In today’s studio session we learned how to make minature concertina books. I chose to use some lovely Tim Holtz paper printed with a vintage looking map, and other sheets of paper with stamps, and letters from license plates of cars.
I started by covering two pieces of card for the front and the back of the “book” and then folded a piece of paper to make a concertina pattern with a pocket running along one side. To further accentuate the vintage feel of my book, I used scrunched up grease-proof paper to cover the concertina paper. I then attached the covers of the book.
Keeping with the map and travel theme, I made “travel tags” out of aluminium cans and attached printed paper with a stamp pattern. I then put these in the pockets on one side of the concertina book. On the other side of the book, I used the licence plate letters to spell out “see the world”. Unfortunately I got a bit ahead of myself and put the words backwards, so they read correctly from the front of the book, but when it is open and you read left to right, it reads “world the see” which doesn’t have quite the same effect!
Well I can honestly say I will probably never bind my own book again. It was a laborious and time consuming process, and didn’t give the fabulous result I had hoped for. It’s one of those skills that I suppose is useful to have so that at a push I could create my own sketchbook, or bind some art work together. But, papercraft and the likes is not really my cup of tea. Not to mention that using a needle and thread resulted in many ouches and holes in my fingertips!
We followed a YouTube tutorial by Sea Lemon and started by cutting 16 pieces of paper to size. I chose various textured paper, and parchment. I also chose paper that was ready printed with a pattern. These were then organised into 4, four page signatures. Each signature was folded in half and then measured. Holes were punched with an awl at 1 inch intervals down the “spine” of the signature. Using a needle and thread, the signature is then threaded together. When this is finished the second signature is attached on top. This is threaded the same way, but each loop is attached to the signature below. Once all four are connected, the “spine” is brushed with 2 layers of PVA glue and set to dry. Once this is dry, a piece of card is cut and attached over the spine to secure it.
Problems I encountered in the process included the paper being uneven, so I had to trim the book down at the end. Also the piece of card I used was not long enough so the spine looks a little exposed. Once this process is finished, there are additional YouTube tutorials on how to create a cover and properly bind the book.
According to Wikipedia, monoprinting is a style of printmaking where the images and lines are used only once. This is unlike linocut and polytile printing where there are several original prints.
In order to make mono-prints. I used to the same ink as I used for the polytile and linocut printing. I started with teal, then added purple and finally yellow to create contrast but I wanted to print with vibrant, candy-like colours. Colours that are seen in graffiti and in street art. My concept for the project is going to be based around street art, and a code or hidden message in street art, leading back to my final piece which will be the artist book. I’m not exactly sure how to go about this but I love the idea of audience involvement rather than just observation. But I digress.
Monoprinting. I started with an initial idea related to the brief. Dot Dash. I found a picture of a King Charles Spaniel (Queen Victoria had a dog named Dash) and then found an online converter to create the picture out of dots.
After all that, I decided to do my take on Lichtenstein’s spray can. and I produced abstract prints of a spray can.
And then I started playing around with colours, and drawing into the ink on the perspex rather than laying the paper down and then drawing the image on top. This creates a negative effect, but is really abstract and impressive when there are more than one or two colours.
Then I started painting ink onto the perspex before I printed it onto paper. And adding more ink onto the prints to accentuate colours and lines.
After experimenting with monoprinting, I used a variety of textured material to create prints and markings using the press. I started with fur material, woolen material with holes in, foil, and also hay. I covered the hay with inked tissue paper so the hay did not stick to my print. I don’t think it was a success, but it was worth experimenting.
I tried to create the shape of a spray can with the various textures, and with some more experimentation it could be successful. I would need to use different materials perhaps, and layer the colours up in stages. I would also like to experiment with collagraph printing.
Dot. Dash. Beyond the book. Artist Book. Immediately I think of morse code. It’s too obvious though. Books and codes, morse, hidden meanings, it’s right up my street but it’s far too obvious. I don’t think I could do the idea justice in artist-book form.
I assumed that artist books were bound versions of a portfolio, and was pleasantly surprised I was wrong. According to the V&A an artist book is a book “made or conceived by artists”. Well erm, thanks for that! It seems to be that an artist book can be a book, or not a book. The word ‘book’ is whatever the artist wants it to be.
