Every time I have a pop-event, I get tons of questions from curious shoppers. Here's a list of answers that I'll be adding to as people ask more questions, plus I'll be posting "FAQs of the day" on social media, so follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Also sign up for my newsletter to see answers to FAQs plus news about upcoming exhibitions, pop-up events and new works.
Cyanotypes are created via an alternative photography process that was originally used to create blueprints: The process has subsequently been adopted by fine art photographers.
The process has more in common with traditional darkroom photography than with today's digital processes. You still use "digital negatives" to create designs on your paper or other substrate, but you have control over how you paint on the chemistry, unlike using darkroom papers where the chemistry has already been applied evenly over the entire surface. Also, instead of using a darkroom, you prep your papers in a "dim room" — because it can take 20 minutes to expose a cyanotype, you don't have to be as careful about shielding exposed papers or other substrates from light. Even though you want to hide them from extended exposure to sunlight or other UV light sources, you can dry your coated papers, and then expose them, in a regular room that has blinds or other window coverings — you just want to keep them in a blackout box or sleeve after drying and pre-exposure.
2. Why are all your prints + products blue?
Cyanotypes are blue because that's part of the process — the chemistry on the paper or other substrate naturally turns blue after being exposed and rinsed. There are ways to tone the prints afterwards so that you get other colors, including purple or black/brown, but I haven't added toning as a regular part of my artistic process.
3. Why do your works look like paintings?
Some cyanotype artists evenly cover their entire paper or other substrate with chemistry, but when I started creating cyanotypes I immediately found that I liked using brushstrokes to mirror or complement the shapes. Consequently, I make heavy use of negative space in my work and end up with a more-painterly effect.
4. What inspires your work?
I have always loved the graphics that are part of the urban landscape, including graffiti, other street art and architectural elements. For years, I captured these types of images in addition to my work as an editorial and advertising photographer, and have shots from all over the globe in my collection. When I create cyanotypes, I focus on just one small part of the image I've captured, and intentionally use my brushstrokes to uncover just part of the original graphic, and/or digitally or physically layer images, thus creating something entirely new.
5. How else have you shared your cyanotype images?
I literally started working with fused glass the day after my first cyanotype workshop, and have printed some of my cyanotypes and other images onto glass, sometimes to create a fused glass work that is reminiscent of the original, and sometimes as part of final glass works that only hint at the cyanotype used as inspiration. This fall, I'll be studying at Pilchuck Glass School with Silvia Levenson, and look forward to learning new ways to integrate my cyanotypes and other imagery into glass creations.