Monday, 20 April 2015

Signed and Numbered

So this is the final part of my process for this all-consuming edition that took over my life in March. Below is the final composition I ended up with, each image was drawn separately, inked and scanned in, then fitted together. I couldn't afford big paper so that's why I decided to do each individually, and I also wanted to do them separately to help my head deal with the different characters and so I would be able to cope with any mistakes easily. Some of the characters in the image are the same person photographed in different outfits, but I don't think that matter especially, particularly as most of my work is based around how drag can make you into a different person. I didn't want to commit fully to "pure" drag (as I don't think this is a thing, it's a varied and rule-bending culture by definition) so there are obvious girls in the picture as well as fairly obvious boys and some that might lie somewhere in the middle. There is a nice fluidity of gender, this also makes me feel more confident about not offending any actual drag queens or anyone in general, which I have had concerns about before. This way I'm not picking out a specific kind of person, it's more of an expression of multiple definitions.

So I took this image and separated into three layers on Photoshop, intending to print it black, grey and gold. Because of the painterly manner in which I use ink it was going to be a struggle to translate effectively into a screen print. This was pointed out to me in a crit where it was every suggested I redraw each layer manually, with two days until the deadline, which was not what I wanted to hear at all, but you know, constructive criticism and that. The idea with the grey layer and black was that hopefully between the two I could capture as much of the range of tones as possible, and I also printed each layer as a bitmap to help this further. So after 6 hours of screen printing and a small meltdown I had 9 prints that were decent enough to sell, which doesn't seem like much but it was extremely difficult to get ink to print evenly on each layer, and my print had such specific details that registering each layer in the right place was a nightmare. Coming out with nine was if anything a miracle.

This is the final print at the Edition Fair at The Peckham Pelican (taken from my Instagram, which you should obviously follow). The grey and black was the best thing to do, you can still see my brush strokes and the range of tone has been preserved. The gold is proper metallic shiny gold so it looks opulent and worth the £25 I'm selling them for. I priced myself out of the student budget, but students aren't the type to buy large prints particularly anyway, being a student is a transitory period so I wouldn't buy anything like this that I might have to store. I did sell one print at the fair though, so that's my very first sold work, this baby is going up in some random's home. The fair was a great experience anyway, and although only one got sold my work got loads of amazing attention which was nice. It was nice to have actual polished professional work as opposed to messy things in sketchbooks that seem a bit irrelevant. 

So this is what the edition fair looked like with everyone else's stuff as well (photo credit to fellow Illustration student Arthur Wandeur, give him a Google). And if anyone wants one of my prints for themselves perchance I'm an email/comment/carrier pigeon away.

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