Sunday, May 28, 2006

My 1st Muerto serigraph

On tuesday, I'll be starting my Artist Residency at Self-Help Graphics, the renowned art gallery and studio located in East LA.
Established in 1973, SHG has become an internationally recognized leader in Latino art. I've actually exhibited there in a group cartoonist show some years ago, and I've participated as a vendor at several events, including their annual Dia de Los Muertos festival.
  • SHG website

  • I've been invited to contribute to their new collection of Serigraphs. There are about a dozen or so artists who'll be participating, with my residency beginning this week, from May 30- June 3. Basically I'll be in-studio there from 10 am-4 pm daily. I'll be working with their Master Printer Jose Apulche (a huge fan of comic books and collector of action figures, by the way!) in creating my first ever El Muerto Serigraph. A serigraph, I've discovered, is a fancy word for a screenprint. Jose and his assistant will be doing the actual printing, but I'm creating the art and have to provide the finished films. Because many people aren't familiar with screenprinting, I thought this would be a good subject for a series of posts here on my blog. I'll be taking pictures daily in the studio and share the progress here.

    First up, a look at my artwork:
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    They wanted to have a comic book look for this current collection of serigraphs and provided us with a general broad theme
    to work in. Terrorism/Immigration was what they gave us, so I took an allegorical slant on 'crossing over' and applied it to El Muerto. Basically him crossing back over to El Otro Lado ('the other side', coincidentally what they call in Mexico the land north of the border). This was just a sketch that I colored in Photoshop to give them an idea what I was doing. The sheet size will be 20" x 24", with an image size of 16" x 20". With a maximum allotment of 5-6 colors, I designed my piece with 5 colors, with the white paper providing the 6th.

    Here is a shot of the final drawing in blue pencil, and below that the final penciled version. The lines are kept very clean, as I will have to trace over those in ink on mylar.
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    Below is the final art with a sheet of mylar taped to it. I'll be inking on the mylar, creating each layer of color on seperate sheets. I've added registration marks to the edges, which will allow me to line up each sheet to one another.
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    Pic on the left is the mylar over the pencilled art, the shot to the right is shows the beginning stages of inking directly onto the mylar. This will comprise the 'black plate'. .
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    Starting tomorrow I'll be in the studio. I'm planning on updating this blog nightly with a progress of the days production (so let's cross our fingers!) . This should give you and idea of the screenprinting process, and provide us a first look at my premier El Muerto Serigraph!


    Jason Martin said...

    Wow, cool, a residency... what a neat opportunity.

    I took a screen printing class probably 20 years ago... and used to know how to do it.

    Javier Hernandez said...

    Thanks Jas! I also took a screenprinting college course last millenium (!), but also work in commercial screenprinting for the last 17 yrs!!

    Yeah, I feel very fortunate to work on this project with Selr Help Graphics. (I've always said that El Muerto has turned out to be a very versatlie vehicle artistcally...)