Digital Monoprint Sneak Peek
So, in my day job, I’m a graphic designer at the church where I grew up. My official title is the Publications and Communications Coordinator, which sounds super fancy, but in reality, is just me in a pokey little office making stuff on my computer. One of the things I make is a monthly magazine we call the Clarion. It started many years ago as just your standard church newsletter, but when I was hired 2.5 years ago, the plan was to expand it into a full-blown magazine with articles written by staff and members.
When I first started putting it together the whole thing felt pretty overwhelming, so I started with a template and did my best to find stock images that went well with the articles. I am a very selective curator, so the results were pretty good. I’ve more or less taught myself graphic design while doing this job, although I’ve been interested and learning on my own for much longer than that, so there was a bit of a learning curve. I’ve been trucking along slapping relevant images into the template (which admittedly has evolved somewhat over the last two years) when it suddenly occurred to me that I have this wonderful platform for original art that has a built-in audience. We mail it out to over 300 people and more download it from our website.
When I say it ‘suddenly occurred to me,’ what I really mean is that I happened upon some inspiration in the form of Jim Le Page’s blog. He’s a talented graphic designer and artist who worked in-house at a church for a long time. Looking at the beautiful original work he made in the course of that job made me realize what an opportunity I had to push the boundaries of my art-making in the context of my church work projects. So, in July I began to create original work to illustrate the articles of each month’s Clarion magazine.
For October, the theme is music, and I was inspired by artist Melissa McCracken, who is synesthetic. This means that when she listens to music, she sees colors. She makes amazing abstract paintings based on what she sees when she listens to specific songs. I’m calling my pieces digital monoprints because I’m painting them digitally (in Photoshop) in a manner reminiscent of monoprinting. I did a lot of printmaking in college, and one of my favorite things to do was to collage a piece of vintage paper onto the printmaking paper, and then run a monoprint through the press. A monoprint is when you paint on to a plexiglass plate and then press it onto paper under the thousands of pounds of pressure from the printing press. Rather than the multitude of prints you get with an etching, you just get one, hence mono. Of course, that’s not what I did here, but it looks similar to what I did.
So, without further ado, here are four of the seven digital monoprints for the October issue of the Clarion.