Some may feel that the information below is entirely self indulgent and I sympathise with enthusiasts who log on to an art web site to look at art rather than read acres of supporting text. I have taken the liberty of adding my thoughts and observations on the development of Printmaking technical processes and the way they have influenced me and the way they may have been influenced by events. To some of you this will be of no interest at all or will not tell you anything new. I have therefore organised the section below to offer the basic information in the first paragraph and the remaining, rather more subjective musing, in a drop down continuation section. Please feel free to dip in or pass on to the next section as you feel appropriate.
I studied Fine Art at Hornsey College of Art where I experimented with most of the traditional and non traditional Fine Art media available at that time including Printmaking and Photography. I eventually built up a body of Print work which earned me a postgraduate place at the Slade School of Fine Art where I specialised in Photographic Silkscreen Printing. After a spell teaching Art Design and Photography in a number of colleges as a lecturer and Head of Art and Design, I now spend all my time producing work inspired by my surroundings, sometimes combined with whimsical themes and ideas and processes that I find interesting.Read More:
None of this is particularly surprising since the conflict between craft and art had been raging since the invention of Photography and probably before, so it is predictable to assume that the introduction of digital media into fine art practice was equally controversial. To be fair, Art Colleges were ready to embrace anything new at that time and I saw Fine Art departments in Colleges setting up areas for alternative media very early on especially for kinetic and media based artwork. Computers were slow clumsy and really basic and even the most futuristic technology based artwork still relied on analogue relays and mechanically powered lighting dimmers so the results often looked more like banal exercises rather than cutting edge aesthetics. But things moved on!!!!!
In Print and Photography the technology took some time to catch up with the expectations of practitioners even though digital domination was seen as inevitable. However, once the technology was available, the speed with which analogue imaging was sidelined by digital was breathtaking. Now everyone with a ‘phone’ is an artist, and thousands make their work available to anyone who can be bothered to look on line. Analogue photography is still practiced, and in some circles is thriving. Time consuming obscure wet processes are used by some to provide a refreshing respite from the instantaneousness of much digital photography. As with all things, new qualities have been rediscovered in what would have once been seen as faults. Look at the revival of Polaroids and the cult popularity of the Lomography. In music the use of vinyl has never been more widespread and super 8 film is now a cult media ( see www.straight8.net/gallery/ for samples of extraordinary films made using a single cartridge of super 8 film, edited in camera with a separate sound track tape synced by pressing the play buttons on tape recorder and projector at the same time ).
Once digital seemed the norm, artists still using analogue photography took pleasure of rising to the challenge of finding new qualities in old technology. Take the Starn twins who made a feature of chemical staining and scratched negatives and mounting using sellotape. They were pioneered in the UK by Saachi in the late 90s and early 20s, but are rarely heard of now. ( I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that their popularity wained once collectors realised that many of these works that they had paid a great deal of money for were chemically unstable and would have a limited life. I still love them!)
Personally, I still value my skills and knowledge of chemical processing and darkroom work as well as traditional intaglio, lithographic and block printmaking, but rarely do any. I also enjoy looking at the work of traditional practitioners and follow their work with enthusiasm. I even continue to draw, and see value in the way it intensifies observation, helps the hands to maintain dexterity and the mind to remain sharp. Now though, more often than not, my drawing is made on a tablet with a digital pencil, but not exclusively. I still love a sharp 6b pencil!
Now, I have a shelf full of Nikon SLR film cameras that are decorative but no longer meet my needs. I now use a heavy, high end Nikon DSLR and a little Leica digital that I can slip into my pocket , plus a wonderful Mac computer, and between them I have everything I need. ( Watch that last sentence come back to bite me!!!! )
It will come as no surprise to discover that my work has been inspired by the Landscape and Natural Form found in Cornwall where I live. In the past I think I overemphasised the link to Landscape. Whist I love Landscape both physically and visually, in truth I will use anything that I find interesting. I have photographed everything from a ball of string to a cat’s skeleton either in situ or in my studio. I am just as happy to use man made as organic form as a starting point for my work. I will use anything that I find interesting.Read More:
The idea of a borders also interests me. In the darkroom I sometimes framed the image by the black line created by including the edges of the negative and in some cases the sprockets. In the past I have distressed these with chemical toners and silver bleach so that the frame is included as a part of the image and becomes more than just a border. I still have some of these images and I have to say that many are still in tact ( so maybe I was being unfair to my earlier reference to the chemical instability of the the Stars twins’ images). I have continued to play with the concept of a border in the digital images and have allowed some of the layers that would have been subsumed into the final picture to extend beyond the frame to form a border yet still be an integral part of the overall image.
Painters like Howard Hodgkin often used canvasses with frames and painted over the frame so they are a part of the picture not just a decorative afterthought.
Silkscreened images are often photographic stencils printed over flat shaped stencils of colour which provides a base. Sometimes these flat colour stencils disappear once the photo stencil has been applied but at other times they are deliberately out of sync and draw the the eye back to what is a flat surface with colour applied. (See Warhol portraits). The process of the construction of the images is not only apparent but is actually the concept behind the image in the first place.
These ideas have interested me and have influenced my work.
