Tutorial – 21/06/19

Today’s discussion began with the video pieces in these two blog posts.

These videos have been created from a preliminary set of footage that was shot in my back garden and my plans are to shoot video with the Wildling on site and also using green screen.

Jonathan observed the progression that I had intended moving throughout the nine videos and we spoke about the potential for further development. Some of the discussion was spent comparing the two video’s (6 and 9) in the second blog post and the potential for continuing with both these lines of enquiry. Video 6 having a more painterly and almost abstract effect where the image is akin to oil being poured onto water and Video 9 being more humanistic.For the time being I will probably continue to expand on both of these as I see future potential in either direction.

We spoke about the potential of layering this type of footage over the painterly effects found in video 6 (see link above) and using a blur layer to soften the lines in this video too.

We also discussed my ideas around the use of a green screen and a green body suit to create a different effect (which I have already priced) and Jonathan spoke about the use of contrast to be able to achieve the same effects, which brought me onto the drone footage that I have shot where there is the contrast that will provide the required effects.

Getting back to the drone footage, again this is just a clip of the first outing of my new drone, we both agreed that there is something special about parts of this footage and in particular when the sun is behind the camera and the shadows can be seen in the images. Also the trees at the location we used provide an additional interesting quality to the footage.

Jonathan did ask me where I see this going as it progresses and I discussed my recent reconnection with spirituality and the fact that although these videos are addressing a particular context, they are beginning to evolve and speak about issues of consciousness and other-worldly beings – I see this progression happening quite naturally almost as if by accident, but actually not. I also spoke about how I have always believed that the art and the spiritual would integrate at some point and that I’m starting to see this happen in my artwork now.  Jonathan also emphasised the importance of holding onto this connection with the spiritual and that this essence provides a deeper level of perception within the artwork.

We  spoke about the qualities of  the resin work in Latex and Resin and the objects being suspended in the resin like they would be suspended in time beneath the reservoir waters. The use of silicone to make the moulds for when I plan to create large multiples of the pieces made so far. I also mentioned my idea for creating a larger resin piece that suspends multiple items rather than individual items.

The quality of light when displaying the resin and the potential to use the resin to create a projection background and the potential to project a single moving image onto the resin or a complex video piece, like the video 6 mentioned above.

As time was running out we briefly spoke about the Citrasolv and the Experimenting with Poloroids work and the potential with both of these to create images that I can then print large scale onto net curtain fabric and then stitch onto.

Overall Jonathan asked me how I felt about how things were going so far and I spoke about the fact that I had spent a lot of time making so far and that this has provided me with the space and material to focus on the video work. We spoke about the way I am using traditional making methods then transforming that material into digital and the two-way connection between the two and the importance that maintaining that connection with the traditional has for me. I do have a lot of material that I can use to further this now and several ideas that can be progressed towards the final show next year.

Overall extremely happy with the tutorial discussion and it has been a great opportunity to reflect more fully on the work that I have produced since January.

Latex and Resin

Thinking further about ways to preserve all the rusty objects and the idea that these had been encased in the mud at the base of the reservoirs for decades I began thinking about ways that we preserve sentimental items. Resin was an obvious choice to me for experimentation.

I began by making two moulds one from a house brick and the other from a cast iron water grid that I had acquired previously.

Once the moulds were made I missed the pouring resin and poured an initial layer into the brick mold before leaving to gellify. At this point I laid my sample rusty object in the Mold and poured the second layer before leaving for 24 hours to cure.

The water grid I simply cast in its own right as I feel this has conceptual meaning if it’s own and if replicated could infer the many households who continue to benefit from the reservoir waters.

Reflection

Some of the latex in the water grid stuck in the resin and has ripped the mold a little.

I could have done with using a wax releasing agent to ensure that the latex did not stick. Also if I’m thinking about replicating this many times a rubber mold would be a better option, possibly silicone.

Overall especially pleased with the effect and see potential with lighting from behind. Definitely would like to create repeated patterns with these.

