As some of my research took me down the context of myth, I’d looked into Greek black-figure pottery as an aesthetic direction. I felt this was something that I could recreate with the riso printer through ink and paper combinations.
Basically, when I started my riso tests, I used black and red riso inks and tested these on white, grey and brown recycled paper. The outcomes on the white and grey papers weren’t awful but they didn’t have that aesthetic that I was aiming for! However, by the time I got to the brown recycled paper, it felt as though the tests were starting to come together. I thought that the red ink would work really well as from memory the pottery was a lot redder than a brown or terracotta but actually, once it was against the brown paper then it wasn’t black figure at all… Kind of missed the point of black figure at that moment but moving on! However, the black riso ink worked really well with the recycled paper so once I’d established this would create my black-figure pottery inspired aesthetic I started thinking about the imagery I would use as my tests were just pottery patterns that aren’t representative of my text.
Once I went back to my sketches I thought about the collage work I had produced and paired with a little bit more visual research looking at digital collages I felt this would be interesting to try pairing with riso. So using imagery of a Greek marble statue, I found a website that could convert the image into halftone dots which I haven’t tried with the riso before. The aim was this would reduce the amount of ink laid on the page which means that the print wouldn’t get caught up in the riso drum (which for large areas of ink – especially red ink – can be an issue). Once I converted the image to halftone I ‘cracked’ the image and added text from the Doll, then divided up the layers so I could print these as both red and black.
The outcomes that I produced with the riso weren’t perfect. Straight to the point! I had set up the type as grey so it wouldn’t come out solid black but in fact, I had made that element too light so not enough ink had been put down on the page. To correct this I would just make the text black so it matched the same black of the image. Also, I thought that the brown-papered print would look the best due to it being the desired aesthetic but actually the grey paper I was using was much more effective due to the contrast between the paper and the inks.
After producing the initial prints I put them back through the riso to test out a couple of ideas that I had had. The first was putting a film strip on the bed and scanning that onto the master; this didn’t have the effect I was expecting as it just printed out a solid block – I assume the fine details of the images were just too fine? I also scanned some ink strokes onto the master but I don’t think that the gradient of the ink came through enough although I’m a fan of the subtle textures. While I don’t think I’ll use either of these little tests for this project I do think that it was interesting to see what results these ideas could give.