefore contain a slightly figurative aspect.

I choose to use my favourite etching taken from my etching workshop, this can be seen below. I believe that the overlapping of imagery and linear qualities are figurative but also maintain an abstract quality when zoomed into and cropped.

Soft and Hard Ground Etching Inspired by Rust

Below are some thumbnails I produced where I played with different crops into the image. For my final design I selected the last crop.

After some editing using levels and colour balance in Photoshop I finally produced my CASS Pad design. I really enjoyed creating this competition entry, the openness of the brief allowed me to choose whatever imagery I saw fit and therefore utilise my etching prints which I really enjoyed producing for my current project. This also meant I had the opportunity to enter the competition and possibility gain publicity through it, without having to sacrifice spending time on my university work to produce an entirely new outcome for the competition brief.

Etching Induction

In the print workshop I was inducted into the process of etching. We began by creating a hard ground etching onto a zinc plate. The process for doing this is as follows: file the edges of the plate at a 45 degree angle, polish the plate, rub the plate with degreaser, rinse the plate, dry the plate with a hairdryer set to cool, heat the plate and apply the hard ground with a roller, leave the plate too cool, scratch in your design, place in the acid bath for 1o minutes, rinse the plate and finally print. After experimenting with a hard ground we created another plate using soft ground, this uses the same process however the soft ground never sets, so instead of scratching the design into the surface a design can be traced on or an object can be pressed on.

Brighton Beach Rust Photography

For my hard ground design I scratched the photograph above freehand onto the plate. I chose this image as I believed the linear qualities of the texture would work well as an etching. Furthermore the imagery I chose was from my art of the accident project therefore my prints could be used as part of my materials and processes experimentation. I then played with printing the plate in black and orange inks, orange to represent the rust colour. I also experimented with printing onto newsprint, for my project I have been experimenting with the idea of creating a book printed onto transparent materials, as I couldn’t print a plate onto tracing paper or acetate I choose newsprint instead. This was a challenge as the paper was to fragile to be soaked in the water bath so had to be sprayed with a water bottle instead, however the print did turn out successful.

Below are my hard ground etching prints:

Hard Ground Black Ink Etching

Hard Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching onto Newsprint

Hard Ground Black Ink Line Work with Orange Overprint Etching

For my soft ground design I traced the photograph above onto the plate. I then used my fingers to create tonal areas.

Below are my soft ground etching prints:

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Second Print Etching

In my opinion my these prints were highly successful, especially the prints where I have overprinted black and orange ink, and hard and soft ground plates. Therefore I hope to find a way to incorporate them into my final book.

Art of the Accident: Brighton Beach Photography

After deciding not to continue with my photography of marks made unintentionally and intentionally in the studio by students I decided to photography erosion and weathering in a natural environment where the effects would be more unpredictable. Above are contact sheets of photographs I took whilst at Brighton beach. The photographs document the natural weathering and erosion of the man made buildings and structures.

I believe these photographs were far more successful than those taken within the studio. From these photographs I am particularly intrigued by the close up photographs of rust that I found on the metal bars beneath Brighton Pier. The colours and textural qualities of the rust would be interesting to experiment and play with using printing processes. It may also be interesting to explore juxtaposing the textural and natural qualities of the rust with the cold hard forms of the structures they were found on, combining texture and linear forms.

Art of the Accident: Mood Board and Artist Research

Mood board focusing on how elemental forces transform natural environments and man made objects

I created a mood board consisting of images I found online documenting elemental forces and the affect they have on natural environments and man made objects. The photographs include imagery of eroded natural forms due to wind and water, as well as rusted and aged metals. From these images I am particularly intrigued by the effects of elemental forces on man made objects. The combination of natural and man made results in unpredictable results and creates an interesting juxtaposition, for example in the top middle image the typography on the metal plate has been warped in unpredictable ways by nature.

Research into artists who have explored destruction, weathering and erosion within their work

I have collected work by a variety of artists which I feel embody the weathered aesthetic or embrace the weathering process. The two images on the far left are posters that have been pasted on top of one another and then ripped through, meaning parts of the posters beneath are visible, this creates unpredictable designs that blend both of the posters together. Other images I have included feature typography distorted through water, weathered prints, and broken typography, all embodying an aged or distorted aesthetic.

From these pieces of work I am particularly intrigued by the use of print. I enjoy using print as a technique for producing imagery as it can be unpredictable and allows for experimentation. Using a printing technique such as monoprinting would suit my work as it allows for textural and unpredictable imagery.

 

Esther Cox

Esther Cox is an illustrator/graphic designer who works in a variety of practices, however mainly creates prints for fashion. She is professionally trained in fashion and textiles, but has worked in health and social care, textile restoration and a large range of other professions. Currently she sales a lot of prints for fashion, primarily menswear and kidswear, as well as stationery and homeware. Some of her recent clients include Marks and Spencers, Paperchase, Transport for London, Desktop magazine and Undo magazine. Due to her clients mainly being commercial most of her work is designed for spring/summer and autumn/winter briefs, and large companies will normally request the same colours and themes for each season each year, therefore a challenge with her work that she highlighted was that each season she has to find new and creative way of reinventing these themes. Her style is abstract, textural and focuses on mark making, and her creative process includes using painting, print and collage to generate visual elements.

