Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2 of 7 projects at the GSA, #1 and #2 in preparation for my first graduate school crit

Here is verbatim what I am thinking of presenting at my first graduate school crit:

This semester I took advantage of the printmaking studios and have created two bodies of work that have always had a relationship.
1. Work created out of an interest of mine in another field (In this case bartering economies, behavorial economics, and Mauss' concept of "The Gift")
2. Work made intuitively out of the research that occurs when trying to make that, an accidental product that is just fun to make.

(There will be probably 32 total clips holding prints and some prints will have been obviously replaced with written explanations of what the prints were traded for, namely: shared food, people who providing a writing sample for this project and one for someone who helped me transport my work that got into the RCA Open show in Edinburgh) There will be 2 groupings of 16 because I get 16 prints from one sheet of this paper.

The set of prints you see here are half lithography (top two circles) and half silk-screening (bottom two circles) that have the words:
Zen, Flow, Acceptance, Low Expectations, Absurdity, Love, Sharing, Generosity, Investment, Trust
See where those words originated

I meant to have editions as I thought I would be printing multiples of different versions, but actually each print is unique due to the number of handwriting samples I collected from some of the other MFA students.

The title of the works are called "Defining Happiness" although sometimes it changes depending on if all 4 circles are present. I believe that the works are "complete" when they are handed to someone to thank them for a favor they have done for me, they were meant to be used in barters but they in actuality have served as Thank You manifested into something of a bank note (especially since the detail from a Lithography stone print is impossible to replicate)

This started as an experiment with the idea of the cultural value we give art works since I became much more interested in how art and artists have cultural capital when I bartered my works on acrylic and Plexiglas.

3 hours preparing stones
2 hours preparing a silkscreen to the stone
2 hours testing mark making on the stones
3 hours to get 16 good prints off of one stone (times two if the prints have both litho prints)
2 hours adding silkscreen to the
So far I have about approximately 64 prints which is from 16 prints that I can get off of one sheet, the goal perhaps is to have about 250 printed by the end of the year. Which should only take about 93 more hours of work. Or 23 days in the print studio for 4 hours at a time)

40 pounds for the fees to use the printmaking facilities

24 pounds in buying scrap paper and final paper
20 pounds in buying ink for silkscreening

137 hours will be put in total, where I pay myself 15.625 pounds per hour: 2,140
(I will have to pay another 40 pounds for next semester and probably pay 25 more pounds for the paper...)
Plus I might as well add in the cost of part of graduate school, I see this as one seventh of the work I'll be doing at school so that makes it possibly 1/7th of 22,560 (tuition for 2 years) which is 
40+24+20+2,140+40+25+3,223+ pounds... 5,512 divided by 250 prints: Means that each is roughly worth 22.048 pounds.

If these were actual currency or even sold as art works in a commercial gallery, I would apply the formula of material costs + time + and take in account the number of editions, at market value they would each be worth about 22 pounds.

However at this point, I don't know how I would sell them, but they do look good in multiples as some can be harder to decipher than others...

My most recent transaction went like this: An old man waiting for a bus (that never came) offered me a bag of crisps, which I kindly took and talked to me about how he was becoming a minister and was currently 2 years or so from retiring from being a firefighter. After eating the chips I gave him a print to which he replied, "Which church do you go to, do you go to church?" after we talked about what the print was about he folded it and set it down next to him on the bench, I ended up walking home before I ever found out if he ever took it with him. December 4th. 2:30 am.

What happens when I give these away are unexpected on my part and sometimes I have to remember to fish them out so that someone can pick one that they like.

So I wouldn't say this was a failure, but it is a bit "preachy", a little too cold to be used in bartering since it lacks the individual quality that my paintings had, it has an audience of one which makes it much more difficult to represent it to a larger group of people for the work to have meaning, it's a bit too complex for what is there to be admired, and it can come off as a kind of branded corporate logo... all of which I understand how I have come to make this kind of work, but it is lacking a kind of beauty and mystery that the other prints have... that I'll show you next.

Printmaking project #2,

A close up of the silkscreen on top of the lithograph print

This is a black and white print, there is a photographic quality to this work that is interestingly similar to my other paintings. (Not to mention the same use of silk-screened imagery)

Usually in the process of making something that I'm dead set on, I figure out works intuitively since many things go wrong in the process of doing something exactly the way you want to see it. In the case of the lithography, I wanted the words to be clear, while achieving marks that can only be achieved with a litho stone, what I figured out was to silkscreen gum arabic onto the lithography stone to create a resist to make the letters and the circle. (Also I found out that you can't add litho ink to a silkscreen print because the water-based silkscreen ink sticks to the stone ripping the paper, but at least with my method of using a stencil, it embosses it a little, which is a nice touch.) So what to me was the next logical conclusion was to make the biggest silkscreened image on the biggest litho stone and see what fun could be had!

this is a print that has watercolor pencils and a silkscreen added to it to bring in color to the piece.

I just wanted to play around with the process that has probably never been done before because it's quite confusing, although it does allow for tonal ranges within lithography and graphic edges that are created through silk-screening... hybrid printing processes are very interesting to me, although they only serve an aesthetic-of-clever-design function right now.

This is the biggest stone that they have

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