The idea behind this art installation is to celebrate the mutual support and sense of kinship that develops in the National Spinal Injury Centre, between the hospital staff, therapists, patients and their families through each person’s stay in the unit.
I also want to weave together themes that are integral to the work carried out here at the centre: perseverance and determination to overcome and adjust to changed lifestyle and self-identity.
In the main foyer/waiting area there’s this brickwork column, the central support, the ‘spine’ of the building, this is where the 16 portraits will hang. Each of the collaged portraits is of someone with an inspiring story of extraordinary accomplishment living with a spinal injury. The way the portraits are displayed is intended to echo the appearance of a totem pole, which in turn echoes the appearance of a spine, a central support. And a seamlessly circular metaphor. (I like that kind best).
The images are made from hand-cut layers of silk screen prints which in turn were over-painted with repeating abstract patterns to emulate the carved designs of a traditional totem pole, and also symbolise the patience and determination required for the repetition involved physio and occupational therapies.
I want to draw together some of leftovers and dangling ends from recent posts. The person who will enable this is Franz Ackermann.
There’s a charm to this portrait that hooked up in my head with the (so far very much) unconnected themes I was juggling. It was my missing link. Ackerman’s brought the map like quality in, and that high contrast, vector style I love as well.
So, am I going to show you the portraits now… or am I going to keep you hanging on?
Well, kinda neither…
The screen print portraits are still a work in progress as other priorities have leapt the queue in my sphere of makings.
But I’ve been dabbling with other prints and watercolor doodles. The first of which is………
Did I tell you how much I love to screen print? There’s something of an alchemy in screen printing I never knew til I began to experiment. If you enjoy an unpredictable path to imagery I urge you to give this a try if the opportunity comes your way. It’s the most magical thing!
For instance: painting the screen with Procion (fabric) dye at letting it dry, then printing with white ink on white paper, you get this kinda effect of a shadow, dimensional kinda thing.
If it’s all looking a bit disparate with uncongealed ideas; If you’re still following, I commend you! And I forewarn you – it’s maybe gonna seem more scattered before it starts coming together – but bear with me…
Yester-post I was explaining how the combined doodles that emerged from the Zak Smith – Dominic McGill ideas were the raw ingredients for my silk screen design.
Next step was to dismember and re-member them into new shapes and surprises. Photographed and scanned, reduced to monochrome, printed, chopped, rearranged, photocopied, resized, rechopped, glued back together. Began to look like this:
It’s taking on mappy qualities, and I like the metaphor of this too. It’s a journey of loops within loops. Mapping the ineffable unmappable.
It took me a while to really get printmaking.
Messy, colorful, layered up, can’t really go wrong…
…funny, it had all the ingredients of something I’d usually love, but it didn’t get me
But something kept drawing me back to the studio, and suddenly I was hooked. These are a mix of lino & mono printing. (And a few branches)