Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ballpoint Pen Drawings Digitally Printed Ceramic Transfers

Finally the creative moment has arrived. I am able to translate my ballpoint pen drawings into digitally printed ceramic transfers/decals in all shapes and sizes. Every mark is there and clearly visible is the drawing technique referred to as crosshatching, mastered to create the three-dimensional modelled effect of the rendered subject, in this case a flower. The creative opportunities are endless. This was not possible with the silk-screening decal/transfer manufacturing processes with on-glaze colours – silkscreening flat colours (layered).

Enclosed are images of plates (readymades*) with the ceramic transfers/decals in a variety of patterns, created from a ballpoint pen drawing of an iris flower titled 'Iris Troiana'. The drawing formed part of an artists book installation titled, Read Peep Reap.

A renowned collector of artist’s books purchased the artwork towards the end of 2014, at an artist’s book group exhibition at Gallery Art On Paper, Johannesburg. Follow the provided link to a blog post showcasing the work in the gallery. The drawing is one of three components that make up the purchased artists book installation (image on the left). Of particular interest are images of the original drawing (framed drawing) and a few images of the patterns - exploring symmetry and asymmetry. The designs were digitally created using the form and shape of the rendered flower.

The next phase is to develop an appropriate clay form and shape to best utilise the showcased digital ceramic transfers. My friend and colleague, John Shirley and I, have had numerous discussions as to a possible and suitable solution – a ceramic end product. We came up with a few concepts and ideas, three to be exact.

The first concept is to design and develop forms and shapes, sculptural and or vessel based, that in one way or another reads as pages and underscores ‘bookness’. This is an obvious route to follow, the idea derived from the artists book installation – a ceramic statement as artist book or vice-versa. 

Captured here are preparatory renderings exploring obvious vessels forms and shapes - initial sketches. The digital ceramic transfers will include the preparatory renderings, reference material, text and final drawing (exploring the codex of the book) and patterns re-enforcing the notion of artist sketchbooks, expressive vessels, and sculptural books, albeit in the medium of clay.

This would make sense, as I am a ceramic artist with a passion for drawing, especially ballpoint pen renderings. I have about 25 sketchbooks full of drawings, first started as a master’s student at Michaelis. It also falls within the ambit of my latest creative and research output in which I celebrate the handmade, with strong concepts and meaning that straddles the disciplines of ceramics, sculpture, drawing, artist’s books, digital printing, ceramic installations with projected animations and including design.

The second idea is to collaborate with a ceramist creating digitally produced clay forms. The challenge being an appropriate smooth glazed ceramic surface. The idea is to combine digitally produced clay forms with digitally produced ceramic transfers that were hand crafted in its conceptual development phase. Here I am thinking of the work of Jonathan Keep, image on the left and below.

The third idea is to complete the modelling and casting for the pop-couture ceramic statement – a stylised popcorn with handcrafted surface development options – follow link to concept renderings etc. Each work will then be a one-off, exploring various drawings selected from my sketchbooks, celebrating the concepts and ideas afresh.

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