Experimental Printmaking leads to Production
So what becomes of these monoprinting experiments?
You can sell them at print fairs, usually as unframed bin items, or occasionally offer them as original works at gallery shows…..But do they have a deeper value for you as an creator?
In the case of the tarot-inspired Devil monoprints they did.
I was able to both use and reimagine them in editioned prints.
Let me start with the first example. In addition to the fully layered prints with all elements, I save a few of the background prints. This one was a particular favorite.
I was able to incorporate it in two print editions.
First I decided to break it down into CMYK separations that would permit me to reproduce it in color via silkscreen. What leaped out to me yellow screen. So after printing the film separations, I printed it in black. Cool right. The funny thing was that among my fellow printmakers was that there was almost universal agreement that they thought it was an image of Donald Trump! Honestly not my intention or what I saw, but I decided to go with it. It suggested a new series of images to me combining the yellow separations of bitmapped images of contemporary politicians with cut up bits from good ole Anarchist Handbook. The title for the series: Anarchist Yellow.
So I conceived a silkscreen with a black layer from the original separation and a purple layer (to suggest the appearance of the old mimeographs) and a silver layer which was an offset of the purple layer to create textural depth. The result was this. Of course, I flipped the transparency for the text layer because it worked better for the composition. Plus I hold to the tenant that esoterically mirrored writing has special significance: It is how the ancestors read us because we are their mirror images.
Next I decided to clean up the original Baphomet image from the linocut and modernize it. I flipped the pentagram so that it pointed upside down from how it normally points in Devil images. (This proved a point of controversy because to many it looked like I made a mistake and didn’t know what I was doing. I can argue that reversing the polarity of the pentagram points to the contemporary inversion of how we reconcile ourselves with early desires, etc. But if your ideas don’t land, maybe you should rethink them. In this case I decided just to do a few exemplars of the image because I couldn’t se a large audience wanting to buy one.)
I also used the original separations of the background to color the image. Rather than mix the inks with medium to creates more transparent color closer to the original image, I used the inks full strength to create more harsh and vibrant colors than the original.)
The point is I was able to use the monoprint experiment as the basis for two to three more finished pieces, and that is one of the great values of experimentation. It can point your work in new and unanticipated directions.