I crumpled up some prints and then took pictures of them.

While I was working on Circular in the studio I started thinking about crumpled paper. At first I was simply thinking about something I saw somewhere. A drawing of a crumpled piece of paper. I’m not sure if I’m imagining that or if I’ve actually seen one. For some reason as I write this the artist Escher comes to mind but I have no idea if he did such a drawing and I don’t see it after doing a simple Google search.  I then began to imagine how I could create a pseudo crumpled piece of paper using origami techniques and researched that a bit. Again I came up empty handed. I did find an article on the physics of paper crumpling, but it’s not really pertinent.

I started to clean up a bit. My studio is really just a table in the basement and it’s a bit cluttered with stuff we should probably simply throw out. Anyway, I was organizing and I found a bunch of 12″ x 12″ artist proofs I had intended to send out for publicity as some point but never did. I crumpled one up. The first one is shown below. I think it’s the most successful of these three, mainly because you can tell it’s a photograph and the subject is somewhat identifiable as you can see in the original reference image. The colours are also nice.

I think I can explore this act of crumpling in a lot of ways. The work above is a slightly destructive impulse I had towards older work. It’s not because I don’t like that work any more but because I wanted to see it differently. I’m very engaged in discovering new ways to look at photography or in ways to re-use it that depart from the typical practice of shooting a subject because its beautiful or immediately interesting.

The final shots from yesterday yielded another direction. I have a paper backdrop on a roll. I cut a piece of it off to cover the table I shoot on. I needed a new backdrop because the foamcore I’ve been using is a bit yellowish. I ended up with a section of paper that was some 12 feet across and about 5 feet deep that I had intended to throw out. It was dirty and ripped already. Instead of recycling it I crumpled it up. The result are shown here. I like the detail and the circular nature of the ball of paper. This crumple is about 12″ in diameter.


I’d like to work on creating crumples using some sort of process. But for now the random act of balling up a piece of paper has a lot of possibility for me.

I just remembered a possible alternate source of inspiration for this work. I love the work of Tom Friedman. He did some work with paper where he crumpled it and then meticulously recreated a copy of that same crumpling in another sheet of paper. While I was looking for that work I come across the work of Martin Creed. He crumpled a ball of paper and put it on display.

For me the bottom line is that the crumpled piece of paper reflect, holds, and cast an amazing light in the studio. It’s architecture is something to be sought after and not maligned. : )

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Circular is an extension of Circles and Ellipses and Colour Theory. The images in this post are simple constructions shot with available light in my makeshift studio. I think the next step will be to get some more advanced type of lighting, maybe a better/truer black & white background material and to elaborate the constructions.I’ll print these as single photographs, no edition. This will make each photograph unique and bring me closer to sculpture/painting. I think of these more like the work of many before me who make something, photograph it and then disassemble it, or let the work just cease to be. I think of Andy Goldsworthy, although his work has a  more formulated thesis and involves a more complicated construction scenario. These are simple constructions. I like simple.The über contrast between the stark white and black backgrounds is working well, but could be improved. I also have to be careful with the edges of my dibond circles. In hindsight creating the circles from photographic prints and then mounting them in dibond was an expensive and not very robust move. When I shoot these on a slight angle the edges of the material detract from the overall effect. These are also pretty touchy. They scratch easily and the edges of the photographs lift off the substrate when I fool around with them too much. It was also an expensive process that was sort of overkill. One of the surprises is the shadows. I think I can manipulate the shadows to be even more interesting as well use other geometric forms of material to make the light behave in more regulated and angular patterns. Right now all that can be really seen are the circular shadows caused by the angle of the light sources. If I can move to either constant light sources with more power or strobe flash light I might be able to create solid lines of shadow that criss cross the sculptural surface of the disc and the picture frames.I’ll print these in various sizes, but I’m leaning towards 48 x 48. I’m toying with making them small prints, and that might be an option because they they’ll become affordable and more practical for many people. There’s also a possibility I’ll take the circles out into the world. I’m fixated in a pile of these  crammed into a corner of the stairwell in my office building. It’s a concrete staircase and very bland. I think the circles would seem so unreal and maybe slightly happy there. 


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