I am a printmaker who has been passionate about, and specialising in etching (intaglio) for several years. My work takes reference from an on-going interest in manmade technological forms of industrial structures – such as bridges, the scientific radio telescopes at Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station, or ex military structures such as the Acoustic sound mirrors in the UK.
The majority of the subjects and locations I record were considered at the forefront of technology during their lifetime. Some of those technologies are now defunct or have been reconfigured for different uses. The subject matter therefore is echoed in the process used to record it. The etching process enables me to make a sustained enquiry into the subject’s structure, location and the effects of time passing. It becomes my own visual experience and a graphic equivalent to an observed moment in time.
I begin each project with an intense enquiry through on site observation and drawing. In visiting these locations I can develop my own subjective emotional response; the artist is not seen but my physical intervention is paramount and my factual research and first hand experience evidence a sense of place. The subject itself is then removed from its surroundings and the familiar. The structures are shown devoid of the human figure so that architectural scale cannot be based on the physical measurements of the human body. This ambiguity adds to the sense of the monumental and projects a feeling of the iconic.
I begin by finding my way around the subject, evaluating the form through the use of light and dark in quick charcoal studies. These are then taken into the studio where, if required, more sustained studies incorporating finer lines are made. The continuation of the drawing element is an integral part of my process. You can see evidence of the drawings within the etchings’ continually changing hierarchy and emphasis. Bringing into focus new elements and pushing others back. This evidences the recording and decision-making taking place. For me, the importance and value of the etching process is integral to both the making and the content of the work. Etching offers a unique means of working – inherent in its make up is the intervention upon the surface and the sculptural physicality of the process; layering and building-up information through cyclical reapplications of grounds, drawing, etching, burnishing and drypoint.
My prints are not just an architectural study, they are evidence of me seeing and responding to a subject in a meaningful way. This is what etching allows me to do – to investigate place through an organic evolution of recording and insights into location through the interlinking processes of drawing and printmaking.
Ian has exhibited Nationally and Internationally including London, Hong Kong, New York, Barcelona and Berlin.
He is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Where he teaches onto the M.A Printmaking Course and BA (Hons) Drawing and print course.