Visual Journal Page 55: Piston Prints

I have the most amazing husband in the world, and I try to make sure he knows how much I love him everyday. When his birthday comes around I try to do this even more and it’s my goal to make his day from sun up to sun down all about him. I start with homemade breakfast and end with homemade dinner and birthday dessert. In addition to cooking for him I also spend a lot of time thinking about what would be the perfect birthday gift.

Nick loves cars, motorcycles, any sort of automobile/object that gets you from here to there. While working on cars is a great hobby, it’s also an expensive one… and something I know nothing about, so I will never be able to buy him gifts related to it unless I get a very specific list. This year for his birthday I knew that I wanted to make him something. I wanted it to be something that he was interested in, something more “manly”, something he would want to hang on his wall. This project was a perfect way for me to integrate his hobby and my knowledge of art… even if I lacked knowledge in cars.

Around this time it just so happened that I was teaching a relief printmaking project, and I took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by creating an example for my class and one of Nick’s birthday presents. I decided I wanted to focus on something car related, and eventually decided to do an image of car pistons. I loved the pattern it created, it looked abstract, but if you know anything about cars you know what you are looking at.

In printmaking you have to create multiple proofs, or practice prints, before you get the perfect one, which is then called an edition. After carving out the linoleum (a rubber like block you carve your design in) you have to print it in order to see if you need to change anything, fix anything, etc. I am no master of printmaking, so needless to say I had many, many not so perfect proofs. After I had my three perfect prints I decided to make use of my proofs, rather than through them away. I knew I wanted to make a birthday page for Nick and this was the perfect inspiration for his visual journal page and a great way to use my proofs.

To create this visual journal page I simply collaged together the proofs I had after creating Nick’s birthday present. I ripped up the background of the proofs to create the ripped up looking background of the page. I ripped close to the piston design and layered them using prints with different colors. I only had one blue print, and decided to move it away from the group to create a focal point. To keep the composition from getting too cluttered I left a little bit of space between the pistons and the ripped up background. I used rubber cement to glue everything down and sharpie to write the words.

CHALLENGE: Create a page about an event you planned for someone else. It could be a party, a present, a meal, a surprise gift!

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