Cyanotypes of ‘Where is my mind?’

I have been wanting to get back into the print room, as printmaking is my passion and I haven’t used in my practice in a while, so I decided to get back by firstly using Cyanotype.

The process for cyanotype is great, and I love seeing my designs as negatives, in order to expose them, so the final outcome is the correct way around. The outcome of cyanotype is always different, and only when it’s finished, you can see if it has been done correctly or not – so there’s always an element of risk involved, which is fun.

I used my prints from Fringe Aesthetics, as my designs to print. I used these in order to see them in a different way, I think making the same design with a different process or colour can bring a lot of perspective and new ideas. Below are my outcomes:

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I’m please with my final prints, it’s nice to see the original prints on a smaller scale but still having the same amount of detail. The cyanotypes of my prints made me see them as more medical, perhaps the academic history of the blue print is why, or seeing them to a correct size, that a doctor would print a brain scan.

Although, I did cyanotype for the purpose of the process and outcome, the aspect that stood out to me was in fact the negative print outs, used to cast the images on the the light sensitive coated paper. They really resemble brain scans and x-rays to me, as that’s what they have basically become – I intend to use these as points of reference in order to take them bigger and develop my prints further:

 

Something Blue / Preparation for ULTRA exhibition

I am part of an upcoming exhibition at Bloc projects in a few weeks, titled; ULTRA. The connective theme for this show is all the works produced by the 5 artists involved, is to be the colour blue.

It’s clear from my blog, that I rarely use colour and my normal palette is black and white, so using blue in my work was quite difficult as there is no connection to my context of mortality and fear.

From this, I decided to use this artwork and exhibition to experiment with the record idea, in the hopes that I would finally conclude whether to push my work to be reflective of brain scans or vinyl records.

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I have used a mixture of dark navy blue and a lighter, more electric blue. I have used these colours from a reference image of a limited edition clear blue splattered vinyl, so the suggestion of ‘one-off’ and speciality comes through from the piece.

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Vinyl record I used as a reference for my print.

I have printed on acetate, so it will look slightly shiny on a wall, but still clear – as though it is printed onto the wall, without doing so.

The finished outcome:

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I have used Metallica’s song, Fade to Black, in the print, which is a song about death and one i used in my previous prints. The paint is a mixture of PVA glue and acrylic paint, to achieved a shine on the print so it would suggest a vinyl record and i’m really pleased with this combination and how it looks on the acetate, I feel this is an improvement from the paper i have used previously.

I’m still really unsure on my thoughts toward this piece, I really like how it looks and the textures but as for the context of the vinyl record, I feel a disconnect and the pieces where I am investigating the brain and thoughts are stronger compared to this.

None-the-less, I am still going to present this piece in ULTRA, and await feedback from peers and tutors, even though I am sure I will not be continuing with the vinyl record influence.

 

Pushing the Record Idea

In a tutorial, it was suggested to me that I push my work to be more focused on vinyl records and music, rather than brain scans and thoughts. My tutor explained that when viewing my prints, they only saw records and the texture and lines of text screamed vinyl records.

As of right now, I am uncertain which way to take my work, so from this suggestion I experimented with the reference of vinyl records, as my practice is influenced by music and i feel this shouldn’t go unnoticed.

 

I firstly produced my own ‘vinyl record LP’. I used the LP sleeve of Nirvana;’s album; Nevermind, and used one of my favourite printing processes, Cyanotype to create the record sleeve. For the record, I produced 2 cyanotypes; one of the front of the the LP, the other of the back. I then cut and constructed them into the sleeve

With reference to my own records, I then made the record in sleeve using paper and finally placed one of my laser cut, acrylic records inside to finish the piece.

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As an object, I’m really impressed with the likeness to a real record, mine is the size of a 7″ LP. It’s a really tactile piece and it has interest, but as an artwork I don’t feel it works. This was only ever an experiment, which I hoped would inspire me further, but unfortunately it hasn’t.

 

I also produced a record with laser cut, but using blue acrylic. I also made my own label using laser cut on paper and using my own words. The idea behind this was to suggest a limited edition record, in which some of them have colour in the vinyl. I intended the idea of a ‘one-off’ piece to be portrayed.


I feel at a loss with both of these experiments and the idea of making my work about the vinyl record. My work about thoughts and looking into the brain scan reference is stronger than the influence of records, I feel a connection with my own interpretation of  CT head scans and my fears are truly realised in those works, they are more personal and the brain is a much richer reference point.

Although I am still lost, I feel more confident with the brain scan ideas and work – and doing these works surrounding records has been helpful for me to make that decision.

Cone Prints / Vinyl Record

As my work is influenced by my adoration for music, the text in some of my prints have song lyrics in them. The songs I have used are by my favourite artists and are about death which helps me understand and make sense of death in many ways. The circular motif has often been referred to as resembling a vinyl record from the shape and the circle gap in the middle.

