What is this piece?
This is number 5 in the series of 14 works called, Portraits. These are mixed-media and cyanotype works of art where I explored the union of visual images with literature. They are “married” using the red thread. The thread symbolizes the union or joining of the photographs and literature in a literal sense.
What inspired me to create this piece?
The inspiration came from researching available images that were available in the public domain. There are so many old and vintage images out there available to look at that are lost, that many people will never see. I especially thought of the faces of these people who are lost to history and how they are no longer with us. I wanted to create a series where these long-lost people can once again be found and appreciated.
Then I thought about the stories behind the faces. I wanted to create a narrative that if you don’t know anything about the person behind the face, that I can create a narrative that would get you thinking about who that person is and what they may have been thinking at the exact moment that the portrait was taken.
Some of the portraits, you will recognize. Some you will not. Some of the literary quotes you will recognize, some you will not. The point is to imagine who they are, what they were thinking and what that may mean to you.
Who is this piece for?
This piece is for lovers of experimental art, lovers of literature, lovers of vintage photography. This piece is for people who want art that challenges what it means to be art. Owning this art says that you appreciate beautiful compositions and the stories that could be created with simple images. Whoever buys this work is a lover of modern, contemporary art and has great taste ;-)
Where did I find the subject matter?
The Subject matter for this series was found online using public domain websites. The photos and text both come from public domain books and photographs. I usually found the photo of the person in my piece first, then I searched through available public domain books, looking for a line or a passage that I imagined my subject was thinking.
What did I enjoy the most about creating this work?
This was the first time I created a substantial body of work using the cyanotype method of photographic printing. Before I created this series, I was experimenting with the process but did not feel confident enough to create a body of work using this method. I enjoyed the process of actually printing the images and then applying the text and red thread to the works.
What were my biggest challenges in creating this work?
My biggest challenge was ensuring that as a whole, all 14 pieces worked as a whole series and not 14 individual works. However, I kept in mind that individually, they also had to work without the support of the entire series.
What techniques did I use and why?
I used Cyanotype, which is a very old technique of creating a blueprint using ultra-violet light. Hand lettering using stencils with white pencil crayons. Applying metal rivets and sewing them with red thread.
What does this series mean to me?
This series is important to me because it represents a commitment to move into a new style of work that looks much different from what I was previously creating. I’m thinking specifically about my digital works. This series is a new style of work maturing for the first time.
What does this series represent in terms of my artistic work as a whole?
This series represents a new direction and confidence to move in that direction. After creating this series, I was excited to see how it further develops.
What Materials were used?
Watercolour paper, cyanotype printing, pencil crayon, metal rivets, red thread.
What are the dimensions?
Each piece is 5.75" by 8.25"