Collaboration with talented artist and great friend Michael Ackerman.
Over the course of two days, we printed a couple dozen of these with severely intentional lack of planning. Both passes were made using screen drawing fluid, so no computers were involved. We wanted to, quite literally, get our hands dirty.
The first pass involved us simultaneously painting, splattering, stamping and more on one screen. We then coated with screen filler, washed out the drawing fluid, and had our stencil. After deciding on a crop for the black paper size we decided on, we printed the first color, a moderately subtle gunmetal.
Using the same process as the first color, I painted the “THINGS” type of the second pass and did our best to line it up.
'THINGS' comes from a long list of difficult to explain phrases that would most definitely socially isolate us from what is commonly known as “normal.” Mike is one of my college roommates from which the phrase was born, so it seemed fitting we attempt to express it on paper. I'd say we both failed and succeeded at the same time. Things.
Starting with simple color blends, pre-loading the screen with ink splatter, and spritzing with water to distress the ink, we quickly began to think outside the screen and use other objects to spread ink. Mike being new to the screen printing process, it was great to see what techniques arose.
We proceeded to get weird with paint, experimenting in a borderline nonsensical way. Kyle’s brother came along the second day of printing to lend a hand… hands make for great squeegees, right? Wrong. They do not.
Michael Ackerman and I have been talking about collaborating on a piece for a while now, and I’m excited how we made it happen in a very carefree, unplanned way. And because of mixing all that ink, popping bubbles revealed quite the wallpaper-worthy array of cosmos…
Plus, now we have all sorts of weird, one-of-a-kind prints to give as gifts. Don’t tell anyone though. It’s a surprise.
Don’t forget to check out Michael Ackerman's work and blog, he blows me away every time he sends me new pieces. Just look at that damn clown!
This tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ 36x24” is a 2-color print on bright white paper with fluorescent red ink made for the JDK Gallery Visions Exhibition, presented by Last Days Press.
The scene was built entirely in Blender using historical photographs as reference. When possible, I try to incorporate my digital 3D skills into my workflow, and this print was a great project to learn more about simulating trees and using particle systems.
These large hand-pulled screen prints are a very limited edition of 10. These will be for sale tonight at the gallery opening, before they become available in the online shop!
Updates to this post are to come, featuring glowing imagery from the show…
"Printing pixels" had been a growing concept in my head for a while, and in general, the contrast between digital and analog. I tapped into my nostalgia for classic video games as a source of inspiration, and selected original 8bit characters to abstract into geometric compositions.
For such a digital-centric design, it was very important to me to use completely analog printing methods. All of the films for the series were hand-cut out of rubylith, and meticulously aligned for a perfect registration.
The decision to focus on abstraction was influenced by some recent, difficult changes in my life. The long process of creating dozens of compositions by manipulating pixels, breaking grids, shattering shapes, fixing grids… all proved very therapeutic and I believe, produced much better work.
There was a fantastic turnout at the Raised on Paper Opening and it was exciting to see all of the art and energy around each artist’s series! Huge thanks to everyone who came out.
If you’re in the BTV area, get down to the JDK Gallery this week!
Raised on Paper comes down this Friday, August 31st.
For the past five months I’ve been part of a screen printing workshop with Iskra Print Collective, learning the basics and exploring and pushing the tools and techniques. You may have even been following along with my process blog posts or photos on instagr.am as I documented each print, and shared what I’ve learned along the way.
The culmination of the class is a gallery show Raised on Paper opening this Friday, August 17th at the JDK Gallery, where my series will be on display (and for sale!) alongside other original artwork from the workshop.
The post on Iskra’s blog describes the theme best:
They tapped into their childhood dreams and nightmares to bring you this - the physical reminder that we might just be the last generation raised on paper.
Without giving my series away, I’ll leave you with a few words and phrases: printing pixels, abstracted nostalgia, analog/digital translation, macro/micro/modern.
If you’re near the Burlington area,
be sure to check out the show and buy some art!
Iskra Print Collective Presents: Raised on Paper
This 3-color print measures 9x9” and is along the same lines as the previous print, but explores abstraction of the content.
Holding accurate registration was particularly difficult. The 0.25” pixels saw a very minimal light leak during exposure, creating the white gap between colors. This gap is about half of a millimeter, something very hard to compensate for at such a small scale.
