Tuesday, 20 January 2015

There are brains splattered all over the wall...

...not to mention a dead body on the carpet. 

My enthusiasm for the digital fabric-printing (and wallpaper and giftwrap) service Spoonflower has bubbled over into this blog several times, notably for enabling me to transform my late aunt's painted textile designs into the real thing. Similarly, I have sung the praises of Dover Books, which provide oodles of copyright images to be used in whatever way takes one's fancy. 

Here, then, is an example of how well the two can come together (with a little help from me as the digital go-between) to produce pictures on fabric. Even though the images are magnified enormously - the black and white brain section at the top is 67cm wide - they are remarkably sharp and the colours are fantastic, a tribute to the quality both of the original pictures and the printing. I can claim no credit for this.

Although I am a scrupulous adherent of copyright I am the first to acknowledge that it can be a pain. Try doing a Warhol-style picture of Mickey Mouse or Superman now and hanging it in a gallery and you'd be in court faster than a speeding bullet. When I bought a fabric featuring said superhero it stated that it was not for commercial use. (Some big-name craft fabric designers have tried to impose a similar restriction, and although this is a grey area, test cases seem to have established that it is not binding.) And don't even think of knitting a Doctor Who monster.

Collage in art is a tricky area, and the work of even the most successful collage artists often suffers from the necessity of using only out-of-copyright source material.

Here, though, I like to think the "vintage" look works to my advantage. Imagine using contemporary graphics - or even, shudder,  photographs - of cut-up dead bodies. Not at all what one would like to look at. A few centuries' distance makes these images not only palatable, but beautiful. I have grown very fond of these three noble, dignified, long-deceased men. I hope they don't mind that I now intent to embroider all over their brains. 

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