One of the happiest moments in my life is when scent of a freshly opened tube of etching ink is spreading through the air and a new etched Toyobo plate is in front of me. The dark, dark heart of mine 😉
The Arts Weekend Kinsale is coming to an end. I had a photogravure demo and one of my paintings were in the Philip Gray’s gallery for the exhibition. All in all, I think it went pretty good and some happy ladies went home with a piece of finished photogravure print. I joined the event in the last minute but for the next time I’ll be better prepared (I hope).
I am participating in the Magnum Photography Awards with my photogravure Meeting Point, which is part of my new portfolio sale of six original photogravure photographs: https://www.silaart.com/product/special-edition-portfolio-sixies-photogravure/
If I win the prize on Magnum competition, that portfolio will be worth triple and even more. That is the rule of the market, silly isn’t it?! And if you have “the nose” you can buy it now and earn a lot later.
“Meeting Point, between past and present, photographic history and photographic present. I use traditional photographic techniques and implement them in a digital world. Meeting point is a photopolymer photogravure photograph. It is Ireland with it’s ageless play between the ocean and the land, meeting point. It is slow, handmade process that leaves deep relief on paper from the heavy printing press, the same way as sea slowly but powerfully makes ridges in the land.”
This morning I want to tell you a few words about owning and desiring original work of art. I have a feeling that people these days don’t know the feeling of supporting something good, something that you believe in to, the pleasure of knowing that you didn’t throw away your money on something that you will discard as trash in a week, maybe month. I am talking about the class, style, the stuff that I was taught in Zagreb in an era where we still had an expression “Vienna school” meaning “de bon ton”, in good taste. The expression would cover among other, the taste for art. Reproductions, kitsch, something that you can buy in a supermarket, meaningless artwork would be considered displeasing and very “no, no”. Looking at artwork only on the Internet, browsing, clicking, and never actually touching, hanging on your wall, admiring from “afar” instead from “up close and personal”. It’s like falling in love with a virtual person, never to touch, never to engage. Constant browsing is not paying attention to anyone in particular. It’s meaningless and empty, very dissatisfying.
Recently, I bought an artwork from the photographer Matthew Marrash. It was one of his photographs that I spotted on the Internet that caught my attention. He works with contact printing from 8×10 negatives. It is a handmade work of art. I wanted to have that piece in my hand so I can actually touch the paper, see the light on the photograph up close and personal and most of all I wanted to support a fellow photographer who believes as I do, that an original, hand made, photograph, taken with film is one of a kind.
Working on the printmaking press and with ink is the most basic thing. Since the 15th century printmakers were using printing presses. It was only logical that in the 19th century printmaking becomes one of the methods to produce photography. Together they create beautiful artworks.
I am continuing with my small edition printing. Only 4 of each negative are printed as a photogravure. Mainly I use sepia, with a touch of black colour from Charbonnel and it is Aqua Wash ink. For me it works perfectly. They are long lasting ink paints.
All my prints need to be dried yet and then I can scan them. For now, just some quick snapshots.
This morning, I don’t even remember how, I end up reading text about Art Nouveau, Ramon Garcia-Bragado:
“Art Nouveau- Whatever the case, each was based on a desire to break with the past, to overcome traditional academic canons and seek new, original concepts and forms that looked to the future. At the same time, however, they were also movements inspired by the past and each country’s specific traditions, thus striving to recover their own history and legends. This was one of the main reasons why each movement was different. This apparent contradiction was also carried over into the way works were carried out. On the one hand, new techniques and materials could be used thanks to constant investigation but, on the other hand, there was also a painstaking recovery of ancient artisan traditions in ironwork, glass, carpentry, ceramics and other fields.
Another common feature of Europe’s different Art Nouveau movements was an identification with nature, an approach that went much further than the use of forms and materials, because it was in fact a firm commitment to the quality of life and health of citizens. This can be especially seen in architecture, where natural light and the possibilities of ventilation was maximised to the full in each building and room. It might also seem contradictory that all the new technologies of the day were being introduced at the time, such as gas, electric lighting, elevators, running water and sewage systems, etc. But today we know that a quality of life implies a wise balance between a respect for nature and the use of cutting-edge technologies. In this way, these modernists were indeed pioneers.”
Great text, great art movement, but that wasn’t the reason to post it here with my post concerning my new achievements in photogravure. It is the part where Art nouveau connects and respects traditional handmade craft, ancient artisan traditions, and then uses new materials, new ways with old knowledge. That is my idea, my notion, the same feeling, in 21st century. Old and new work together and create new high quality, one of kind, pieces of art.
Place: Garrylucas, Kinsale, Ireland
I used a direct-to-plate printing method. The how-to-knowledge of the method was kindly shared with me by the wonderful Australian artist, Silvi Glauttauer. Toyobo plates and Epson printer SCP600, saved me fiddling with transparency film and vacuum exposure box. This way, the positive is printed directly on the plate and exposed under UV light, developed in water. Ink that I use is Charbonnel Aqua wash. Paper is for printmaking from Hahnemuhle. Photographing it with film, developed traditionally with chemicals, then scanning the modern way, printing with printer, and back to the old traditional printmaking with ink and printmaking press.
I made only 4 sepia photographs and 1 black carbon. That is it. Archival, handmade, one of a kind. They are for sale.
Yesterday I finished the Advanced Photopolymer Printmaking weekend course with Johnny Bugler at Cork Printmakers. It helped me clear my own perplexities about the process and we did an introduction into experimentation with acid etching, spit bite, etc. I am posting a few of my prints, and sadly I shot it with my phone camera and you can’t see the difference in paper colour or/and ink colour. Later this week, when I regain my strength, I’ll try to scan them.
I tried something new, a wood plate print. It is amazing as the texture of the wood is seen on the photographic print. We used Riston polymer film and the wood was plain plywood.