When I arrived at Ochre Print Studio, I wanted to develop my printing techniques but I also wanted to develop my work into a 3D/installation, using printing techniques.
I had this idea of creating 81 cubes hanging by a thread from the ceiling of a structure. The cubes were placed at different heights and depth in this big imaginary cube. Each side of the whole cube would have the same image and the viewer would have to move to really understand what he/she was seeing.
After a period of productivity, especially after a project that took me a big part of the year, I felt empty. For two to three weeks, I could not produce an image. It was a very scary time!
Fellow Artist in Residence (AIR), Ros Pritchard, noted this year that the same thing happened. It seems to be cyclical. It is a wonderful thing to be with another AIR; we know each other well and we can support each other through those difficult creative times.
After this empty period, I realized I wanted happiness in my work and happy times, means story time! I decided then to create small stories about political events; an image that could be attractive to adults as well as to children, with lots of little hints that would add to the understanding of the pieces.
So the story of Brexit was born. I included lots of little hints that coloured the creation of Brexit and its consequence as told in fairy tales. Then the mini budget came and I had a blast with “Hell is Empty”.
I will continue to create images like these but they really come when associations are made in my brain between the trigger (political event) with the ordinary (a book story, an image in a painting, other political events); so I need to wait for them to come. I have kind of suppressed them with other ideas lately but I will come back to them, one day…
With the support of Textile Artist/Tutor Jule Mallett and inspired by Briony, a member who comes to Open Access on Tuesdays, I tried to experiment with repetitive patterns that I could use to make a strange and happy installation.
Then in 2023, having seen so many wild fires raging in the world during the summer 2022, especially one very important to me: the fire in Gironde where lots of my child memories went up in smoke. I decided to create works related to wildfires, experimenting once more with screenprinting.
I started to create image on my computer from photos I would find in mass media or in newspapers around the world.
My interest was in the colours and juxtaposition/transparency of each one, once more but as I had a good control of the two colours I was overlapping in my cubes project, here I had at least 3 or 4 colours for each image. It complicated everything. I found that there was something attractive in those images, the colours but also the energy, while the topic was very upsetting.
I like to develop my work in an almost scientific way, or it looks like it! I tried to make a colour sample to understand how they would behave together, using some transparency to some colours to see how they would change. But I could not keep track of what I was doing. It is just so hard to stop and make notes while being creative!
Then I plunged my Japanese paper into the medium I cook using bees wax and Dammar resin. The paper becomes translucent in that medium, skin like. I also used lights to see how it will affect the colours of the paper and if it will change any other aspect I have not thought of. I put some coloured filter onto the light and see the difference on the paper. It has been incredibly interesting but I did not get the result I wanted and need to continue experimenting. The shapes changes, from rectangle simple sheet, the paper was cut into pieces and stitched back together.
As the project evolved I realized that what I wanted to convey was the danger of climate change and in particular the frequency of wildfires but also how frightening these phenomenon were and how they were affecting our mental, and behind it all, how I felt impotent in front of climate change. In response, I cut the wild fire scenes and stitched them back together. I realised that stitching was helping, and might be something I would love to share with others through similar project in the future.
This project is still evolving and a connection with burned victims and how the skin heals after such catastrophes appeared after talking to a nurse. She advised me to speak to a specialized surgeon about the project to understand how human being are healed. The parallel between human body and nature is strong especially in this context as trees/nature suffer the same predicament as human beings when burning occurs. The healing process will be the key to the development of this project and I will soon make new inquiries to try to understand the connections.
While I was making my little trees and stitching the world back together, I went to see this incredible exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz. She was making those huge weaving structures representing tree trunk where she was going to hide during the war as a child when she was very scared. This story resonated with me and I had the urge to stop everything to make work related to that. I took the shadows of her structures and I created these prints. The shadows felt like a memory of the trees I was making. It is a representation of the grieving I felt when I saw my childhood land burned in the summer 2022. This project ended with the publication of a few images in Issue 7 of the summer 2023 of Artists Responding To.
The problem of being inspired by the news and mass media is that there is always something tickling the curiosity or urging you to create something.
This is my answer to an article about junior doctors’ strikes. In this article I read that junior doctors hour fees were equivalent to a barista in Pret.
I had this vision of the Manet scene in the Bar, where the young Suzon, exhausted from work was helping a customer. I dressed her as a doctor working in a coffee shop. I added some silk screen paper and stitched them to the canvas, thanks to Keyholder Pru Griffiths for giving me the idea!
As usual, there are always little give away: the skull reminded me of the Dutch paintings from the 17th century and their connotation of a brief life, relating it to the importance of the doctors having our lives in their hands. The little organs silkscreen to the paper, are a little hint to the collage of Sigmar Polke that I admire so much.
I am very happy to have made such a connection between my older work and the printing I developed during the last two years and I hope to continue.
Lately I read this article about AI creation of portrait that were supposed to be 13 % more trustworthy. The industry is using them to impersonate their products and scammers are taking them to scam people impersonating fictive person, creating false identities.
By copying portraits that AI generated and making portrait of real people, I want to show that they are not differentiable.
For this project I adopted the etching technic as thought more appropriate to show the human hands in contrast with the flawless generating images of AI. Using etching is thrilling and very spontaneous compared to silkscreen. I use stop out and painted my plate by tone, plunging the plate in the acid each time a little longer to create deeper and darker tones.
It is a very exciting technique as I don’t really know what it has become before I uncover the plate and take off the blue paste.
I am playing around with the images, questioning what is real and not. Ending maybe with the question of what is matter? And what matters???
I am enjoying the very intimate discussion I have with AI and asking him to generate portrait from my creation of real people; creating more portrait from his and his from mine; not understanding what is real and what’s not anymore.
I will continue to copy more portrait of an AI of Etching Tutor Mai Osawa, and see where after so many back and forth we end up with.
One of the incredible opportunity the residency provides is the access to all the courses available at Ochre Studio for free. And all the experimentation would not have been so fruitful without them all.
I would like to thank everyone who gave me this opportunity. I would not have developed my work so far without it. I would also like to thank everyone who helped me and welcomed me into the studio over the last two years and thanks to Ros for being there and for her support; especially with my funny time tables and last minutes changes.
Thanks for all the Tuesday crowd attending Open Access while I worked as Technician; for your creation, your experimentations, your journey and your smiles. I enjoyed being there with you.
I am grateful to have had this time and opportunity to be creative, experimental and to meet you all.