BACKGROUND, PROCESS, AND DISCOVERY
Since high school, I have taken photos of my art, family, and friends. These three subject areas have represented ongoing interests and activities which has defined most of my existence--giving me a reason for living each day significantly up to the present time.
I remember how pleased I felt in my late teens when I purchased a Rolleicord Twin Lens Reflex camera. It quickly became a proactive tool for taking B&W photos related to the vicissitudes of my everyday life.
Besides taking pictures, I developed negatives in the bathroom late at night when my parents were asleep. Converting negative images on to photographic paper. To see the image slowly emerge from the whiteness of the paper was always an anticipated wonder, ready to reveal itself with all its photographic detail. This experience remains a profound. It has transformed me to the wonder and magic of things I did not know at the time.
Photography also gave me a socially acceptable identity softening my anxiety in social situations. A camera hanging over my shoulder provided something worth sharing with others when I had little or nothing to say.
Fast forward to 1995, a new printmaking subject of interest came to mind: family portraits and friends. It soon became a major project for exploring personal photos taken decades ago and recent ones taken with a digital camera. I began by reverting to an earlier time to convert a few family photos to digital files. There were many changes and creative possibilities for viewing digital files. The different levels of magnification turned out better than I could have imagined. Digital augmentation revealed many unperceived details that allowed for more clarity and the use of special effects.
By bringing ordinary families and friends into the artful arena of printmaking, I thought required large-scale bleed prints such as 40" x 30" would add a greater sense of importance. This large-size print would be challenging for transferring small paper-litho plates to BFK paper, and from the handling and inking. Over the years, I have printed with this unique and seldom used method of printing that has become familiar. to me. Fragile plates and unpredictable printing make maintaining high-quality prints concerning and challenging. Nevertheless, this method has proved to have dan inherent visual character that creates a radically different kind of artfulness in portraiture.
Celebrating my dear parents, family, and friends within the inviolable realm of art is my way of honoring them. Also, de-marginalizing paper-litho as a worthy printing method with the realization of its uniqueness, potentiality, and visual character is an achievement.
John Avakian, Oct. 23, 2018 Revised Sept,26, 2022
SEE SLIDE SHOW BELOW
Detail of David T. See full portrait in slide show below this page.
DAVID A AT CAFE BLAZE Bleed Monoprint 42" h X 29.5" w