Encounter with Self
This piece is part of a suite of prints developed in the winter of 2012 when I was an artist in residence at Atelier Circulaire in Montreal, Canada. Those two weeks in Montreal were painfully cold and I had never been to a French-speaking city. With no access to my cell phone and no friends in the immediate area, I worked in the studio day and night and was mentored by master printer, Carlos Calado.
Calado pushed me outside of my comfort zone, encouraging me to experiment with a limited color palette in a larger format than I was accustomed to. It was the first time I printed monotypes on a lithographic offset machine and in those two weeks, I learned to relinquish control, unable to anticipate the outcome of each print.
The process of printmaking on a lithographic offset press requires layering inks and textures on a metal plate while the rollers gradually apply layers of oil-based ink onto the paper.
In this print suite, I experimented with different brayer sizes and brushes, sometimes cutting off the ends of thick brushes for a blunt effect. I experimented with the application and viscosity of the ink, covering the full surface of the plate and wiping it away with rags, creating fingerprinting-like swipes. By extracting ink instead of rolling it, I was forced to create shapes within negative space. I also moved away from my usual color palette of yellows, oranges, and reds, limiting myself to yellow, green, and black.
My goal was to better understand the monotype process and to adjust the chemistry of the inks to manipulate their transparency. Printmaking with repetitive layering and paper stencils enabled me to gradually create depth in each piece. Handcut newsprint paper stencils are used in pieces such as The Unknown and Mi Vida Loka, which feature faces and profiles, creating the conflicting sense of composed chaos, with nearly pristine, white figures surrounded by swirling disarray.