Fractured Fairy Tales

Fractured Fairy Tales was conceived as a monoprintA form of printing where only one unique print is made from any given plate. series in 2017, though the idea to do something like this had been in my head for a while. I have always enjoyed creating prints with the aim to print an edition of a so-called β€œfinished” image, but I have also been drawn to printmaking because it allows me to explore ideas that present themselves during the process itself.

Master printers I have been lucky to work with over the years will affirm that it has been my habit during the platemaking and proofing stages to continually push the imagery far beyond my initial idea, oftentimes extending the studio schedule by several days. Once a matrix is more or less established on the plate is the point where things open up and get interesting.

Several of the prints I ended up creating an edition that bears little resemblance to the original ideaβ€”in fact it’s a result of finding something more interesting during the printmaking process itself. This is why I keep coming back to printmaking and also why I eventually gave in to the urge to create these monoprints.

For this series, I took an old plate which had been the key plate for an earlier print of mine, did some tool work on it and decided to limit my ink palette to mostly black and explored what I could come up with considering the limitations. I added some hand coloring here and there, tried out different wiping techniques to modulate the ink within the image and ended up cannibalizing prints to make collages of deconstructed images.

When I paint, I tend to end up working in series anyway, so here, it was very satisfying to end up with a lineup of prints on the wall which had both continuity as well as wide margins of variation.

Joel Stewart