This screen print is my favourite to date. It took six months of development and change, and was finalised in 2014. It’s one of an edition of ten that started life as a line drawing of a skeletal structure. Initially the image went through many screen-printed and hand-coloured editions onto a variety of surfaces until it became the final printed piece in a CMYK colour format. This is known as a photographic colour process, which I develop through avoiding any digital processes until the final colour separation in a halftone.
Screen-printing often gets bad press in the printmaking community as the ‘throwaway’ print process that’s easy for anyone to create. However, screen-printing can show up mistakes that aren’t easy to cover up. Some artists thrive on this, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist. If I can, I circumnavigate Photoshop with handbuilt effects, but if you make everything as perfect as you can at each stage, then you can experiment with the print layers and colouring freely.
The subject of this print comes from an interest in botanical shapes and structures in nature, in the science of building and how we might interpret these symbols. I know this could be classed as a cliche, with many artists using this area as a focus for their work, but in the words of The Smiths, “Nature is a language – can’t you read?”
In this print there is also a hidden non-colour retro-reflective layer, only visible by torchlight when viewed in the dark. I like my prints to hold subtle hidden meaning through the surface application of inks intended for industrial uses – thick but transparent varnish layers, for example, that visually set the print apart from a digital rendition. The deep greens are taken from evergreen trees in a dark forest, to represent a presence buried within a silent place.
I work full-time as a print technician at Nottingham Trent University and part-time as a printmaker in my studio, although in an ideal world these roles would be reversed. I specialised in Fine Art Printmaking at Sheffield Hallam University, and spent my final year immersed in their print facilities creating smaller etchings and large scale screen-printed banners.
Recently I’ve returned to copper etching plates, and work at Leicester Print Workshop to realise these pieces. My dream print project would be a month of off-grid forest living with a tree-house containing printmaking facilities to create new work or, failing that, a drawing residency at Oxford Natural History Museum with unlimited access to all the many skeletons.
Metamorphic was selected for both the Salisbury Print Open and The Malt Cross Print Open in 2014/15, with sales at Sheffield Print Fair last year.
Vicky Price will be showing her work at the Wirksworth Art Festival Trail, 10am - 5pm, £7, Saturday 10 - Sunday 11 September 2016.