Sunday, 12 September 2010

When is a drawing not a drawing?

Back in 2002 when I started my MA in Printmaking I became interested in the whole idea of multiples, repetition etc. and I suppose started to question when is a print not a print? One of the things I did was hand cut very large stencils of fragments of  fabric showing the spaces left by removing stitching. I then draw through them by hand with various grades of pencil, ballpoint pens etc. Each drawing was different and often I would only do one drawing/ print from a stencil.(although there was always the potential for an unlimited number).
 I also did  series of drawings from the same  stencil using different media and surfaces including 'Blueprints' below where I did 5 drawings each with a different make of blue ballpoint pen - each turned out a different colour and was hand-drawn so had individual marks/ variations in tone. (Actually this was intended to be a series of drawings where each was finished when the ballpoint pen ran out but none of them did.....)
 Work undertaken at this time was the beginning of my whole body of work produced since then which has been exclusively drawing based.
Drawing digitally has led me to revisit many of these thoughts but from the opposite perspective. Instead of a print possibly becoming a drawing - a drawing is now possibly becoming a print?
I am fairly confident that I can describe the above as an original drawing (in progress) - it is produced in exactly the same way as my pencil/paper drawings - just with a digital pen and 'paper'. The problem really arises with the method of exhibition/ presentation. If the drawing is projected same size (1016 x 1372) or shown on a computer screen at same size it is still the original drawing - in fact probably more so as it allows it to be viewed at 1:1 scale. (I think it can be called a print if screened/ projected / printed at a different size/ resolution to the original as there has been an intervention and the original has been altered) But what if it is projected 1:1 a number of times simultaneously? Or shown on a number of screens? If the file is copied is it still the original? How can there be two or more identical originals? What about if printed on paper - but only once and never again?.... Lots of questions and no answers at the moment but I am wondering if the language which has developed to describe/ categorise traditional art work is actually inadequate for describing digital artwork?  Maybe trying to fit a round peg in  a square hole?

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