PTSD Dream #4 Collage by Richard Arfsten

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Making a monotype

Art Description

Collage: Digital, Ink, Paint, Paper, Monotype on Paper.

I have not been in war but have had some trauma. This is what I imagine a Vietnam veteran experiences as he is traveling back in time.

Printmaking: Monotype on Paper.

I love making monotypes. The big attraction to me is the huge amount of unpredictability in the process. Basically you put ink on a plate and then lay a piece of paper on to the ink and then put pressure on the paper. Only some of the ink transfers to the paper. This is where the magic happens. When you peal the paper away from the plate it is elation or disappointment. It is Christmas each time you do this "opening of the sandwich" because you really do not know what the art gods will give you.

There are many variables involved such as the amount of pressure, the type of paper, the amount and type of ink, the design, how the ink was applied, yatta yatta. After you pull the print you have to decide "do I stop here, or keep on manipulating the image.

The other gift you get is the remaining ink on the plate. Most people wipe the remaining off of the plate but not me. I put another piece of paper on the remaining ink and create a ghost which becomes part of the history of another composition.

These are called montypes or monoprints because you only get one copy of the design. I like to work in a series to show all the variations of the design. I put a number on each print so I can keep the variations organized.

The printing press to make monotypes is extremely expensive. This along with the time required to make one painting can be very long. It takes a week for the ink to dry before I run it through the press again to add to the design. Some time it takes months to make a picture because I do not have a road map how to make it and what I want to do to it next. These things are too big to fit in your garage so now you need a special building that must be rented. On top of that it costs thousands of dollars to have a machinery mover put it in your space after you have spent your life savings on the press. Bottom line is monotypes are expensive to make but are really really fun to do..



PTSD Dream #4

Richard Arfsten

United States


Size: 40 W x 24 H x 1.1 in

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