Fragments and Latex – Part 3

Wanting to continue on from my previous experimentations in Fragments and Latex – Part 1 – Objects and Fragments and Latex – Part 2 – Prints and Rusting Objects I decided to further this work by using the latex to lift the rust from the objects and produce a more cohesive piece of work.

Although this line of enquiry has been looking at lots of fragmented objects, they all have a commonality about them in the fact that they are objects that evoke a memory of a past (home, life, experience, situation).

I laid out my objects on a piece of glass from an old glass table and then began pouring the latest. At this point I had no idea even if the pouring method I was using would be successful in this instance.

Once the first pouring had dried (left for roughly 24 hours) I then began to brush additional layers onto the objects which at this point were securely in place.

I then created a fabric layer in the piece to provide structure and applied an additional two coats of latex (in total one poured layer and four painted layers).

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Finally after a whole weekend of pouring an layering I decided then to dig the objects out from the constructed piece.

Finally revealing the final object.

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Reflection

The act of pouring the latex onto the glass worked very successfully, however it was really difficult to dig out the objects – with perseverance though this did work well. What was really good about this digging away at the objects was the fact that in reality when I first found the objects they were sunk into the mud of the reservoir base and some had to be dug out when I first found the objects.

I really like the effect made when the rust is held into the latex and this gives an imprint of the physical essence of the objects having been rusting away under water for many many years.

Latex Observations

I spent some time re-discovering the use of latex as an artist medium. Below are some observations. 

  • Latex Paint can be thickened.
  • You cant apply latex over someone’s skin.
  • Contaminants interfere with the latex when curing, though as an artist this is probably of benefit.
  • Brush Latex on in thin layers – Ensure there are no air bubbles
  • Each layer takes approximately 30 minutes to dry
  • Four or Five Layers minimum, up to 10 for larger items.
  • Poured latex will take up to 24 hours to dry.
  • Use loosely woven fabric for reinforcement.
  • Don’t reinforce areas that need to stretch
  • If latex cures overnight subsequent layers may not bond properly
  • Cured latex is more resilient to the elements
  • Use anti-fungal powder to avoid mould.
  • If using a mold, a support stand (sand) may be required to keep the shape.
  • Plaster is the best casting medium but other casting mediums can be used.
  • A hardener or thickener can be used with latex.

Fragments and Latex – Part 1 – Objects

While on my site visits I collect some fragments of buildings that had previously been underwater- only small rusty metal parts and broken pottery that most would overlook – however in these broken remains I see the life that these objects once had and the representation of the lost communities and the collective memories having become distorted – no longer like their original state – a metaphor for our own personal memories that become distorted over time.

I’m still experimenting with latex and wanted to see what objects I could produce that show the essence of the space that the object once inhabited.

So I decided to use the slate as a base for these objects – not my best idea in terms of a well thought out process yet I continued anyway.

Some of the objects were and immediate fail moving as I painted them – yet I managed to gain some success with this experiment.

The more successful ones after three coats I covered with fabric before adding an extra two coats.

Partly here I succumbed to my lack of patience and removed them the same day – with some success but overall pleased with the outcome.

What I particularly like is that the latex has really taken on remnants of the rust and dirt on the objects and that this has lead the imprints to become metaphorical in their own right.

The less successful ones I rescued and continued with a new experiment with ink jet paper in Fragments and Latex – Part 2 – Prints

Still to experiment with a pouring method.

Reflection

I began this work early in the morning and my head wasn’t really in the right space, so I struggled to get the objects to stay still on the slates and in fact this reduced the number of final objects completed.

I would definitely find a way of fixing these objects to the surface prior to painting the latex on and indeed plan to experiment with pouring latex around the object so as to fix them in place early on.

I definitely enjoy working with latex and like the way that it takes on rust and dirt from the object you are casting.

The overall effect I am happy with and I like the effect of the space that the object had inhabited creating the essence of negative space akin to the work of Rachel Whiteread where she casts the space around the objects of her attention.

