A Series of Gothic Inspired Monotype Prints
Skulls have always fascinated me, from my teenage years as a goth, to using them as subjects for learning anatomy of the human face. We all have one, the vessel which protects out brains and holds our faces in the proper place. Because human faces are so familiar to us, we try to make ‘faces’ in everything, making the skull an easy subject to abstract and stylise in a myriad of ways.
The Gothic series was started at a time when I felt I’d started to lose direction in my work and I noticed that Instagram was awash with projects based on 100 day art challenges and creative prompt months like Inktober and Drawlloween (running each October). My own exploration of skulls started as part of the Inktober group where I drew a skull for each of the themes during the month. The simple ink drawings I sketched then extended into my monotype printing work leading me to create larger and richly textured monotype prints on paper at The Glasgow print Studio. Some of these were then developed into mixed media pieces, where I added paint, pencil and ink to the original prints.
My love of skulls is not down to devil worship (as one of my more outspoken Instgram followers was convinced) or religious notions, but more of a celebration of our roots, our own physical structure and our very existence of being human. I also have a small obsession with Mexican Folk Art, where the ‘Calavera’, a decorated skull, is used to celebrate the lives of recently deceased loved ones through the celebration known as The Day of The Dead, which is another project I plan to develop once I can get to Mexico.
Through creating these Calavera type portraits , I hope to have caught a glimmer of humanity, during its short and fleeting life.
What are monotype prints?
Each of the artworks shown are created by inking up a bare, perspex ‘plate’ which is then run through a high pressure press to transfer the image to archival quality artist’s printing paper. The image is drawn freehand onto the plate by the artist. Some of the images are a simple one or two layers, but most of them require multiple passes through the press using individually inked up, or painted plates, in a very lengthy process.
Some of Fiona’s monotype prints are then further embellished with direct printing of relief images, wallpaper and real objects like feathers, as well as drawn elements with pencil, paint and metallic inks. In creating a monotype print the artist is able to capture the immediacy of their thought processes as there is very little room for retouching or correction so the marks and brush strokes are usually completely unedited.
Each stage of this process is done completely by hand and results in a one of a kind print that cannot be replicated. The term ‘mono’ means one. Some elements may reappear as ghosts of the original print, so some are similar but never the same. All the prints and mixed media works were produced by me and used a Takach electronic press at the Glasgow Print Studio where I also regularly run workshops which teach the art of making monotype prints.
A selection of works from this series are available in my shop here https://www.fionawilson.net/works-on-paper/