The final print (for now)

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Hard to believe this will be one of the last times I will print at UWE, and it feels like a shame that it is such a problematic day printing. I am printing a large format image from my concrete factory study, an image which I feel is strong. Unfortunately, I miscalculate the size of the black slab, leaving me with a black border that I cannot excuse or hide. This combines with a failure to check the blend on my red ink, which means the base layer is far to strong and fights with the silver overprint. The final effect is interesting, creating an almost solarised effect, but it isn’t at all consistent with my other prints and I’m not happy with the final result. A positive to take from this is that I am confident that this is a strong image to work with – even if this print is flawed.

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With the final print pulled efforts are focused on preparing for final submission. This is in equal measure nerve wracking and rewarding. It’s incredible to see how far my work has developed and gained shape and direction over the past months, but at the same time there doesn’t seem to be nearly enough of it… I collect my prints from the framers and unwrap them nervously, before swinging between being invigorated at seeing them framed and panicking about how they will look when hung in the auspicious Arnolfini gallery space. Helen quiets my nervousness perfectly though when she says simply “They look amazing, I feel like I could fall into any one of them” which I think fairly perfectly summarises how I would love anyone to feel about my work.

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So it wasn’t quite the last day of printing after all. All weekend as I have been preparing my work for submission, I have been unable to shake the sense that there were images still nagging to be completed. It bothered me that the concrete factory print was unsuccessful, and that I ran out of time to print the M49 gas towers I have coveted for so long. With some work-day juggling I manage to free up the Tuesday evening and Wednesday before submission to print. And it is as if freed of the pressures of MA the deadline everything in the studio complies to work perfectly (it might also help that the weather broke and inks ceased binding up and drying-in in two seconds flat). With both prints I feel completely in control, even when there are issues (there are always issues…) and I finish the day with two perfectly editioned sets of prints that I am immensely pleased with. If I have one reservation it is whether I should hold the concrete factory print back to hang in the main show, but in the end I place it on the floor of OC2 on Thursday morning, equally proud, nervous and exhausted.

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