Jigsaw

This was a technique using lino which I started in Hong Kong, and will continue with when I get back. I don’t have the pictures here. Essentially though, it was a way of achieving better registration- my biggest problem- through inking the pieces separately and printing them all at the same time. It’s complicated to make the jigsaw, and I didn’t have proper tools, just a Stanley knife, but I was cutting soft vinyl. It was fun to do, and an addition of another technique.

The image came form life drawing session, from one of a collection of sketches made of a burlesque dancer called Kitty Cougar. Her performance to music made a great change from the usual rather bored poses, and I would like to develop some more of the sketches. Most of the sketches were short poses, around one minute, but they each had character and attitude that made them good to try to capture, and that gives them further potential.

This is one of the versions of the lino print. It uses cut white lines as an outline, and the jigsaw technique means that these sometimes vary in thickness. Here, I had trouble actually fitting the pieces of my jigsaw back together again with the ink on, so a couple of pieces had to be applied as stamps: this has led to a bit of overlap in some areas. I think these effects are all positive, as they could slightly confuse the viewer about the process, but I also like the way it creates different qualities of line, and since this is an image comprising only colour and line, that’s an important consideration. I could take advantage of the jigsaw pieces to develop this print: it would be relatively easy, for example to carve some patterns into them- easier than if they were still part of a whole block. For example, using a saw or other alternative carving tools, would be easier here, as the problem with those is often that they only carve in straight lines and are hard to control. With this technique, individual shapes could be carved without risk to any other part of the block.

There is a woodcut by Philip Sutton , named simply Nude,¬† which uses colours similar to these (I’m not inserting it in case of copyright issues), and which also has white lines. I forgot I had seen it, but just came across it again, so reckon I was channelling it in my choices here, as the colours are too close to be a coincidence. Just goes to show: sometimes you think you’re being intuitive, but in fact you’re being derivative. That’s a worrying thought, since I often feel inspired by images I’ve just dreamt or which have flashed into my head.

A detour, to discuss working methods: I realise this is why the “process” of using sketchbooks and creating a visual diary is so strongly promoted in assessed art courses: it guards against this kind of unwitting plagiarism by giving evidence of the trail of influences one has followed in order to arrive at the result. It’s right and proper. On the other hand, it does assume that all ideas are derived from someone else, and rules out the possibility of real originality, in fact taking an extreme position by implying it doesn’t exist. And what about a case like this? I had genuinely forgotten ever having seen any work by Philip Sutton. You can’t log everything you see.

I don’t even know anything about Philip Sutton, so am not sure why he chose these colours. For myself, I felt that the unnatural colours somehow emphasized the commodification of the female body, making it look like something run off a production line with “Made in China” stamped on the back, full of toxic paints and dyes. They also seem to reference the gaudy theatre posters of Toulouse Lautrec, with their sense of liberal bohemianism, but also rather forced pleasures and sometimes tragic¬† back stories.

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