March 09, 2020
Susan Haywood Smith is a Pakeha raised in South Auckland. With no link to her Irish/English heritage to make reference to, she embraced the wonderfully rich culture of the Maori and Pacific Islanders around her. This was reinforced by her family ties to the Te Arawa Iwi.
Today, she is still reconciling the two worlds of her British lineage alongside het experience of Maoridom. Her art allows her to work through this dichotomy from which she hopes to create powerful and stirring New Zealand artwork.
Many of Susan's prints combine different printmaking techniques in the one image.
Using special tools she carves an image on to linoleum. The linoleum surface is then inked up with a roller and printed on to paper by hand or by using a printmaking press. The image is transferred on to the paper and becomes reversed. Where the linoleum has been carved, this will appear as white on to the paper as this area is below the surface of the linoleum and has not picked up ink. Several blocks can be used to add different colours. Each block is printed separately.
Photopolymer etching is a safer form of traditional etching. Photopolymer plates are relatively new to printmaking and allow an accurate reproduction of a photographic image. It is a very versatile technique, allowing printmakers infinite possibilities unconstrained by the medium.
Artwork is firstly created on to a transparent sheet. The transparency is then overlaid on to the photopolymer plate and exposed to ultraviolet light. This can be done in the sun, or for greater control, by using a box emitting ultra violet light. On the plate surface is a polymer that is light sensitive and water-soluble. The area of polymer exposed to ultraviolet light hardens, whereas the polymer blocked by the artwork remains water-soluble. This area dissolves in water leaving the image from the transparency etched into the polymer. The etched area on the plate captures the ink and the image is printed using a printmaking press. This process is the inverse of relief printmaking as the ink is captured below the surface of the plate.
The term “Giclée Print” makes reference to the creation of original fine art using ink jet as the method of printing. With today’s advanced technology exceptional quality Giclée prints are able to be created that are of an archival quality.
In order to retain a raw, printerly quality to my Giclée prints, the artworks are first printed using traditional methods such as intaglio and relief. The designs are then layered with other images such as original, delicate graphite drawings. The completed Giclée artworks are rich, tactile prints that retain the essence of the printmaking mark.
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