I really enjoy the abstract nature of her work and her use of colour. Her work reminds me of the experimental work I used to create during my foundation, where I would cut up unsuccessful prints and paintings and play with collaging the elements together. This is an approach that I haven’t used since leaving my foundation, however after the talk given to us by Esther Cox I am eager to revisit it. The talk also encourage me to see that approach as a way of making final outcomes, whereas before I only viewed collaging prints and mark making together as simply for fun.

Transmogrify Screenprints

01/02/2017

During my final critique for the transmogrify project during semester 1 suggestions were made for me to produce black and white photography of my three dimensional typography. In the lead up to semester 1 assessments I made these changes and submitted a black and white contact sheet and a black and white print. For my screen printing induction however I decided to personally explore my transmogrify project further by taking some of the photographic imagery I produced and making screen prints from it.

To produce the prints above I screen printed 3 layers, on the first layer was a digital image capturing the tone and shadows from the initial photograph, on the second layer was hand drawn marks done with black ink that brought out the strong shadows, and the top layer was a series of three simple linear lines that defined 3 focal edges of the three dimensional typography.

I continued with the monochromatic theme, printing the first layer in grey, the second layer in a darker slate grey to pick out the darks tones and the top layer in white to highlight the edges. However I did experiment with colour as well and produced a print where I changed the white colour of the third layer for a red. This was just the start of experimenting with colour and I would like to take it further in the future, experimenting with colour on all layers and exploring translucency.

The screen printing workshop ran across 2 consecutive Fridays, one happening to be before semester 1 assessments and one taking place after, therefore I was unable to submit this work for my assessments. However I am eager to submit this work for semester 2 assessments.

I produced several prints during the sessions however the imagery and colours were the same for most prints and the volume was simply to give me choice to choose the clearest and cleanest print. This body of work however inspired me to want to submit the prints in the form of a book for assessments, however as previously stated many of the prints are repetitive, on the other hand during my final critique for transmogrify it was suggested that I also experiment with capturing my object through analogue photography, therefore I could produce a book consisting of my screen prints and possibly analogue photography prints.

In conclusion I think these are a strong set of prints and I enjoyed continuing my work from the transmogrify project as I believe the imagery to be strong, therefore screen printing allowed me to further utilise that strong potential. I intend to further explore my imagery from transmogrify using other processes and aim to collate a large body of work on my explorations, possibly in the form of a book, for semester 2 assessments.

Screen Printing Induction

20/01/2017

Coating

  1. Choose a clean trough with no damage that is an appropriate size (within the area of the mesh)
  2. Clip on trough ends
  3. Hold trough in the palm of your hands with your fingers resting on the trough ends
  4. Pour an even amount of photosensitive solution throughout the trough
  5. Coat the back of the frame first
  6. Start 1cm from the bottom of the mesh
  7. Tilt the trough until the emulsion touches the screen
  8. Progressively stand whilst applying the emulsion
  9. Stop 5cm from the top of the screen, remove the angle of the trough and carry on moving the trough upwards for the remaining distance to ensure no drips

Drying Cabinet

  1. Place screen frame side up on the ridge
  2. Coated screens at the top of the cabinet, wet screens at the bottom

Cleaning

  1. Rinse the front of the screen
  2. Remove the unexposed emulsions from the back of the screen
  3. Can use a rag to remove any emulsion that won’t come off
  4. Rinse the front of the screen again
  5. Use a window wiper to remove any excess water
  6. Put back into the drying cabinet

Designing

Screenprint Design

For my design I used a photograph from my transmogrify contact sheet. As our final prints would consist of 2 or 3 colours we were recommended to choose images that could simply be split into 2 or 3 layers, therefore I believed that the simple geometric forms and monochromatic colour scheme of this image would make for an effective print. To get the image ready for print I made the image grayscale, increased the levels and printed it onto acetate as a 300dpi TIFF file. For the next layer I traced the black forms from the initial image onto acetate, I draw these forms on roughly with black ink to create texture. For my final layer I made simple lines onto another piece of acetate to highlight some key forms in the image.

Printing

  1. Fix the frame into the jaws
  2. Screw the bolts onto the corners of the frame
  3. Check the snap and adjust as needed
  4. Attach squeegee, make sure it is in the centre of your design
  5. Adjust the angle of the squeegee for printing and flooding
  6. Register
  7. Adjust the table if needed
  8. Apply a generous amount of ink (printing ink should be 50% paint, 50% mixing medium roughly)
  9. Test print
  10. Make any adjustments
  11. Can use screen filler to fill in any holes in the print on the screen
  12. Print
  13. Flood after each print to prevent the screen from blocking
  14. Don’t flood on your last print
  15. Wash the screen, squeegee and any other materials