I print these on hand-painted paper with sgraffito etched into thickly painted gesso (see details below). I then hand-coat the stretched sheet and drop flecks of gold and aluminium leaf onto it (silver leaf tarnishes—aluminium is preferable). After printing over this, I paint additional touches. The edges are carefully hand-torn for a softer, handmade appearance. I sign and number each print to complete each as a unique original .
The work is a self-portrait that I photographed as I danced through the projections. It appears like a photographic negative; I was in a dark room against black velvet that now inverts to the white paper. The calligraphy I used for projection has also been composited with the photograph to give a crisp rendition of the vigorous pen strokes in the right half of the image. This layered polyrhythmic calligraphy makes its own music. It dances over its text rather than caring to proclaim it.
The details above better shows hand-painting and sgraffito that was scratched into the wet gesso before printing. The image below was photographed backlit for an exaggerated view. In normal light, these details are clear enough when viewing an original.
The calligrapher becomes the calligraphy in this art. My body forms a glyph; its gestural movement across the picture plane divides the white space in a manner I appreciate from letterform. My figure was illuminated in darkness by digital projections of my calligraphy. The light that reveals my presence camouflages my features. It is paradoxical. My body warped the projected text into a complexion of contorted stripes. This new calligraphy forms the skin of the calligrapher—my hide, in every sense.
The quote from John Donne takes effort to decipher:
‘All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language.’
The image may suggest an individual carrying forward the content of this book. In a subjective view, such a book could represent knowledge inherited from a tradition that needs continual development to thrive in the present and to be carried forward for future generations. As an artist, I must project myself too, imprinting personality on the work and adapting an individual accent in the inherited language of my craft.
The framing of this work should not allow the art surface to touch the picture glazing. I generally use a slip of balsa wood hidden under the lip of the frame for this purpose. A good fine-art framer can advise you better than a general picture framer of posters.The image features a self-portrait, photographed as I danced through digital projections of my calligraphy.
LONG-LASTING ARCHIVAL MEDIA
Printed from an Epson SC P800 using Epson’s 9-color UltraChrome ink system at 2880 dpi on painted Bockingford 140 lb acid-free watercolour paper, with custom coatings added by the artist.