Alastair Clark what's new, 2019 ? | portfolio | exhibitions | biography | contact

Artists statement

‘Colour is a passion for me, as is the thrill of creating something new.

Working in the field of printmaking allows me freedom to transform and edit images. I often combine photographic and digitally manipulated imagery with direct painted and hand made marks to build layers of richness and visual reference into each piece.  The separation which each printmaking process allows, gives me the opportunity to work more objectively, perhaps as a film editor or a sound engineer does.’

What is an on original print?

An original print is made when an artist creates a new piece of work by working with one (or more) of the printmaking media. Unlike a reproduction, where an original painting is photographed and then mechanically printed en-mass resulting in what is essentially a poster, not an original print.

There are four main printmaking media - Etching, Lithography, Screenprinting and Relief printing. As a painter may choose between oil paint or watercolour, the artist-printmaker chooses the medium which offers them the desired effects and working method.

By working closely with the materials and processes of the medium, the artist usually creates a number of prints. If a set of prints are identical, they are known as a limited print edition. An edition of twenty prints are each numbered in pencil in the margin 1/20, 2/20... along with the artists signature and title. Care and skill is required to print a consistent edition as each print is printed by hand, taking a great deal of time. More colours will require more work!

In a seven colour Lithograph, seven individual plates or stones will have been drawn by the artist, with each one intended to print a separate colour. Each piece of paper will pass through the press seven times with each colour -plate being hand-inked each time. An edition of twenty would mean a total of one hundred and forty hand-inked passes thorough the press.

Many artists are not interested in producing identical prints so instead they use the process to create several, often vastly different versions of the same image. Known as trial-proofs (c.t.p), these prints exemplify the nature of printing in that they are unique prints created directly by an artist. An artists-proof (a.p) may be a print which is similar to the edition or the only existing prints if an edition has never been printed.

So an original print is not a 'copy' which has been quickly churned-out at the press of a button. The whole process involves artistic input from creation to completion. A number of carefully honed skills are needed to produce an original piece of fine art which is affordable, being a fraction of the cost of an original painting or drawing.


What is a Lithograph?

Lithography is a printmaking medium which has been used by artists for around 200 years. Derived from the Greek words for ‘stone’ and ‘writing’ lithographs can be made on the traditional fine grained lithographic limestone blocks or on Zinc or Aluminium plates. Stone lithography is characterised by its direct drawing and painterly qualities. The image is often drawn or painted directly onto the stones’ grained surface with a special ink known as tusche. Images can also be transferred from photocopies onto stone and Alastair regularly uses transfers from digitally manipulated photographs as the starting point for his prints.

Photo-plate lithography allows either photographic or computer manipulated imagery on acetate to be exposed onto the plate before printing.

Often prints combine colours printed from both stones and plates to utilise their separate characteristics with the addition of some screenprinting sometimes too. Multi colour prints are created using several plates and stones to build up layers of transparent and opaque films of ink with each layer being inked by hand.

What is an original print?>

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