Friday, February 27, 2009

Xerox Transfer Printmaking

I tried my attempt at xerox transfers about two weeks ago. Honestly, I was not too impressed then. After trying it again yesterday, I don't think I had enough faith in it that first time. Yes, it took some tweaking and re-printing, but they didn't come out that bad:

I need to focus more on how much I'm wiping the ink. The first print had a lot of ink on it. I wiped the ink off too much for the second print. After the other instructors and I played around with it for a bit, we discovered that graphic images work better than hand-drawn ones. The heart came out nice, detail and all.

Incorporating this method of printing into other traditional methods may be beneficial to my work, especially since I use text a lot.

The method of xerox transfer I used is with gum arabic. It tends to act as a less tedious version of lithography: the gum arabic resists the ink on the white sections of the print and the black toner serves as an absorbent of ink. Maybe I'll go into a little more detail later. I'll also post more photos of more transfers as I get better.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Printmaker's Dilemma

What defines a true printmaker?

By definition, a printmaker is an artist who designs and makes prints.

So, what is printmaking?

Webster's Dictionary says that printmaking is "the design and production of prints by an artist."

That's it, Webster? That's so very general and it sucks. I like Britannica's version better:

Art form consisting of the production of images, usually on paper but occasionally on fabric, parchment, plastic, or other support, by various techniques of multiplication, under the direct supervision of or by the hand of the artist. Such fine prints are considered original works of art, even though they can exist in multiple copies. The major techniques are relief printing, where the background is cut away, leaving a raised image; intaglio printing, where the image is incised directly into the plate; surface printing such as lithography, where the image is painted or drawn onto a stone; and stencil printing, where the design is cut out and printed by spraying paint or ink through the stencil. The history of printmaking parallels the history of art and is one of the oldest art forms.
Damn skippy!

Here lies the dilemma: To giclee or not to giclee

Personally, I prefer not to create giclees. If you do not know what a giclee print is, just go purchase an official Jazz Fest poster or Mardi Gras poster, or reproduction of Van Gogh's paintings. Those are giclees. Now, I have no problem with giclees, if they are used for what they are meant to be used for. I don't mind mass reproductions of things like the above mentioned, but if your intentions are to make ONE hand-pulled print and then reproduce all the others while still signing those prints as editions, my friend, YOU are a sell-out. Too many people do not fully appreciate the hand-pulled print anymore. There's a sense of accomplishment with that edition of 50 you pulled one by one off of the press and then proceeded to sign each one. A real printmaker can tell if your print is original or not....don't even try to fool them! No indentation around the borders.....giclee. No embossed edges or images with the ink....giclee. Unless of course, it's a lithograph. That's something a bit different. MUCH more time consuming than etching or relief printing. There's no embossments with silkscreened images either, but you can still can "feel" the ink.

Sorry to go on a bit of a rant here, but I'm tired of it all. I know that most people can't tell the difference and nor do they really care. Most are just interested in the image. But it's the ethical nature of a true printmaker that will get you an original, hand-pulled, editioned and hopefully damn valuable piece of art.

There. I'm done.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Krewe 'Do' Craft

After living here for the past 14 years, I can finally take a more active role in Mardi Gras festivities! A group of local artists and craftsmen created a walking krewe, appropriately named Krewe 'Do' Craft. We are all supporters of local arts and big believers in handmade throws and other trinkets. It's a great idea, if you ask me. I joined a week and a half ago and met a few of the members on Sunday. Good people. I really need to surround myself with other creative minds.

I took some photos of things I'm making for the parade, which by the way, happens right before Bacchus on Sunday, February 22nd. We are walking with Box O Wine. There's a great crowd that day so we need to be on our toes. I've posted some photos of just a handful of my throws.

On a similar note, I need to start working on my costume! Our theme for this year is "Alice in Craftyland" so yeah, you get the idea. I'm still undecided and I need to stop procrastinating and pick something. But that being said, I'm no seamstress.

Update soon.