The Dinner Scene

One of the series I’m most proud of is the series of large format collage prints I worked on late last year. I had only made two up until this latest project, and now with this latest addition I feel like the trio is completed.

This series was made using the same methods found here.

From left to right: ‘The Fools,’ ‘Dinner Scene,’ ‘wh-why me?.’

There was an overwhelming feeling that there was still space to grow the project, taking what I had learnt from making the first two, and getting a lot more experimental with what shapes I could pull. Beyond visuals though, thematically these allow me to focus on a specific topic, be it family, mental health or relationships. The text brings a depth to the images, and helps create a narrative. This was really the birth of the Paper Detective, searching for meaning in the world around us, and using it to contextualize our own experience.

Here is Dinner Scene hanging above the Paper Detective zines.

I worried when I installed these two works that they didn’t really talk to each other in a significant way. From my perspective of course, I understand intimately how they align. Giving myself the opportunity to talk about substance abuse, interpersonal relationships, and social anxiety.

There is always the fear that people engaging with the work won’t see the intended narrative. But fighting against that seems futile, of course people are going to have a different understanding of the work. Instead I’m aiming to make work that has a clear theme, but also allow space for the viewer to have their own reading.

fin.

This is the last blog post I’ll write for my bachelor and I find myself lingering. It’s been a blast, but I’m glad it’s coming to an end. Something I was warned about early on was that it’s understandable to use university to give yourself a sense of structure, but you need to maintain that same structure independently if you want to succeed as an artist. I find myself attempting to create distance from academia, believing that if I feel separate then that independence will flow naturally.

Only time will tell if I’ll be successful. While it is up in the air, I definitely feel like I have a lot of opportunities that will make this experience worthwhile.

Letting the Paper do the Talking

How do you wrap up a project? After it’s on the wall, honestly, all the energy leaves my body, and I’m just left with two useless limbs and a list of images to catalogue. Apologies in advance, these works are very difficult to capture in a photo, but I’ve done what I can!

So here it is, my final series for the semester, REFLECTOR

If you read my last post though, you’ll notice a few new images, and maybe some other bits of polish that have been added since. So what I’ll be doing in this post is running through a few of the technical difficulties I faced, how I overcame them, and what I learnt from this project.

First, how did I resolve the works?

So these screenprints were done on adhesive holographic vinyl, which basically means it’s a big shiny sticker. Having completed them all, I had to find a way to present them, and hopefully make them seem resolved. In my experiments with blind embossing, I noticed on the flat areas the vinyl would take on the rippled texture of the paper. These small bumps helped catch the light, and create a more vibrant surface.

I set out to press the vinyl onto the paper. I decided on using black paper, hoping it would enhance the colours, also I would use one sheet of damp paper and one dry, to see what affect that had. I removed the backing of a spare print, and put it through a press, sandwiched between a sheet of paper and a blank lino block. I learnt two lessons from this, one, black paper didn’t give the affect I want, and two, dry paper produced the least warping and most satisfying surface.

wet on the left, dry on the right

While trying to create a larger lino block to run through with my prints, Rob the lab technician suggested it might be easier to use a simple book press. This ended up saving me a lot of time, and created prints the were perfectly flat!

What prints have I used for the final series? Moving from top left to bottom right we have, REFLECTION, THE PIT, REFRACTION, SURFACE, INSIDE, and OUTSIDE.

REFLECTION and REFRACTION were the first two prints I worked on in the series, and originally I wasn’t intending on including them, as I didn’t think they would fit. I’ve presented them, along with THE PIT, as a group of three, their purpose to describe a process of introspection and actualization.

REFLECTION describes looking inwards, becoming more self aware. The figure is closed off to the viewer, but the image is still lush and inviting, maybe it’s a trap? or maybe a path to better understanding.

THE PIT has two figures, but one person. When I found these two images, and placed them side by side, I instantly saw a conversation between them. The grey figure as the critical inner self, disgusted by the despondent dandy slumped in his chair. This image describes the pit falls of excessive self critique, an endless inward spiral of negativity.

REFRACTION is the other side of the coin, when introspection leads to self development and actualization. The joyous feeling, when you’re hard work, and discipline, start affecting how you interact with the world, and the people around you.

These last three prints SURFACE, INSIDE, and OUTSIDE are also presented in series. These prints draw more inspiration from my reading into the chameleon effect, an study that showed people subconsciously mimic those around them.

Each print has a different adhesive paper used under the face, each creating a different effect. My thought process in naming these was simply observing how a change in surface pushed, and pulled, the surface of the image.

I could go deeper into my thoughts on this work, but it’s 1am, and I need to leave a little bit of mystery you know? Anyway, I know my photos were a bit high contrast, so here’s a video showing the work how it’s viewed best, slowly sliding side to side,

On reflection, there are a thousand things I would change about this series, but honestly I don’t know that I’ve ever not felt that way after finishing work on a project. I think it’s what drives me to make bigger and better things every time.

Something I learnt though, I need to test more, I’m way to keen to dive into he finished product, that’s a bad habit. Another is my research phase, in that it should start existing, instead of being something I scramble to realize halfway towards the finish line.

This will most likely be my last post for this semester, after a short holiday break I will be back, reinvigorated, energized, and ready to friggin’ rumble!