The thing I love most about art is the freedom it gives me to play and experiment, and that’s also why I enjoy mark making and printing so much – the possibilities are endless! You could press anything into paint, making it into a beautifully original stamp for your art.
I’ve printed with my kids’ toys, with things collected during my morning walk, with lace and buttons and coins and bathroom mats, and oh so many random objects I’ve found lying around! There are so many interesting things to print. Here are a few extraordinary ones.
Australian artist Geoffrey Ricardo prints stuffed animals, like these:
You can follow his process in this wonderful video.
Gyotaku is the traditional Japanese method of printing fish. This form of nature printing was used by fishermen to record their catches, but has also become an art form of its own. The fish are covered with ink or paint, and then printed.
Above images are from here.
This image is from here.
Placenta prints are quite common after home births. The printed placenta resembles a tree, and is therefore called “the tree of life”. It’s a nice print of a very special moment in life, and I’ve seen such prints hanging in some homes.
Image from here.
Artist Bryan Nash Gill creates wonderful prints of tree stumps:
Artist Willie Cole creates amazing prints by marking paper and fabric with irons.
American artist Ted Meyer explores bodies altered by scars. As a child, Meyer was often hospitalized for his medical condition, and he would then start creating to help him process and heal. Later in life, he started helping others deal with their medical conditions, and one of his bodies of works is named, “Scarred for Life”, and includes approximately 100 prints of scars. The stories that each scar tells interest him, and by painting and printing their scars, and hearing their stories, Meyer helps these people process the trauma during which the scar was created. All of his photos are here. They are not always very simple to look at, but I find this idea amazing, and its therapeutic value even more so.
And here comes the seventh idea – how many times have you walked past a city manhole covers and stopped to check it out? Well, apparently there’s a whole trend of printing them! Don’t you love it? When I traveled in Japan I took so many photos of these covers, because they’re all so beautiful! There are some wonderful ones in San Francisco, with Dia De Los Muertos skeletons on them, have you seen them?
What I find special about these prints is not only how beautiful they turn out, but also the ability they offer to process significant life events (birth, injuries), document experiences (manhole covers, fish) and maybe insert them into your art journal. Have you used similar ways to document significant events in your journal?