Friday, February 5, 2010

Intaglio Concept Sketches -- Pregnancy Doll!

Our first assignment in Intaglio II is to create an 18"x24" plate, printed using one color in an edition of 4 (I'm hoping to do a larger edition if I have time). We'll also be using this same plate to experiment with printing multiple colors on a single plate.

I'm not really used to working large, so the size was initially very intimidating. What do I do with all that space!? However, as I began brainstorming and sketching ideas, the size seemed like less of an issue. Now I'm more worried about practical how much my arm is probably going to hurt from wiping the plate when it comes time to print. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, my concept for this print was sparked by the following item in an online exhibition:

Obstetric Doll, 18th Century

Intrigued, I went on a google-quest to find more information which led me to this Pink Tentacle blog entry about Japanese pregnancy dolls.

These things got me thinking about our relationships to objects, how we create and "give birth" to ideas, and how those objects/ideas often outlive their creators. We often imbue our creations and possessions with a sense of life, either by making them an important part of our own lives or by making them recreate certain aspects of life (as is the case with the pregnancy dolls). The object, however, is frozen in time...which I find a particularly interesting aspect of the pregnancy dolls, which depict a biological process that seems so wrapped up in the concept of time. But for the object, it is a permanent state of being.

So, with that in mind, I began drawing. Originally I considered having the pregnancy doll as a central, prominent image on the plate, with a sort of grid in the background of the little baby-busts that you can see in the photo above. I ran into a problem with that idea: I apparently can't draw babies. Specifically, their faces. Try as I might, they continued to look like tiny demon spawn.

Fortunately, I was able to draw some inspiration from the Encyclopaedia Anatomica and came up with an alternative, which I think is more interesting than my grid idea anyway. I'm very attracted to grid-like compositions and need to get away from the habit of putting things in grids.

I put the main components of my composition on different pieces of tracing paper and am currently in the process of trying to figure out how to arrange them on the plate. Still unsure of the final composition, but here are two that I think work quite well:

Or maybe with the doll figure on the right instead of the left.

They're probably a bit difficult to see...but that's the best I could do--it will be more interesting once I actually start working on the plate. I'm pretty excited about it--I think it will be a fun challenge. As one girl in my class said to me as I was drawing, "That's going to be an awesome plate...creepy...but awesome." I hope so!

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