“Grandmas flower pots and mammy’s turquoise love” 2022 – Silk screen print on unryu paper, my personal artist signature stamp, archival ink, 8.5 x 11”
When I created the Darkroom Angel chemigram I found myself in a dark room. Both literally and figuratively. Happy go lucky front hit the wall of total isolation. There was nothing spontaneous or hysterical about it. I am very logical. You have to reach out. Speak to someone. Call a help line. I read all that on the red iPhone screen color tinted for darkroom. Soft smile. Kodak powder developer started to look more and more attractive as an midnight snack. The screen went black. I sat in the darkness, giving up, maybe for the first time ever just giving up. Nobody wants to go, we all want to be saved - another beautiful phrase thrown to me by omniscient iPhone suddenly coming to life. Red screen light fell on a stack of paper.
One last print? .. a swish of paint, a dab of chemicals, a couple of baths and a simple shape emerged from the paper. It was purely abstract but at that moment I saw an Angel wing. I am not religious. The image was an invitation to a dialogue. They say if you cannot find your dream job create it. Kind of the same. If there’s nobody to reach out to in the moment of dire need create something that can speak to you. The shape I created spoke the language of care, safety and love. This language no matter how stupid it may seem was the language of color. Grandma’s flower pots and mammy’s favorite stone turquoise. The flowers changed but pots were always there. Subdued terracotta tone meant that no matter what happened they will always be there waiting for me. Turquoise is my mom’s favorite stone. I once asked her why she smiled and said turquoise means love.
I washed the trays and tightly closed remaining developer powder bag. Next day I decided the Angel deserved the gift of colors. I burned the screens, mixed the pigments and picked the paper for the print. I do not give all the prints the honor of my personal signature stamp. This one deserved it. The signature was carved for my by a Japanese artist many years ago. He was very old when he did it. He may not be living now but his work is. Bright red - the color of life.
I am a New York based artist photographer that works with such processes as pigment lift transfers, polaroid emulsion lift and decay, lumen printing, cyanotypes, chemigrams, anthotypes, chlorophyll printing and silk screen printing and a curator at Today’s Alternative – Instagram platform that brings together contemporary artists working with alternative photographic processes.
My work tells stories that touch me deeply. I create unique prints to give voice to the narratives that speak about despair and love, isolation and warmth, vulnerability and strength. The project I recently finished is the artist book In The Palm of Your Hand done in a silk screen printing technique. The choice of the artist book format is not accidental. I am a lifelong haiku poet and consider my images visual haiku inspired by the aesthetics of wabi-sabi.
This book explores the concept of home and the meaning of belonging.
When I was little my grandma used to sing me a song about what it means to have a home.
“It is well known that home is not walls and windows. It isn’t even a table with chairs around it. Home is where you return again and again. It is where you want to be irrespective whether you are joyful, kind, tender or angry and barely alive. Home is where you are understood, where someone hopes and waits for you. Your home is where you forget everything bad that happens to you.”
Each page of this book is created in a silk screen technique. I coat a screen with photo sensitive emulsion and let it dry in the dark. I chose the image I want to use and print it on a transparency. I put the transparency on the precoated screen and burn the screen with UV light. The screen is then washed and dried. This creates a stencil through which I push the ink with a squeegee. I printed the cover of the book and both haiku poems written by me in the same technique. The images of the poems and texts on the cover were created by photosensitive technique and are photographic images as well.
All my life I struggled to find where I really belong as an immigrant, a queer person, a human being in search of true and authentic connection. I think this book shows the sense of longing to be accepted and appreciated for who you really are.