Photography and Text by Joyce Wilson
In my previous article, I covered the beautiful process of Photogravure Etching. This process is well worth exploring, but if you get hooked, you will need to take occasional workshops to have access to a printing press, or invest in a press for your studio. This month I’m going to cover another alternative processes that anyone with an inkjet printer can master—photographic collage.
I was teaching a workshop in St. Remy, France in 2007, and happened upon the studio of Kamil Vojnar. I was smitten with his work and intrigued with his use of collage, varnish and painting techniques. I invited him to join our group for a patio party and show his work. For the past ten years, Kamil has resided for half the year in the Los Angeles area and I’ve hosted him for workshops in Santa Barbara. I modified Kamil’s methods to work with materials accessible here in the States and, with his blessings, was able to add this to the curriculum at Brooks Institute and the workshops I teach. Search Kamil Vojnar to see a variety of his work.
The collage images are selections from the original photograph that are adjusted lighter/darker and desaturated. Selections are made in Photoshop and created as separate layers. These layers are turned off during printing of the original image and then printed individually. A variety of beautiful papers are available for inkjet printing and I’ve used Japanese rice papers, handmade bark paper, Yucatan heavily textured paper and the fine art papers available from Canson Infinity and Hahnemuehle. The prints can be mounted on cradled art boards using archival glue or Breathing Color varnish, which also works as the bonding agent. The collage sections are applied during the varnish process using paint and antique glazing techniques. Wonderful final touches complete the process.
The image at the top of this post was printed in 9 sections and mounted on 24 x 30 canvas. The collage pieces are subtle, one on the subject’s face, and the other over crosses on the right lower corner.
The photograph on left has several sections collaged over the original image. The creator of this image is Emily Connolly, who happens to be my sister and co-teaches with me. In the image on the right, Joseph was photographed leaning on a piano. Two sections have been collaged over his hand, the background mosaic patterns overlaid in Photoshop and a piece of cotton netting collaged into the image and placed over portions of his torso.
“Plight Thee My Troth” was composited with an image from an antique marriage license and collage pieces positioned over the subject’s hands and eyes. The image on the right was taken at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The lens was pulled out of focus while aimed at the crack of light coming through an entrance door. I cloned the larger circle on the right side and printed a small version to collage in the lower section of left side. All of these images have a similar color tone because I am usually working on a series for exhibition and want a sense of continuity.
If you need a nudge to get to that next level with your work, come join a small class of creative souls, September 22-23, to learn this process and experiment with metallic leafing. The September blog will cover metallic leafing with inkjet printing.
Enjoy this paradise we call home…beautiful and unique images are just waiting to be discovered.