Here's the story on my mixed media photography works. When I started taking pictures the obvious next step was to have them matted and framed. I had to find Museum Quality, Archival Matting. That is expensive not to mention the plethora of choices and cuts. Then there is the framing. UGH. I can remember even when I made my first Pen & Ink Drawings, before I even knew I was going to be an artist for real, that after I made them I was horrified when I took them in to get framed by the cost and the dizzying array of ugly choices of said frames. It was boring. Nothing looked original once it was entombed in a frame and glass.
So, the summer of 05 when I was eager to showcase my photography but disgusted by my choices, Tod mentioned a place in Burlington that laminated the prints onto a M.D.F. (medium density fiberboard). I should also say that I have also spent untold time and money trying to get prints laminated onto regular foam core (the cushy backing that your prints are on underneath the matt that is over your print stuffed inside the ugly frame.) by professional services. Lets just say, to date, I personally have yet to find someone who can do a great job at it.
I take my print in they send it off and in 2 weeks or so I have my print on a nice 1/4" lightweight board; there are also options to 'flush' mount the piece which is more of an open back and not so dense, like if you have a very large print and you don't want it weighting 20 lbs. If you are so inclined you can have color on the beveled sides of the board, I choose black. The print is laminated professionally and you can touch it. It doesn't need protection via glass. You still would not want to put it in direct sunlight, no piece of art should ever be exposed to ultra violet rays if you want longevity. Anyhow, I was really happy with it because then I could do something different with it.
What I started doing was mixing the photographs with scrap. It was a no brainer. My photography is mostly abstract, much of it having to do with Vermont. Why not take found objects and marry the two? If you had a photo of this:
What if you then mixed it with objects instead of putting another flat thing on the wall? Why not put art up that is going to show itself instead of flatten itself against the wall in a surreptitious manner? You can 'float' mount the laminate onto anything. (that means it appears to float from the surface when you put 1/4 or 1/2" spacer or board under it. You can bolt/screw/ or glue it. You don't have to do it that way, I just prefer the look and feel of it. Its popping out at you, its more sculptural and alive!
So. My mixed media pieces were born. There really is no comparison. At least in my mind. I want to feel good when I look at art. Especially something I created. Back to the Puzzle Pieces at the beginning of this post. I never had the prints laminated because the very first piece I did was a regular C Print that I mounted onto foam core and then covered with plexi glass. It was a cool look and sold in an art show. I was thinking I might try to repeat that look but the plexi glass thing is a pain and sometimes it actually fogs up because of the ink on the print. I also want to be sure dust isn't going to seep under the plexi glass. So I just hid them in the basement and ignored them. Now I find I can't move on until I deal with these pieces. By the way, in case you are wondering about the puzzle works, the model had puzzle pieces glued to his body with a whey protein powder. I did some minimal photo editing (some chrome highlighting and color saturation) and these are part of a series. Fun stuff!