Ink Jet Printer Print Remixing in the Studio
Well, its April now..
Been at it again.. those tensions between wanting to make more digital art work versus making more analog based art work. Its weird to use the word “analog” instead of “applied” but I guess they are really similar. Allow me to elaborate. I always want to learn. Its an obsession and an addiction. Its a good addiction though, and the word addiction is probably over used in this context. I became aware that computers were a tool for making art as far back as 1986. The fact that I could learn to write a simple program that would visually display the action of repetition was all I needed to know, really. Well, and to see as well to understand “how” this new tool would help and forever change the way that art can be made and communicated. The word repetition is one of my favorite “principles” of art and design. The process of repetition can easily be displayed as a pattern, or a series of patterns, just like physical actions and behaviors can be observed and recorded as patterns. MEMEs are also patterns and have roots in psychology and behavior. So, do a little bit of math in your head and think about how this example effects you? Repetition in behavior eventually equates to practice. Sometimes this “practice” is totally intentional and we do it with awareness and other times, well, we unconsciously engage into the unconscious practice of behaviors that also equal patterns that may not be great for us.. but what about process based patterns of techniques?
The image above is a constructive, addition based relief sculpture made from found and recycled wood scraps. Each piece was found, accumulated, saved and later arranged into this composition (wood glue held it together at the time.) The image is taken from a bird’s eye view to help give the impression that the piece is flat (the bird’s eye view is me standing on the table with the camera.) The photo itself creates the overall two-dimensional impression.. (the actual sculpture has been dismantled and released back into the ongoing scrap bin graveyard of an ex-sculptors memories…) as I write this, I find it curious that I mainly documented the piece in this way. What did I for-see or know about this pieces legacy back then subconsciously? This is an image of the completed sculpture on the wood-shop studio table, before it was exhibited a few weeks later.
The actual sculpture was created in 2014, exhibited 1 time in public and then stored in my studio along with a few other similar works. OK, I actually made a ton of pieces in this similar process, style and technique, Ill dig them up soon again, and if you know my work, you can see where the latest paper sculptures come from. Lets face it, light and lighting plays a big role in the capture of images, and in this case, both images are not great examples of the sculpture in good light. But the placement and displacement of the piece hopefully helps the viewer to see some of the potential of where the idea evolved to and from. The piece looks very different against a plain white wall with a light source applied to it.
I rediscovered the 1st image recently (because I finally zipped, exported and downloaded my entire tumblr archives.. 3.9 Gigs worth..) and opened it in adobe photoshop. I got excited. I used the pen tool to create a series of paths that traced around the outside contour line of the sculpture’s form and image as a whole. I converted the paths into a selection and copied it and pasted it back into the original image as it own layer. I scaled it down by 60% and rotated the image 45 degrees counter clockwise. Wallah! This is the outcome above. I suppose it was the tinkering with this image that helped me see the potential of how I could extend my experiments with this piece, which now had become completely not only two-dimensional but also existing purely as a very flat digital file. The image above activated the energy, I knew I must take further action!
Above, the 2021 outcome! Well, #1 for now – I got really curious and began to see the potential of another tool, my old friend, the ink-jet printer! I dusted it off, thanked it for its trusted service and loaded it up with some glossy paper and began printing out the form that I cut out and re-mixed into the first image. I cut the image up into fragments and pieces of different scales and covered each piece with clear packing tape. I also left a stroke of white to contour each piece that I cut out, I think it helps! The tape, this was just in case I wanted to plant a few up in the street here in my neighborhood, which is always fun to do. The tape helps protect it for a while from the elements.. and also keep its form in tact. Plus, it gives the image the appearance of a sticker or decal. I made this arrangement above. The piece has some gauge too, it pops off of the surface of the wall at about 2.5 inches. The entire thing is adhered with thick gorilla duct tape on each piece. Duct tape is very temperature sensitive so when the temp in the room changes, things will shift and move a bit. I like how that fuses together with the fact that each piece is just printed paper with clear tape over it. The seemingly “cheap” medium tricks the eye into thinking this is something much more like wood, does it not?
Above you can see how the piece integrates itself into a few other works on my studio wall. The piece to the left is a figurative arrangement made in a similar way using bristol paper and duct tape and the portrait is a digital manipulation made from some data-bending techniques (that portrait image also has a layer of clear transparent packing tape on it.) I think that the clear tape actually adds another layer of saturation to the printed image. I think this picture helps give an impression of the overall scale of things too. Perhaps these pieces all kind of work well together too..?
This is a larger detail of the data-bent portrait. It contains several layers that have been manipulated in photoshop. I feel that it looks OK as a digital image on screen, but there is just something so nice about the over saturation feel of the ink jet print quality that just seems to help the overall aesthetic of this. Of course I am biased as the creator of it.. haha. Will this piece make the NFT cut? Perhaps? Lets see what it led to below.
The image above follows the same idea as the wood piece up at the top of this post. This is also an ink-jet print out that I cut up into fragments and covered in clear packing tape. I used loops of duct tape to hold the pieces and parts together onto the wall. It helps that wall is also made of painted brick and that its pretty old.. vintage aesthetics man.. When I first made this piece I felt that it was really missing something and or was just too busy for the eye to follow, but my IG peeps seemed to love it and also supported the piece as it was, and I don’t mind being wrong at all! I love it now, and its good to share where the original came from as this piece was purely digital at the start, made in 2017 and never printed or displayed off of a “screen”. See below.
The moral of this story, there is definitely a lot of value still in print, remixing and reviving older works. We have repositories of images from our own work.. Especially for works that are purely digital and for works that are purely applied. Seeing the work in the opposite context creates a good tension that will usually result in the making of new work! The work may surprise you more than you think! OK, so now Im off to make some 3D models of these for Virtual Reality :))))