Louisa Street Research (Luis Sicero)

Research and screen printing process.

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Whilst visiting the street, or a street with a similar name, where Luis met his wife I discovered that it isn’t what I expected at all. Whilst there I took photos of the street and any interesting objects I could see.

After getting back from the site visit I started to play with  quickly collaging the images using coloured paper and the photocopier to quickly create different compositions and just as a way to inspire myself.

After doing these quick experiments I identified the images I wanted to take further into screenprinting – something I want to explore during field. I chose four images as I thought it would be easy to work these into a narrative or into a series.

I planned how I would lay out the final booklet/poster/piece would look like and how I would make the images relate to each other – I thought about some type of fold out piece that would have prints on each layer or a book style or something that would stand on its own as a piece not just a print on paper – I decided to go with the latter as I wanted to have the work to have a physical presence within the groups final exhibition.

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I roughly used cut out images to find an order that I thought would work well, I decided on the one above as the street name acts as a cover and the other images work as separates or all 4 work in the line. I began with the image of the chair creating paper stencils to use for different layers of the image but I had a bit of trouble with the stencils as I was putting them on the screen in different ways which meant the prints didn’t line up. Although it’s not what I expected/ was aiming for i like the quality of the print on the left as Its still clear that its a chair but theres ambiguity that the opposite angles create. Similarly with the print on top of the image – the print lifts the image but does so subtly which is really effective. I decided to use the dull green/ greyish colours because the chair was yellow/grey/green and it reflects the worn, tired dull and dreary.

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After a day of printing and experimenting and trying to get my head around the layers and stencils I would need I printed onto some off white/ grey thick paper folded to make a concertina that stands. The muted colours work really well against the grey background and reflect on Luis not so cheery story. I thought about adding background but I don’t think the image really needs it.

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Alongside the concertina idea i thought about a fold out sheet and a little book ;

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I think the booklet idea is nice and it lends itself to creating a narrative with the association to children’s stories with lots of images – if i had more time maybe adding text from letterpress would be a good way to extend this particular possibility.

After the chair i moved onto the washing umbrella contraption – i chose the image as i found it quite funny that there was one lonely jumper hanging in the rain. It also links with Luis story in that when he finally settled in Cardiff he was still seen as an outsider and labelled an “alien”. Again I split the mage up so I could use different colours for each part and it made it easier as I was using paper stencils and to do it all at once would be near impossible, I think it looks a lot better in sections anyway.

I think this was the most difficult print to get right as the stencils were so delicate and again I put one on the wrong way round so the final print doesnt line up they way I wanted it to but it still looks alright and because it didn’t need to be ‘perfect’ for the exhibition just a indication of where the piece would go I thought it would be fine to leave it – and it was already too late to change as i’d printed onto the concertina so I stuck with it. Im happy with the way it turned out apart from it not being completely straight but I think that’s part of screen printing.

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Here I have used one of the test prints a fine liner and marker to recreate the image in a different way which I think has potential for further exploration.

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Next I did the first image of the set images which was the silhouette of the end of a row of houses with the street name (Louisa Place) on. I wrestled with the idea of including the text or not and how I would make it possible, in the end I decided not to include it as it would make the image more obvious and thats not what I wanted although it would mean the link to the story would be clearer but I didn’t want to spoil the visuals of the concertina.
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Looking at he image now I think it has become my favourite because of its ambiguity – however when it is shown along side the part of the story it relates to it becomes quite obvious.

I left the electrics box until last as i thought it would be most difficult but actually it was the part I found most enjoyable as it worked really well, I used 3 different paper stencils for the print. But because I had lots of test prints of the other stencils. I started to print on top of these which created some interesting outcomes, the first on tracing paper.

Using tracing paper and printing is something I think I could explore more especially with the photocopier to get lots of quick outcomes to develop on, it would be a quick way to build layers of image as well. I also love the flattened folds that show on the photocopy.

The actual prints of the electrics box were the easiest to line up as there was a lot of lines that needed to be aligned;

When printed on the grey paper of the concertina the colours seem dulled down but thats alright as the rest of the piece is like that ;

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The final piece ;

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