As a means to further suggest the use and context of music in my work, it was suggested to me that I make the paint I print with, more like a vinyl record – so making the paint thicker and shiny.

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To achieve this I added PVA glue to thick acrylic paint, as when dry it would achieve a slight shine, and when printing black on black would have a subtle but very noticeable difference from the different textures.


I’m pleasantly surprised with the finished outcome, when I printed this initially, I had very low hopes for an effective finish because it was so difficult to print form the addition of the glue. However, I think the PVA and acrylic create a really heavy consistency that is comparable to the vinyl of a record, so i’m pleased with the visual of the piece.


As for the context of the music being pushed, i’m not sure this is as successful as my prints towards the CT head scans. With the head scans, I feel I can connect to an overall context, with the music lead idea, I think something is lost – maybe the anxiety I feel and the emotion I have toward death.

I think I will have to re-consider which direction I want to take my work in, and possibly re-visit this textural process.

Cone Print / Song Length

It was suggested to me that I could add subliminal context to my prints with song lyrics as the text, by expressing the length of the song through the period I spin the cone. With my other prints, I rotate the cone once so the full circle is formed, however with this experiment, I will be spinning the cone for the length of a song.

For both these experiments, I used the song ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ by Blue Oyster Cult. Below is a print, where I spun the cone from the start of the 5.10 minute song to the end, spinning the cone 81 times in total, as the paint thinned to nothing on the cone, I was simply rotating the cone, creating the slightest of blur on the previous paint prints.

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I then spun the cone for less time, and made the print only for the length of verse that features on the cone, for only 1.72 minutes, which produced a less blurred print with the text slightly more visible than the above one:

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I’m really interested in how constantly spinning the cone has created an obvious swirl image, that is not present in my original prints. These now replicate a spinning record to me, which has successfully achieved the idea of adding more of a music context to the prints, and I may return to this particular process in the new semester.

 

All photos taken by myself.

Cone Prints / Negative Experiment

In one of my tutorials, it was suggested to me that I do a negative print of one of my original prints, so it would be a series of two prints – both the opposite of each other. I decided to do this by making a normal cone print with white paint on black paper, and then glue string into the carved text in the cone and print this with black paint on white paper. Below is the result:

These prints both use the same cone, with the words ‘AVOID VOID’ continually around it. It’s really strange to see these two together, because each print shows what the other print is missing and they have completely different feels to them. Removing the text and putting it on it’s own has created a dynamic feel to me, because before this exercise I was unaware that the text was so absent from the normal print.

The isolated text has a positive feel to it, where as the normal cone print feels quite draining and macabre, these two prints really make me question and they baffle me, which is an aspect I love and it makes sense in terms of my context of uncertainty.

 

With the prints below, I took the isolated text print, and edited it to become a negative of the original – which creates a double negative of the original cone print.

These prints make me think of concrete poetry, where a body of text is shaped into an image that reflect the content of the text. The idea of my prints contemplating death, and my thoughts being continuous, so the idea of my print becoming concrete poetry makes sense with my context.

I’m really pleased with both sets of prints and how they come across, and i feel they are worth exploring further in the future. I think in terms of time, they need more consideration and i want to take time with this, so they wouldn’t be pieces to show at the interim show, but maybe coming back to them in semester 2. Doing these prints has also suggested bringing digital art into my work, but again this would need to planned as I would need workshops or time to experiment with different programmes.

Music / Creating my own piece of text

For my set of 9 prints, i already had 4 with few words and 4 using song lyrics, all 8 would be the outer prints in my 3 x 3 square. The only print left was the middle and for this one, i wanted to bring the essence and words of the other print in but as one, to represent the rapid overthinking i do when i think about death. Below is what i composed using a mixture of my own words and some of the essential lyrics from the 4 songs i chose:

Everlong is neverlong,
So I am going, I am just going, I am gone,
There is nothing more for me,
needed the end to set me free,
yesterday never existed,
death greeted me warm,
now I say goodbye,
I’m not here, not there, not anywhere,
He appeared saying don’t be afraid,
come on baby,
I had no fear,
I ran to him,
we started to fly,
come on,
Don’t fear the reaper,
Avoiding the void,
This time there was no sound to hide behind,
we’re all battling fear,
oh dear,
i don’t know why we are here,
oh my,
too deep,
please stop thinking,
I have these thoughts too often but now I just sit in silence.

 

I’m really please with how it reads and i feel it does convey my overthinking and thought process when i think about death, more so than the other prints. I feel as though this will be the most poignant print and I plan to write up the cone, which will allow for more text to be carved into the cone, i’m really excited to see the outcome of this particular piece.