Friday, May 3, 2013

Photobooth Kabuki

Photobooth pix

Sometimes ideas for a  print is just buried there on a desk.  For a couple of years now this stip of photobooth pix has been floating around the studio; a souvenir from an opening to a group show I was in at Mobius in Boston. Shortly after that opening I played with the strip in Photoshop a bit and threw together a digital print for an artists exchange. 

  ©William Evertson - Self Portraits 2010, digital collage, pigment print 8.5 x 11

Recently I heard about Purikura, short for Purinto Kurabu (Print Club), which are Japanese photo booths that let you take digital pictures with your friends and then decorate and edit them using a touch screen and stylus.  You can add effects, draw, change backgrounds, even give your eyes the manga treatment.  See some examples HERE.  You'll probably notice that the marketing emphasis is on teenage girls and making "cute" pictures.

I thought back to my earlier self produced manipulation of a photobooth picture and decided to revisit that image at the source of manga, early ukiyo-e prints.  I'm taking one of the small small photobooth images and enlarging it and printing it as a solarplate image.  Over the top of this I'll print several woodblocks with traditional moku hanga techniques.


Beginning the carving of the hair.  
The image outline is drawn on thin paper in ink and pasted to the block.  

Mockup of piece from Photoshop.  I use this as a guide for separating 
the lines for the key block and the color areas for the color blocks.

Cartouche with title "Photobooth Kabuki"

Some trial proofs from the Solarplates, the mockup and key block in progress.

The working title, Photoshop Kabuki, comes from my feeling of being in a performance when using a photobooth which also was the inspiration for kabuki costuming ideas from one of my favorite artists, Kuniyoshi (1797 -1862).  Kubuki, or kubuki theater dates from the 17th century as a series of comic plays in which women played all roles.  Still popular, kubuki has the sense of a stylized surreal world.

This piece, although it's a small, A4 size (21 x 29.7 cm), it will probably keep me busy over the next couple of weeks, especially since this will be an experiment in registration with the combined techniques of solarplate etching and moku hanga printing.
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