With these pixelated prints, it has been very important to me to make them as analog as possible. The last print was made from cut black paper, this time it was all cut from rubylith.
This print helped me decide that these pixels are simply too small.
Time to go big.
The next MINT update is on its way, along with an exciting business card design I finished up this week.
2-color print of the world’s most famous plumber, hand cut from paper, meticulously aligned printing registration.
The print above, my favorite out of the bunch, is one-of-a-kind mess up. The brown pass didn’t make full contact, leaving a unique wood grain texture.
Most of the prints turned out as follows, with full and crisp ‘pixels’, though only a select few aligned so perfectly.
As I learned from a previous print, I had to try my hand at rotating the paper to see what happened. The answer is… Mario el Luchadores.
I’ve recently been infatuated with this idea of printing pixels. Bringing something so digital and temporary into an analog, tangible medium is very interesting. Depending on the size, proportions, and colors, the pixels instead become recognized as abstract sets of squares.
This print resonated with me and will become a point of influence for my final print series for our gallery show. Expect even more fresh cuts of pixels… some smaller, and some larger. Much larger.
If you haven’t been following along, the recent screen prints have been part of an explorative screen printing workshop with Iskra Print Collective.
The art in this print was modified from a stunning image of the Pinwheel Galaxy taken by the Hubble Telescope (NASA).
Click for large detail and/or a great wallpaper!
The inks used are pearl blue glow-in-the-dark and fluorescent green. To get them to show up over black, I ended up adding a bit of white to each.
Initially it was meant to be a three color print, experimenting with printing black under — and over — glow and neon inks. After some research and tests, it turns out glow in the dark ink needs a white backing to reflect off of, otherwise most of the glow gets absorbed into the black abyss of the paper medium.
For this reason, both the fluorescence and glow effects were stronger when printed on creme paper.
Demonstrated effect of fluorescent ink on creme paper under a black light.
So to be honest, this print is a result of of a massive surprise accident. I planned to crash the images over each other and crop it after… until I turned the paper around…
…and this happened.
This was a great reminder that sometimes the best work doesn’t come from planning, but experimentation and the willingness to make mistakes.
"Don’t think, just make."
The art from this print was composed using photocopies from a 1954 newspaper found in an old barn in Cornish, NH.
Honestly, the art says so much, I decided to keep colors straightforward with a soft pink for women topped with a blood red for meat.
To add some extra icing, I hand cut custom type out of black paper for the MEAT & WOMEN art, which ended up being incredibly subtle. As a test, I mixed in a little white halfway through, but it ended up looking like dried milk. The clear looks much better.
Meat & Women. The 1954 American Dream.
The next screen print launches into space and puts some less common inks to the test.
This print didn’t turn out exactly as I expected, but such is exploration and the creative process. In the end, I think I ended up with a better result. But first, some science!
The camoflauge of a cuttlefish is unparalleled in the natural world. I first saw them at the New England Aquarium and the extent to which they can hide is rather amazing.
The cuttlefish’s camoflauge works using two layers of skin: an outer layer of pigmented chromatophores shows red, yellow, brown and black tones, and an inner layer of iridophores and leucophores that reflect blue and green light. In one square millimeter of skin, there are up to 200 individual pigment cells to control (which equates to 359 DPI for you print fans), and can even change its skin texture from smooth to rough by using muscles in its dermis, so the amount of detail the camouflage can achieve is very impressive.
Taking science as direct inspiration, the first color of this print is a blend of blue/green, and a second pass of yellow/red blend over it. The third and final color is a mix of clear gloss and white to subtley mask the shape of the cuttlefish.
For this print I used a combination of screen filler and drawing fluid, dripping the dots and painting the cuttlefish and background. After washing out the drawing fluid (seen in blue), I had my screen. No emulsion needed this time around.
You’ll also notice a W-shaped pupil in the print. The cuttlefish has very advanced eyes, that can see in low light, pick up polarized light to boost contrast, and even increase image magnification.
While we humans reshape our lenses in order to focus on specific objects, the cuttlefish moves its lenses by reshaping its entire eye.
Meanwhile, us humans hang curved pieces of glass on our faces and stick plastic in our eyes to see better… pretty incredible.
If you want to learn more about the cuttlefish, check out this great post about the Anatomy of a Cuttlefish by NOVA, and be sure to take 3 minutes and watch this video to see real cuttlefish change their skin.