What Is The Meaning Of My Art?

People always ask me "What is the meaning behind this art piece?"

Wellllll not that there isn't a real answer to that……but sometimes I just can't exactly explain what I was thinking when I created the art piece because there is more to it then that.  Monoprints have a lot of steps involved before they even get to the actual printing. So when I do start to make an art piece I have an idea of what I generally want but that usually starts with the individual screen…...to be printed….that is of one individual graphic design.  And some of my works may have twenty plus printed graphics layered on top of each other all over the canvas. So it ends up being a collage of individual art pieces very similar to that of graffiti that has accumulated on a wall.  


So let's start with an individual graphic design.  That particular design may have had some more inspiration for a specific meaning then the final monoprint art piece itself.  

Once inspired to create graphics I either hand draw it, take a photo of it (generally an architectural structure) or create a design on a computer program from scratch.   Then I transfer that particular graphic design to a screen. And then I can start printing.   

Rochester NY Flower City logo T-shirt Apparel Garments

In many cases when making a screen print there is a protocol as to how you will be printing that to the medium, whether it be fabric, a garment art piece or a blank canvas.  But when it comes to my monoprints all that is thrown out the window.  

I will usually start with a base color to cover the canvas.   And that may or may not be printed but actually be applied with a squeegee or even by hand.  Yes I get really dirty. In the case of a garment I would tie dye it for the background color.  Once the canvas is covered I then move on to the actual screen printing. 

This gets harry.  I'll start of course with the first screen being laid down (printed).  The next layer is where I have to be careful as to when applying the next image as it has to compliment the first image….right!?  Well that's the thing, it may not at all look nice, I may have made a mistake and now I need to find out a way to make it work after that image is on there.  In other words I keep applying more layers of screen prints to cover up those not so complimentary layers until it does indeed make it look aesthetically pleasing.  Like we were saying earlier about graffiti on a wall. But in many cases I do try to control what I want played out on the canvas. Sometimes it does work out the way I want but usually I really have to make some magic happen to make it look like art.  Another issue is after so many hits (prints) the layers can start to get thick which creates a very non flat surface. It's important to realize that printing on non-flat surfaces isn't easy…...at all. But I do anyway. After so many layers you will be limited as to how many more you can apply without creating a blotchy image and the whole art piece just goes down the drain.  But when things do start to come together and an aesthetically pleasing monoprint will start to form you have to know when to stop and call it complete. But in many cases I as an artist can't really stop until the art piece is sold. It’s like an addiction almost I just need to print.  

Rochester NY, Flower City Logo T-Shirt and Garments

In the process above I basically am creating something that manifests its own narrative.  The meaning starts to create itself within the process of making a monoprint. I compare this to looking at clouds.  The wind in many cases creates the shapes we see but it's up to us to identify what that is. That art has meaning on it's own accord a lot of times.  People tell me things like; "this looks so (fill in the blank). The next person may have a completely different view. Which I love hearing. The narrative is many times left up to the beholder.   This is where I let the viewer tell me what it means to them. The viewer can be the narrator in so many cases depending on what they extract from the graphics. And this in many ways makes my art more than something that is aesthetically pleasing.  It is something that is very much to me like an open book that is being written as we read it. So the meaning is based on the process taking control and having the viewer narrate what they are absorbing.  

So what does this all mean to you?