in Art, Prisoner's Cinema

Prisoner’s Cinema production journal, pt. 3: Gestation period

Well, this update took forever to appear! To catch up, see parts one and two of the production journal.

I’ve been on hiatus from the Prisoner’s Cinema artbook project since July when I reached my intermediary goal of 80 works (of what I now realize will be at least 120 total before I cull it down). The time since then has been spent on evaluating the accumulated production so far and find new angles of approach to avoid monotony in the final selection. Toward that two-thirds mark I had gotten the feeling that I might be repeating certain elements in the monotype stage. I learned to be wary of that sort of thing, particularly in an entirely visual collection of works, and an abstract one at that. At the same time, because this process is one of exploration and I expect to eliminate quite a lot of the total work from the final selection, mining different variations on a theme is not necessarily a bad thing.

Now that I went over the pieces several times, and with different criteria, it is clear that I have been somewhat overenthusiastic with my (bubble wrap) macro raster pattern for the confines of this book, but at the same time the texture works on so many levels and in very different contexts that I couldn’t help or regret wallowing in it to the extent that I have. There are some really nice instances of it that I’m going to be sorry to leave out of the final book. Nevertheless, to avoid more repetition I’ve resolved to put aside most of the monotype textures I’ve used so far to try some new things in the remaining 40+ pieces. Another thing that has to change to some degree is my approach to the base collages, which so far haven’t challenged my tendency toward central focus in the composition of monotypes. 

By shifting light and saturated contrasts out from the middle section of the works I hope that I can take the next batch of monotypes toward an approximation of peripheral vision and use more of the image surface which is really rather small to begin with. Besides, I did decide going into this project that I wanted to give up the centre, so I’m probably going to have to adhere to my own dogma. Evaluating the first, larger portion of the ground material, I can see that I developed some ticks and shorthands that, hopefully, this break in the process have flushed out of my system. After testing drawn, geometric colour patterns on a handful of pieces (before the black monotypes), I’m considering incorporating more coloured elements in-between collage and the black coverage. For starters I’m eager to see what textures lace or doilies dipped in acrylic paint may make.

Besides being busy with family and studies — I start work on my Master’s thesis after New Year, which seems crazy — during the hiatus I also had opportunity to revisit and expand upon a collection of sketchbook comics that I originally planned to self-publish under the title Couplets quite a few years ago, but decided was too similar in style to my previous books Mix Tape and Kōan and shelved. With a set of fresh eyes on the material as well as some swift edits and additions, it has come into its own, and will hopefully see print as Fractions in the beginning of 2018. Well before that I will be getting back to work on Prisoner’s Cinema, though; in a couple weeks’ time I’m starting work on the new collages. Next update is not too far away!

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