Printmaking Exchange 2014 – ‘Let this be a sign’

Back in 2014 I took part of print exchange organised by Brooklyn Art Library. There’s another one you can find out about this year (see link below)

www.sketchbookproject.com/challenges/printexchange

The theme of the exchange was ‘Let this be a sign’, and the only constraint was that it needed to fit on a A5 piece of paper or card, and I needed to send 12 copies. In return I would receive 10 prints from other participants in the exchange…

I was very unwell at the time of coming up with a design/print so it’s not exactly complex or extravagant. In fact it’s a pretty simple design I wanted to use the word ‘love’ but portrayed in a homage to neon signs. Here’s my drawings stages:

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Final design drawing

I didn’t take any photos of the prints I sent but I did one extra print at home and photographed that. I printed in black onto an image from a Laura Ashley catalogue, purely because it looked like a warm homely image and a way of saying ‘I Love home’ or trying to capture that sentiment.

I was trying to depict the light bulbs within the sign but found it looked cleaner with front facing circles instead of a side view of the bulb shape. Anyhow here’s a version of the print:

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Print

 

Lino block

Lino block

I was surprised by the range of prints I received in return. Not only was there great variation in design but also method and colour. It’s been really interesting to see how different people responded to the same brief…

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Kanaporn Phasuk from Bangkok, Thailand

This print is really fascinating. It has a comic like feel with the cartoon like cats, and also I think a reference to Batman? It reminds me of the bat signal or light that is projected to call batman or was it as his marker? The red, white, black colours make it a high contrast, vivid image, again almost cartoon like. The tile ‘Cat’s Eye’ is also allusive, is it a homage to the night vision cats have? Is it a fetish thing? The red and white has an almost ‘red light district’, feel. Maybe that’s reading too much into things…

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Print by: Jeanne Komp from Royersford, PA United States

This print has a real graphic design quality, with the geometric pattern and the typography which sits perfectly balance in the middle. It looks so professional, like the work of an practising designer. Up close it appears to be a letterpress print, the quality is so crisp and clean. The lime green lines in the background really work to create a contrast against the blue and white central diamond like shape. Feels quite a privilege to have received that in the post from a stranger!

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Print by: Cheryl Ramette from Portland, OR United States

I think this print is a monoprint of several layers? Perhaps with the dark layer being a lino print, but it has a painterly feel which I imagine being created as a monoprint. It’s called ‘Canal’. I like the sense of light throughout, you can see the light reflecting on the water but also on the sides of the canal. There’s a sense of a warm glow. Interesting too that the paper itself is a sort of green/blue tint (for want of a better word). I wonder how different that light would’ve looked printed on a crisp white or cream paper, probably not as inviting?

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Print by: Tricia Lane-Forester from Essex, MD United States

This print has quite a chaotic feel to it, maybe just the clash of colours makes it feel dynamic or restless. The yellow lines look almost like a grid or block structure, maybe a mechanical wheel in the right hand side? The rough quality of the ink on the paper adds to a feeling of ambiguity, asides from the Bell shape nothing else seems certain/easily definable. This isn’t me saying that’s a bad thing just wondering what do I see, are there visual clues or is it meant to be confusing? What would someone else see?

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Print by: Faz from Dallas, TX United States

The print above has a really delicate quality, I think it’s the light blue and the fine lines. It feels like a water colour painting rather than a print. It’s good to see a subtle printing technique as often it can be bold and stamp like. I was trying to figure out if the shapes were origami folds and if they were trying to create a message?

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Print by: Servanne Briand from Palo Alto, CA United States

This print is fascinating up close, it looks as though embedded into the print are some organic material, like flowers or seed cases. The black shapes look like organic or bacterial forms, reminds me of what you might see under a microscope. The red and black create a strong contrast and seem almost warning or make me think of being in a state of ‘high alert’ or danger. Not sure if that’s the intention but that’s what I see in it.

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Print by: Mary Low from Nercwys, Flintshire United Kingdom

The print above was certainly the most shocking of the prints. The subject is FGM which, had raised profile in the UK press this year as people campaigned to see an end to the horrific practice among some communities. The print captures the unsettling nature and cruelty of the act, the silhouette is faceless, ‘one of many’, the shape looks like a young girl, again adding to the shock element. The red ink like blood across the page forces you to consider the real harm to real people. I think the silhouette against the text makes the print even more effective because there’s clear communication/definition of the practice. Initially I wanted to not look at the print, but I think that’s actually telling. FGM is not something I’ve been aware of or had personal experience of but that doesn’t mean I should turn a blind eye.

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Print by: Mary Baranowski-Lowden from Wakefield Quebec, Canada

I don’t really know where to begin with the print above! It’s beautiful in it’s fine details and the hints of colour. At first I wondered if it was a monoprint with chine colle and watercolour. But now I think it might be a copper plate etching with added chine colle, watercolour highlights. It’s interesting how the circle draws you in, with that beige tissue, and the blue eggs of the middle. But the image is balanced by the little red breasts of the birds which draw the eye around the print. The artist has added the title ‘… of spring’ which I think is a hint to the subject ‘let this be a sign of spring’, new birds hatching etc. It’s also interesting how the delicate lines and colours reflect the delicate matter, egg’s are inherently fragile.

Here’s a close up:

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Close up of print by: Mary Baranowski-Lowden

The print below has a retro feel. Partly it’s the image of an old camera that creates that, but I think the blue dots are a retro reminder. In a close up photo of the print you’ll notice a person captured in the lens of the camera. There’s an anonymity to the figure, sunglasses on, so you can’t see the eyes/expression. I think its a clever way to draw the viewer closer into the image. I’m not sure what the link is to the theme, is it a ‘sign of the times’, is the person in the image someone the artist knows or an icon or figure head?

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Print by: Mesh Printing from Daegu, South Korea

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Close up of previous print.

This final print is quite intriguing. The uniformity of the dots and how they disappear off the page makes me think again of cells or something organic. The pale pink colour makes me think of the pink associated with gifts for newborn baby girls. Is it about fertility, becoming pregnant? Or is it a proposal acceptance someone saying ‘yes’? The Big dark brown/black ring around the word ‘Yes’ obviously makes it the central focus. But I wonder would the eye have still been drawn to the yes if it had just been sat within the white circle?

Print by: C.Maxx Stevens from Wicita, KS United States

Print by: C.Maxx Stevens from Wicita, KS United States

 

 

 

 

 

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