Printing techniques for Evocation and Seeing the wild

 

Right from the outset during my MA in 2012 I knew that I didn't want to print these images as straight photographic prints. I knew I wanted them to be large, because one of the functions of the images was to convey emersion into abstracted detail, the kind of detail only a manipulated digital image can create.

It occurred to me that both paintings and traditional photographic prints had physicality. This sense of texture that feels tactile (even if you are not touching it). Haptic visuality my tutor called it. 

I don't consider the images in Seeing the wild or Evocation as photographs. They are derivatives of photographs, but their manipulation through the digital technology available has turned them back into creative visual exploration. If you would want to give them a canon, I guess you could call them expressionist. Instead of using paint or inks, in this case I have used the basis of a digital photograph and combined it using digital photography techniques in Photoshop to become something else.

As digital artworks the display required something that set off their purpose whilst retaining their photographic visuality. Through my work at the University of West London I had the opportunity to explore the craft of this using my old A3 inkjet and then, when I had settled on a way forward, the large format printers at the university.

I first used epoxy resin to coat the inkjet images, as seen here at our MA interim show in 2012. This gave a glazed glassy impression that I was pleased with. I did however want to see how far interacting with inkjet prints went.

Some experiments didn't end well, just a inky mess, however I soon found that underpainting with acrylic and then coating with Golden Digital Ground worked well to add a certain level of texture, as you can see here with an image of my sister on her farm (the underpainting and inkjet ink working well together to subvert the final image).

Eventually with the Evocation tryptic I settled on 100 x 80 centimetre images printed with an acrylic base and digital ground on Arches Aquarelle paper. The process was very tricky and I had to get the printer on just the right settings. I also found that slightly dampening the paper on the back flattened out the paper and stopped the printer head from catching on the print.

 

When I exhibited the images I held them off the wall some way with spacers so they floated, this also gave the natural 'cockle' (wave) of the print some room to do its thing. You can see this here at the Shifting Focus exhibition in Berlin in 2016.

Along with these images I produced three, one off, hand made books depicting edits and the process of 'evocation', you can see the book on the plinth here. You can also see full pdf's of the books on the individual Evocation pages - Pendle hill, Woodchester Park and Cannock Chase.

I would have dearly liked to have these images all mounted in museum box frames professionally but didn't have the money to do so at the time. Subsequently I have managed to arrange this and they hang proudly in various places (unfortunately not in the same location).

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