Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Inkblot Panorama 1

Okay, you wanna know why I haven't been posting lately? I've been depressed. Not the kind that scares me but definitely the kind that scares shrinks. I just haven't been taking a whole lot of pleasure in life, and I haven't been able to convince myself that there's any more coming. Bullshit, I know -- but rational argument only goes so far when confronting an emotional condition.

But for the next few days you can expect a buttload of posts. Twin deadlines have made it imperative that I art like a ringtailed bastard -- and actually, the prospect has me feeling a bit more cheerful.

Here's the deal.

I have to have a new print ready to show by next Thursday. And I also need to start serious work on the production for the next issue of Swill. (It's gonna be a good one, I'm telling you. We've got some great stuff in there.)

I'm taking a different tack on the art this time. I'm going to produce a number -- two, three, maybe four -- of big detailed prints based on inkblots and other randomly-generated grayscale visuals. I'm going to digitally assemble them into extremely detailed imaginary landscapes and then color them. They'll then be printed up at large size -- 20" x 48".

Then I'll take smaller selections from these prints and convert them to black and white for use in the magazine -- and then take those black and white images and make large-scale colored versions for use as prints. A back-and-forth process-oriented approach. And as with the last series I'm going to use them as visual inspiration for the novel.

Right now the most time-consuming issue is going to be scanning. If I can get my scanning done today I'll be happy -- but that might not happen. The really big scans take forever, but the allow me a lot more flexibility in executing the work. There's a ten-to-one ratio between my largest scans and the finished work, so I can cover the entire canvas with a section of inkblot that's 2 x 4.8 inches -- with all the detail of random ink and paper texture and everything working for me.

I've also started messing around with putting globs of black and white tempera or acrylic paints onto a piece of paper, mixing them roughly with a toothpick, then pressing another piece of paper on top of them, then pulling the papers apart. It's generating very organic coral-like textures. The deck is full of those right now...

More later.


Glendon Mellow said...

This sounds like a pretty exciting project Sean!

Loving the ink blots! Totally not what I expected when I clicked on the post-title.

Sean Craven said...

Thanks, Glendon. One of the fun things about this project is generating the inkblots using a variety of papers and techniques.

For instance, yesterday I found that when I used textured watercolor paper I could put the ink on dry paper and mist it with a spray bottle and the ink would run through the channels in the paper texture, generating a very organic root- or hairlike texture.

I've used everything from thick expensive rag to cheap-ass tracing vellum. Since I pick up a lot of this at yard sales it's not all that expensive.

What's interesting is that most blots don't have anything going for them but a choice few show many different things from different angles. Funny, that.

Glendon Mellow said...

Have you tried Ingres paper? Both Canson and Fabriano make it, it's a style of paper with a specific laid-line pattern.

Could be boring, could be neat; the randomness of the ink on the regularity of the lines.

Sean Craven said...

I'll have to grab some the next time I'm in the art store. Sounds like something that would be perfect for one image, never to be used again, but who knows? I'll have to try it and see.

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