There were many influences that fed into this print. I had been looking at chickens in my sketchbook, which led to images for the masked project. I did not feel that the earlier work was particularly successful or representative of me as an artist and wanted to tackle the subject in a more considered way.
The recent exhibition “Flock Together” was inspiring in the way that they had approached the subject of sheep. Initially using film footage and then taking stills from this alongside gps information to create largescale drawings.
Other artists that I had previously looked at in my visual log were Alan Storey, Nancy Spero and William Turnbull who used movement of the figure in their prints.
I decided that in order to capture the real movement from the animals I would need to use photography as a basis for the work. Two chickens had ‘escaped’ into our garden and I thought it would be an opportune moment to take some shots as they moved about on our patio. In total I took 153 shots (see sample -left) as they moved about and then decided to trace over each frame to produce a drawing.
From looking at the shapes of the chickens in various poses I produced some plastic positive and negative masks which I thought I could layer up on the gelatin plate with the intention of backdrawing over to create a sense of movement.
• Not yet comfortable with the colour separation process of printing. This meant that I mixed up different colours and in overprinting them they quickly turned black. The ghosts were useful though.
• I thought that I could backdraw white ink over the darker surfaces but this did not work.
• Composition was a difficulty, I was trying to create something leasing to the eye but my efforts were not 100% successful.
I decided to post my efforts onto the student site online crit page here.
I was encouraged to take the initial trace drawing further into the print process and so repeated the gelatine print process.
The lines in the drawing reminded me of the thread that I used in parts of the texture exercises, there are also certain connections between thread and time which I thought would be appropriate to incorporate with the layers of masks. In some I chose not to include the chicken masks also.
After producing a number of prints I decided to backdraw over the back using a enlarged copy of the initial drawing stuck on the back as a guide and alternating between blue and black inked plates.
I found that this print in particular was successful. I was pleased with my use of subtle colour and how I was starting to get an understanding of creating atmosphere in the printmaking process. I was also pleased with the content behind the image.
Unfortunately because I am using a jig the gelatin plate printed smaller than the Perspex plate so there are plate marks around some of them that impact over the quality of the print.
I am also concerned that I was influenced very heavily by the process from the “Flock Together” exhibition, and wonder whether this is considered ok to do, or whether it is pure mimicry which devalues the work somewhat.
Generally, though I am pleased with the result and feel that this has been a successful end to this part of the course.