Monday, November 13, 2017

Digitally Printed Ceramic Transfers of Ballpoint pen drawings: Shards and Readymades

I am a practicing ceramic artist with a passion for drawing, hyper-realistic ballpoint pen renderings (see image left of five clawed dragon). Herein lies an innovative and creative output opportunity; to capitalise on the latest digitally printed ceramic transfer technology, to reproduce my drawings for a variety of surface development options in a diverse range of ceramic products and statements.

As expressive ceramics, the transfers are applied to modelled, moulded and press moulded up-scaled ceramic shards, in a series titled Manufaction (title image and image above). Alternatively, the transfers are applied to ready-mades in a limited edition of design orientated crafted products (jug with stand, image left).
At the centre of my creative output is my philosophical approach around making; thinking through drawing (drawing of the rooster above) and design. My work celebrates the handmade, referencing Asian craft traditions from a historical and creative perspective, in the creation of contemporary ceramic statements. I mainly visualise and realise my ideas and concepts in terms of cutting edge ceramic techniques and processes in a digital and information age.

My Creative output therefore has a two-pronged approach - firstly as mentioned above, to produce expressive ceramic statements capitalizing on my passion for ballpoint pen drawings in the form of digitally printed ceramic transfers – applied mainly to up scaled ceramic shards, expressive ceramic vessels (see enclosed images). 
Every mark of the crosshatched ball point pen drawings is visible in the digitally printed ceramic transfers. and applied to the shards in a variety of creative and innovative surface development options. My aim is to explore traditional blue and white ware surface decoration, illustrated mainly in blue ballpoint pen ink on acid free paper. I reference mainly figuration and motifs found on traditional blue and white wares of the Ming Dynasty – produced for global trade. 

The final works have a cutting-edge contemporary expressive function. The first shard I produced however, featured here, showcases a digitally printed ceramic transfer of my ballpoint rendering of Albrecht Durer’s finely crafted Iris Troiana

The drawing was executed for an artist’s book installation titled, read, peep & reap. The tile of the artist book installation prompts the viewer to consider the death of the crafts and the handmade in a digital age. 
Celebrating the art of drawing and fine craftsmanship in bookbinding, it pays homage to the ultimate ‘artisan’, Dürer, who was not only a painter, printmaker and engraver but also a mathematician. 
The original drawing was scanned and photo-shopped to produce a variety of digitally printed ceramic transfers. Black and white transfers of the flower were applied to the outer fragmented and shattered edges of the press moulded and carved shard. The full colour transfers of the Iris Troiana were placed in the centre of the shard – unblemished and damaged by the implied journey in and over time – from a dedicated handmade (a crafted aesthetic) to a digitally crafted and produced product (a digitally handmade aesthetic).

The shard therefore, with its shattered edges and fragmented transfers including perfectly rendered Iris Troiana in the centre (in full colour), embodies metaphorical journey – a crossover from hand crafted to the digitally handmade.  Shards have for centuries been the centre for archaeological studies in the movement of peoples and cultures across continents and oceans – from east to west and from Europe to the colonies. 
My latest work in the shard series, Manufraction, is adorned with digitally printed ceramic transfers of my blue ballpoint pen rendering of a Barn Swallow. Three million Barn Swallows migrate every year to Mount Moreland in KwaZulu Natal (one roost site). 
A lifestyle that takes it thousands of kilometres across the globe during migration and which brings it in close contact with humans during spring and summer. The migratory bird best illustrates the implied journey in the shard series. Adding fourth dimension to the notion of journey in the work. 

The transfers in various sizes are cutup and applied to the fractured and shattered shards in a variety of configurations, illustrating amongst other, the plight of destitute refugees and their migration across the globe (diaspora)

However, for this ceramic artist it has more to do with the creolization of cultures in a glocal society. The symmetrical and asymmetrical transfer configurations take on a surreal cloning quality in various zones of the fragmented shard. Typifying the stresses, strains and scenes in migratory crossovers/verges; happenstances/ associated with a diaspora of various peoples and cultures.

Secondly, the transfers are applied to ready-mades manufactured by Voster and Braye. Their forms and shapes closely resemble a modernist oriental design style with smooth surfaces - perfect for exploring an endless variety of compositions in transfer applications when applying a bespoke approach. 
The range showcased here references traditional blue and white wares made for global trade (Ming Dynasty) in digital and information age. The aim is to produce one-of-a-kind ceramic ware with a digitally handmade aesthetic. This is achieved by capitalising on the advancements in digitally printed ceramic transfers - making it possible to order one print, one sheet with a bespoke approach in the design and layout of the transfer.

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