During a Level 3 Creative Arts Hangout I said that my theme for Level 3 was flowers and the threats they face. The excessive and indiscriminate use of pesticides has been recognised as a severe threat to plants and flowers due to the effect on insect pollinators. As part of the group discussion around this the idea came out to print a photograph of a flower and then spray it with pesticide. I tried this on a couple of occasions with different inkjet papers but it seemed to have little effect.
I left the idea for a while but when using Hahnemuhle Rice Paper for a different print it seemed that the much thinner paper might be affected in a different way. It tried it out and it worked giving an interesting effect. I think the fact that the ‘damage’ to the floral image has been caused by a pesticide give an added layer of meaning.
I tried first of all with the scans that I had made for my first attempt at Surimono, such as the snowdrop above and the Rose and Narcissus below.
The more I tried the more I realised that I could control the direction that the inks would take when they started to run. This could be regulated by controlling the amount of Pesticide sprayed on and also changing the orientation of the paper as the ink started to run. This meant that the final image was not produced entirely by chance but allowed some element of control over the final appearance of the image. Examplesof this are shown in the Fritillary and crocus below.
The effect worked well when the flowers were printed on a white background with plenty of space around them. A different effect was achieved when the flower took up most of the canvas as shown with the Aster and Lily below.
I then experimented with using a paintbrush to ‘paint’ the image with pesticide. This too gave a very different effect, more obviously manipulated with the evident brush strokes, which perhaps emphasises the human control over pesticide use.
I will continue to experiment with different ways of applying the pesticide (brush, sponge, spray) as I think that there is the potential here for a substantial series.
What I am not sure about is if the pesticide will affect the longevity of the ink, or indeed the safety aspect of handling pesticide sprayed prints (e.g. at assessment). I have, therefore, scanned in all the prints I have made so that they can be printed in the normal fashion.
Goulson, D. (2020) Reversing the Decline of Insects. At: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/Reversing%20the%20Decline%20of%20Insects%20Report%20-EMBARGO%2008.07.20%20%282%29.pdf