The most tedious and challenging aspect of this work for me is waiting for it to dry enough to apply additional layers and then to finally cure. This really challenges my lack of patience.

Roof Slates and Latex

I previously had an idea to latex the roof slates and decided to put this idea into action.

I had in my mind a larger sculptural piece of work and saw potential in using the slates I had previously gathered to create this piece. I also had a desire to investigate potential projection surfaces and latex could possibly provide me with a suitable surface to project onto.

As part of this task I also wanted to estimate how much liquid latex I would need to create a large sculptural piece and some estimation would be required as to the number of layers.

As well as some liquid latex I also purchased a cheap decorators drop sheet from my local B&Q to cut up and use as a reinforcing material.

I set about beginning to apply latex to the roof slates to see how successful this might be. Having laid out the slates on my kitchen table, I started applying thin coats of latex to the tiles and decided after three coats that it would be a suitable time to add the reinforcing material.

I had the idea that I would ultimately stitch the slates to a larger piece of strong canvas material. so I used the edge of the drop sheet to provide a strong supporting edge that I could then stitch to the larger canvas material at a later point in time.

Half an hour between coats and once the reinforcing material was applied I left an hour between coats. I only applied one extra coat after the reinforcing material – bearing in mind that this was an initial experimental stage. In total – 5 coats. I then left the latex to cure overnight.

The next morning I then began removing the latex from the slates and for the first experiment with these slates I was delighted with the results. I really like the fact that the latex has taken on some of the material from the slate and the effects that were produced.

I then laid out the latex slates in the manner that I had in mind for the larger scale piece. I’m happy that this will scale up really well.

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At this stage I had half a litre of latex left so I repeated the process on six of the larger slates. Left the latex to cure and then removed the latex from the slates. I applied anti fungal talc to all of the slates to ensure that they don’t go mouldy and no longer stick to each other.

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The next day I reflected further on what I had produced. Not all of the slates would prove to be useful at this stage. If I decided to create a larger piece that effetely appears like a roof top the larger pieces are more effective for what I have in mind. I’m happy with the number of layers required to produce what I need.

I estimated that it takes 1 litre of liquid latex to produce 12 large tiles which would be approximately 1 square metre. Knowing this will help me to calculate how much latex to purchase when I decide to upscale.

I’m really keen to produce the larger piece which I have in my mind to be approximately 3 metres long by 2 metres tall – 6 square metres and 72 slates in total – six litres of liquid latex.

I only have six of the larger slates at the moment so my estimation would be 2 days per square metre – 12 days of latex prepping in total.

Reflection

The best thing I did was to go back and read up on applying liquid latex again as it had been some time since the last time I did this. This gave me the confidence to just get on with the task in hand.

It was a good idea for me to latex all the tiles I had as this enabled me to be more clear about which tiles would be most suitable and what I would need to do to upscale.

Because I read up on this subject again, I remembered to use anti-fungal talc and not just ordinary talc – saving the latex from becoming mouldy in the future.

I possibly could have put more thought into the process prior to starting and that way I may have produced only the larger tiles from the outset. With hindsight, this would have meant that I’d have had more useable pieces at this stage. I also feel that although the reinforcing materials was appropriate in this case, if I was working with different objects (for example the fragments I have collected, which I intend to work with) then I would need to use a lighter weight reinforcing material.

This task will definitely have an impact on my future work as I have intended for a long time to reintroduce latex into my practice and definitely see ways of introducing stitch into this work as well. I have several 3-dimensional ideas which I feel latex would be an appropriate material for.

The greatest challenge in completing this task is the one thing that always raises it’s head and that is my lack of patience – I so wanted to hurry the work along to see the final effects – however managed to reign this in and wait albeit slightly impatiently for the curing to take place.

I didn’t find this task boring or tedious at all, in fact very therapeutic and calming. If anything the production of 72 tiles is going to be a bit repetitive and in the future producing a larger single latex work may be more stimulating.

All in all – very happy with this piece at this stage.