Our first class regarding the new brief, we looked into communication. Rather, how to convey a message. Each of us wrote down the last text message we received and they were then rearranged to create a story. I’ve chosen to present my “story” in three ways in my sketchbook (pictures to follow). First in a collaborative piece, then by sending the messages from one phone to another to create a screenshot as if it was a ‘live’ message conversation, and the third I’ve translated the messages into different languages. I guess I’m stuck on the idea of code, and a message being hidden. I am also interested in the idea of context, and how something can have a specific meaning but if used in a different context it is meaningless. I want to research this further for my sketchbook and project.
Conceptually I want to think outside the box. I want to do something grand, something creative and something that people remember. I struggle with doubting my artistic ability so I want to try and compensate for that with my ideas. After thinking about how to go about the project, and rejecting the morse code idea, I watched a Banksy documentary. I love street art and graffiti, and whilst it’s not something I’ve ever done, it is something I really would like to do. So I’m going to combine the idea of street art, with a code. I’ve been researching QR codes, and I think I’m going to create an image, maybe even a brand. like Shepard Fairey did with Obey, or Invader did with space invader imagery.)
Part of the project is visual merchandising and marketing, and I believe I can combine the two. So my product isn’t really a product, it’s more of a tag and a brand. But the very act of stenciling it in public places is marketing. I was also thinking that the code, or puzzle hidden in my pieces around the city, could lead to the final piece… An artist book. It’s a bit ambitious and will be labor intensive and time consuming but I am very excited about the project.
I need to register a website, research street artists, do some test pieces and sketches, contact a lot of people about both the art work, artists books and also marketing.
Stay tuned for more news on the project itself!
Well that is a suitably pretentious title I think. I wasn’t content with just the brief header as my title, I felt that it needed a little more, just to make sure the audience grasped my concept a little easier. I’ve taken some inspiration from the shadow factories of Longbridge, where coincidentally I attend college. So I’ve made a sort of brick wall, covered in camouflage paint to reference the war time. The brick wall is scattered with tanks and little toy army soldiers, again the reference the war time. Tanks and planes were made in the Longbridge factories during the second world war.
I was asked why I chose blue and red for the numbers. And was it a reference to the blue and red on either the British or American flag (The US Ghost Army was a huge reference point in my piece). My initial idea was to use two primary colours, perhaps a reference to the fact each number is a prime number. The numerical equivalent of a prime number? I prefer the reference to the flags but in all honesty blue and red were just the first colours that came to mind when I was choosing paint.
The building process for this piece was fairly simple. I started with a piece of hardboard as a base, and made bricks out of clay. Each brick was made individually and then attached to the board using tile adhesive. In retrospect this was a terrible idea as the pieces got all jumbled and it was like a puzzle putting all the pieces back together to make a brick wall. I then used matte spray paint in army camouflage colours to paint the whole piece. Before painting, pieces of toy tanks and planes were submerged in the clay. Toy soldiers were also used to make sure the audience grasped the war reference. This may have been a little too obvious but it added more substance to the background. I had initially planned to include a dada style poem of the dictionary definition of confirmation bias in the final piece but I left this would have made the piece too cluttered.
Making the numbers was not as straight forward as I’d anticipated. I purchased foil balloons and used plaster of paris bandages instead of my initial idea of paper mache. Once the plaster had dried I added more mixed plaster to smooth the surface over, then cut the inflatable nozzles of a pair of waterwings and attached them to each number. The numbers were then spray painted. Spray paint was used for ease, and the appropriate colours were available easily. Both plaster, and the clay bricks needed one coat of paint, the numbers were then covered in lacquer to appear shiny and more balloon like.
Words cannot express how excited I was when I got to make a little clay brick in class. Ok, tone down the sarcasm. I was pretty psyched though. I like getting messy and creating things, but my artistic talent probably isn’t on the same level as my enthusiasm. Nevermind that, who needs talent when you have confidence and a healthy dose of artistic pretentious arrogance? Not this guy!
So clay. Lovely, cool, dusty slightly crispy at times, clayyyy. We were given enough air-dry clay to make a 12x12cm brick and then told to go for it and make it pretty. I chose to stuck other bits of clay on top rather than draw in it. I measured, and cut, and stuck little bricks on, made a clay version of the airplanes I’ve been drawing for my project and, actually I think it turned out OK. I found that if you draw on a piece of paper and then roll a piece of clay over it, the pencil comes off and you can easily cut around your design. I don’t know if that’s counted as cheating, or just being a good idea, but it worked for me.
Pics of my clay tile thing to follow.