PRINTS | Screen Printing: Studio Time – Part Four

The idea for my latest print, originates from spending so much time on a computer doing ‘digital’ illustration/design in the past that I got to a point were all my work only existed in digital form, and I had very rarely created an existing piece with paint/pencil or any physical materials.

It was only when I lost almost two years worth of digital work when backing up a hard drive that I started to assess my journey into the digital! It started in the mid nineties when I was at Stockport College, I was heavily advised that computer based design was the future and that my work would be perfect to adapt digitally, I never shared this opinion and dug my heels in as one of the last existing Technophobes, continuing with traditional techniques such as paint & collage, going on to do what I consider some of my best work. It was only whilst studying at Liverpool John Moores that I started to use Mac’s within my work as a tool, but before too long the technology had started to dominate my work and even more recently what felt like my whole life! It was only when I started in the screen print studio that I knew I had to make a change, I needed to rediscover and reignite my love for the ‘analogue’ world.

My latest series of prints consists of two musicians and two artists, who are all a source of lasting inspiration and have had a huge influence on my work. At first glance John Lennon and Bob Marley may seem like pretty obvious iconic subjects to align myself with and you’d be right, that’s why I chose to feature them because of exactly those reasons, people put posters of them as ‘icons’ on their walls without even knowing or thinking about what their lasting legacies are or how they continue, but for me they have had a lasting effect on the way I think, view the world and even how I live my life.

Putting Lennon’s musical genius to one side, the reason why Lennon lives on in my mind is because of how he challenged people to make a difference by simply doing things differently and this is why to this day he is still a lasting symbol of Peace!

Bob Marley’s obvious legacy is that of a Ganja smoking Rasta, but in reality at a time when issues such as the Civil Rights Movement and racial segregation were being tackled by western artists Marley came along with a totally unique perspective. Marley sang about the struggles of blacks and Africans against oppression from the west, his music woke up a generation to the emancipation of generations of Africans and blacks due to slavery and in the process introduced reggae to the masses.

The two artists consist of Jean-Michel Basquiat AKA Samo (Samo was the street name of Jean Michel Basquiat) an 80’s artist from New York who I have banged on about many times before so I will keep it short, but as with Marley – Basquiat’s work focused on his heritage through words, symbols and mythology, it is not only his work but how he interpretated his life and heritage that shaped a huge part of how I approach my work. Barry McGee AKA Twist is another street artist, McGee is from San Francisco and represents an new era of how the graffiti movement can be interpretated to form new and exciting platforms for art, bringing the streets inside and putting the galleries outside.

Both are artist’s who were and are heavily influenced by the original street graffiti movement of seventies New York and were able to transfer this influence into galleries in a unique way, on there own terms.

The 3D or linear element of the piece is a line drawing I did in the mid 90’s after trips to Munich in ’94 and Amsterdam in ’95, were I saw graffiti styles which took the impossibilities of M.C Escher’s drawings, the 3D techniques of Cubism, but most of all Russian art movements such as Futurism and adapted them to form letter styles which looked like solid, intertwined, impossible objects.

This final 3D element was then over laid and blended with my portrait to complete the composition and idea, showing how these creative people now live on through technology and how they now traverse the analogue to digital world…Half Man, Half Robot!

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