One strand of my project has been to collaborate with associate artists in order to discuss approaches to their own practice, look at ways that they might use the cyanotype process and to get a general idea of how they promote and sell their own work and make a living from their art practice. One of those artists is Leicestershire based Meg Bonser. Meg is an artist that works within multiple disciplines but with a lot of her work based around painting and collage to create images of natural forms. It was mainly this approach of collaging that I was interested in bringing to the Cyanotype process, or in the very least seeing how that might inspire me into new directions or ways of working on my own images.
I started by detailing the cyanotype process to Meg so that she could experiment with a few test images. I then showed her my current work in progress and we discussed my current approaches and ways that I create the work. Our conversations threw up some interesting ideas. Meg talked about the ways in which I might be able to “collage” various components of the images to create a final piece. This really requires me to see the images as three dimensional when I’m actually creating the two dimensional final print. We experimented with a couple of ways that this could be achieved, namely layering up objects at different heights or sandwiching objects under layers of glass or transparent materials. This gave differing shades of blue in the resulting test prints. It also set me thinking about how three dimensional structures placed on the treated paper could become part of the final piece, acting as a sculptural element that possibly sits along side the print. This shading could also be gradually moved across the image through the movement of the sun if the exposures were to take place over a set period of time.
I also got a chance to quiz Meg on the ways that she promotes, distributes and sells her own work. I’d mainly thought about approaching sales through an online method but Meg made me realise that a more local approach might be best for my work, finding independent galleries and shops that would be willing to stock prints or potentially books (depending on how my personal work pans out in the future) rather than trying to push things online. When tasked with thinking about it I would largely be promoting to friends and family online due to the type of online following I have, so looking at ways to put my work in front of strangers was a valuable insight and one that I’ll investigate in future.
So overall the meet ups with Meg have left me with a few things to ponder on whilst continuing to play around with ideas for my own practice, and they also left me with a lovely piece of cyanotype work made by Meg herself!