Most of my current work is made up of digitally manipulated photographic images which have often been layered and manipulated to create an image that has the essence of the subjects , not necessarily a perfect visual record. They are essentially digital photographs that are unique and should not be confused with printed reproductions of painted originals. They are composed of carefully selected images, taken by me and using a range of digital techniques , combined to produce a final artwork. They are printed in limited editions, each one signed, numbered and dated by myself, to show that the final result is the image that I intended both in concept and quality. I have also included a new section that are C-type photographic images. Details of this process are included below for those who are interested.Read More:
Most of my images here are Digital Archive Prints more commonly known as the Giclee process. This process is relatively new to Fine Art printmaking and uses pigment based archival inks, sprayed in microscopic dots onto an acid free surface, in this case, a high quality Photo Rag paper. The images appear to be in the paper rather than on it. This process is capable of producing very high resolution images that are consistent, have a wide tonal range and colour gamut and a superior archival quality of light fastness and stability. The papers available for this process are much more sympathetic to most of the images that I make, with a matt finish and slight texture.
I have also now included a new gallery of C-Type prints which are actually chemically processed traditional photographic images with a surface to match. However the difference is that instead of the image being projected onto light sensitive paper through a negative in one go using lens and a bulb, they are projected from digital files using a laser scanner that sensitises the paper in lines to expose the photograph, the same way that a Giclee printers (and ink jet printers) spray ink onto the paper in lines to build up the final image. The sensitised paper is then “developed” in a series of chemical baths and the outcome is fixed and washed and dried in the same way that a traditional photographic print is made.
The advantage of this process is that A: very large photograph can be produced economically without the need for huge darkrooms and projectors and B: images can be manipulated before projection with considerably more ease and flexibility and more successfully than would have been the case with traditional darkroom photography.
Artists like Andreas Gursky produce huge C -Type prints that have been subjected to heavy digital manipulation, yet essentially they remain a photograph. The inclusion of this type of digital imagery in a fine art context, and the technical and creative freedom and flexibility that it has offered to artists using photography has had a major impact on art practice in the late 20th and early 21st century.
Whist economic, the process is still expensive, and the price increases exponentially with size. My C-type prints are therefore fairly small!!!
THE CONCEPT OF “LIMITED EDITION”
The origins of prints produced in limited editions lies in a time when a printing plate could only support a limited number of prints without losing quality. As a consequence the lower the number of the edition, the greater chance that it would be at its optimum quality. The number of prints would be limited to the number of prints that could be taken without a significant deterioration in the image quality.
With the invention of photography, the concept of limited edition started to lose its meaning because an almost infinite number of prints can be taken from a carefully processed negative with no loss of quality. With digital images, “limited” has even less meaning yet it has been retained by artists to identify the prints that have been produced under their scrutiny and signed dated and numbered to guarantee the optimum quality of the final work.
The work here is consistently being developed and expanded. The website will be updated periodically to include new work, new themes and new formats. If you have found them interesting please revisit every few months to see where my meandering has taken me.
I have decided to use the site as a way of recording the development of my ideas but I am not a particularly commercial artist and had no wish to set up a major on line mail order business.
Nevertheless, the nature of the what I do, making multiples, lends itself to selling work and I am happy to share it with anyone who to wishes to enjoy something that I have made predominantly for myself. The website will help you to understand the origins of my work and the ranges of inspiration and the experiments that have directly informed its development.
In this manifestation of my website, I have decided, more for my own sake than anything else, to include an ARCHIVAL section to the website that shows older work that I no longer wish to sell as a matter of course. However, if anything that falls with this category that you the viewer wish to purchase, please feel free to contact me and I am sure that we can come to some arrangement.
The images are frequently produced as series from similar sources and sometimes have the same title but with a number. This notation usually reflects the order in which the images were made but not any kind of hierarchy. They also do not necessarily appear on screen as a numerical sequence but are placed so that images appear on screen with visual sympathy. There may also be occasions where a number from a sequence is missing due to selection and editing. Where titles appear in French it usually means that the original source for the image was in France where I spend some time. Apologies if this is confusing but it all make sense to me!
I am now able to offer the facility of supplying prints framed with a limited number of options sizes and frames, which are generally simple and uncomplicated and corresponds to my preferences. However, all prints are also available unframed and either way will be delivered to you securely in robust packaging ASAP. The advantage of buying unframed is that you can arrange the framing yourself to suit your own preference, informed by your knowledge of where the print will be hung and how you want it to look in relation to its surroundings.
The Frames offered here are either Black, White, Grey or Natural Wood and at present are either 50cm x 50 cm or A1 for the Digital Archive Prints, depending on the print and 26cm x 26cm for the C-type images. There is the option for the image to be recessed to the back of the frame (approx 2.5cm) or flush with the glass. The price for the print framed and unframed is clear at the point of sale. This range may be expanded in the future depending on the demand, but if there are any queries I can be contacted through the Contact page.
My own framer can be contacted at http://www.lansonframes.co.uk and will be able to offer a large range of alternative mounts, surrounds and sizes.
All of the prints on this site have been printed in one of 4 sizes, A1, A2, or 50cm square or 26cm square. The sizes for each print is clarified in the text at the end of each section.
The prices for each size has also been standardised as follows:
|26cm x 26cm||– £60 unframed, £90 framed|
|50cm x 50cm||– £160 unframed, £200 framed|
|A2||– £170 unframed, £210 framed|
|A1||– £180 unframed, £230 framed|
Should you wish to purchase any print you can go to the purchase page by clicking on the word purchase and you will be taken to the appropriate page where all of the options and prices will be clarified. You have the option of completing your purchase either through PayPal or by debit or credit card
Further examples of my earlier work as well as some of my earlier projects can be found in photo books at the links below which will open in a separate window :