My work is a combination of experimental photographic techniques and hand-applied color. To make the photographic base image, I collage negatives of photographed tattoos with negatives of flora and fauna. For the tattoos, I photograph people’s tattoos with a 4X5″ camera and enlarge the negatives onto larger film in the darkroom. The negatives I use for my imagery of flora and fauna are camera-free. In the darkroom, I project a small object — a flower or a piece of seaweed, for example — onto negative film with my enlarger. I try to allow the shapes to take form in an organic process of discovery, working with various degrees of focus in the final image.
I then combine multiple negatives of tattoos with negatives of flora and fauna. Next, I paint palladium emulsion on handmade translucent Japanese gampi paper. Once the emulsion has dried, I place the negatives on it and top with glass and expose the image outdoors in the sun. It can take mere minutes in the summer or even hours in the winter for the image to form.
Depending on my ideas for each work, I may expose the work again with other negatives or paint it with water colors. Each unique work is process driven. At each stage I decide how the work is communicating.
My artwork in the form of palladium prints is on exhibit. This exhibition has been curated by Azure Arts and the dates are February 23, 2023 to March 13, 2023. The venue is located at 5 Rivington Street in Manhattan. My work is in correspondence with two other artists who address the theme of “Vital Impetus”.
“Vital impetus” derives from the concept of “elan vital” , a term coined by the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Rather than simply adhering to a set of mechanistic laws, Bergson contended that life has an inherent drive or impulse towards creativity, growth and innovation. While his philosophy emphasizes the role of individual experience, consciousness and creativity, he also saw the ‘self’ as fundamentally connected to others. The ‘self’ for Bergson, stands in dynamic relation to others. The ‘self’ is evolving constantly through its interactions with others.
In my artworks on exhibit, the human body is explored as a site for construction and communication of identity. Tattoos are vehicles for merging our human experiences with the larger world. By culling images from mythology, artifacts, and flora and fauna, my work explores the vital connections between self and other.