LACDA is very pleased to present the newest work of artist Campbell Laird
Ink Jetting: Cul de Sacs and Collaborations at LACDA in Downtown LA, running from Dec. 13 - Jan 5.
Since 1993 Tasmanian artist Campbell Laird has been experimenting with large format inkjet printers in ways not intended. By printing multiple passes of simple lines and shapes he creates intriguing new compositions alive with his distinctive textures and colors. He continues that experimentation in this new solo exhibit called “Ink Jetting: Cul de Sacs and Collaborations.”
From his Venice, California studio, Laird challenges the notion that the now ubiquitous digital printer is used only for creating perfect copy prints, Laird’s radical process purposely pushes the printer to its absolute limits, repeatedly forcing the print through to create startlingly beautiful, meditative pieces that are part accident, part intention.
Like other artists, such as Wade Guyton, currently showing at the Whitney Museum, who are experimenting with technology-enabled compositions, this show highlights pieces that take art into new directions by using cutting edge tools. But like traditional artists, Laird directly interacts with the physical printed piece, putting his primal signature into what would otherwise be a truly automated process.
Starting with improvised hand drawn vector shapes, the artist works with the printer as his collaborator yet is guided by his innate intuition to make deliberate decisions as each new pass develops and unfolds itself on the canvas. Using techniques such as interrupting, re-rolling, skewing paper feeds, reprinting & literally ‘pulling the plug’ on the printer as his artistic tools, Laird learns from each new piece and is constantly changing and morphing his interventions to meet the challenges set by the printer as it invents new demands for each piece. Acknowledging the gravitas of this process Wired Magazine writer Tim Maly said “this is inkjet printing as extreme sport,” allowing him to skillfully create “images of stunning complexity.”
LACDA will be showing a total of 12 pieces, including one tetraptych (spanning 176” by 60” tall), three triptychs and multiple singles and doubles, many of which have been created exclusively for this show.
Campbell Laird is available for gallery appointments.
For many years I been experimenting with making images on my Wide format inkjet printer without the use of a complex digital computer file (my usual mode of working). No sophisticated software, no filters, no blending modes, no computer manipulation just the transparency of the printers ink interacting as each new layer of ink is laid down one on top of another. I want to use the printer as a tool for making Art rather than a machine to output a complex digital image composed in the computer. Its counter-intuitive to do this, I mean why use a sophisticated expensive digital inkjet printer in such an unsophisticated way. The answer ( I think) is? To get closer to the point of inspiration and to make my process more intuitive & organic. The printer and I share the task of making the images below together. It contributes the layers of transparent ink and I contribute the simple shapes.
A ‘multiple pass inkjet print’ represents one simple vector shape drawn in any computer program and run through a wide format inkjet printer approx 10 to 80 times*. Each time the paper goes through the printer I do something different to the shape. I allow myself to flip, duplicate, colorize, rotate, elongate or shrink the shape with each new pass through the printer. Only very basic changes that any computer novice could do - no use of sophisticated computer manipulation is allowed - Computer work for Luddites! In the early part of the process I am just trying to fill up the empty space. By about 10 passes some sort of pattern or image starts to show. Here I have to be careful not to impose myself on the image. I may see something that I could move towards but I try not to allow my aesthetic to impinge upon the mostly chance image. Even if i wanted to change the image consciously I only have a limited ability to do this with any precision. The placing/changing of a new shape for each new pass (printing) is only approximate as I am always manipulating the same shape so there is no saved road map of where i have been or how it relates to what is already there. I have very little idea of how the art will turn out, it just grows organically with each new pass. At some point I just stop the process and the piece is completed. Each piece represents about 5 -7 hours of actual printing time. Each resulting artwork is an original in the truest sense of the word. There is no final printable file to go back to just unrelated fragments that can never be repeated to form the same image again.
This is the only way to make these prints. Trying to layer all the passes on one image file can’t work as the file becomes overloaded with millions of lines and intersections and appears as just an unrecognizable blob on the screen. Even if I could see the image properly the file is too complex to be printable.
All the following photos are not high quality just snaps of the resulting images from the process. They were shown at the ‘New & Improved’ Show, March 2011 LACDA, Los Angeles, CA.
*Please take note! Printing this way may ruin your printer, void your warranty and cause thousands of dollars of damage (as it did me). Printing heads can get knocked out of alignment and the print rollers can get covered in ink to the point it can’t be used to make normal clean prints anymore.
Artist Statement My work explores the structural relationships between line, shape, texture and color. A blank sheet of paper is always the genesis, with each new element suggesting the next; in this way, an image is slowly developed over time into something complete and unique. I am inspired by organic elements and shapes, such as the Tasmanian bush, a tree branch, waves trailing from a boat or a mass of rocks but I am not interested in the literal rendering of objects or scenes. I observe then dismantle and finally rebuild. My medium of choice is water based archival pigment ink prints, in a similar way that Andy Warhol’s medium was silk screened prints. I have moved to this medium because the oil based paint and solvents I used in the past were environmentally unfriendly and i became very allergic to their toxic nature. It’s important for me as an Artist not to pollute the world that inspires my art. To this end, every element of my work - from the inks to the paper to the final varnish - is chosen with this thought in mind, without sacrificing the highest archival standards. I hand draw all my lines, shapes, scratches, distortions and textures into my printer’s software, then proof and print all pieces myself. My work occupies the space between hand made and digital. Software is used only as the means to realize the art as a printed work. My ultimate aim is to create deceptively simple, meditative works that hold and reward the viewer even after many viewings. Selected Shows:
2012 LACDA Solo Show, December, LA, CA Miami Basel, Red Dot Show, FA Art Takes Times Square, NYC LACDA Eighth Anniversary Retrospective, LA, CA 2Modern, CA 'Quiescent No. 5' on Showtime Series DEXTER. Pomp, Culver City, CA Boom, Downtown, LA, CA
2011 'Moneyball' Movie, USA Fab.com, NYC Chain Letter Show, Shoshana Wayne Gallery @ Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA Juried Book ‘International Survey 2011’ Front Cover Quiescent no.1, Propel Water Ad, USA Walton Issaccson, NYC, USA PS 1 School, Santa Monica, CA 'Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal' Queensland, Australia 2Modern, CA Pomp, Culver City, CA Boom, Downtown, LA, CA 2010 Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) Santa Ana, California “Santa Monica - The Art of Summer” "Santa Monica" Art Book of SoCal Artists, Crussell Fine Arts. 'L. A. N D S C A P E S' LACDA, Downtown LA, CA SHFT Gallery, ‘Recyled’ Downtown LA, CA ‘MOST WANTED’, Blue Core Gallery, Pomona Arts Colony, Pomona, CA Little Red Art Show Benefit, NYC Love Crush Art Show/AIGA, St Louis, MO Pomp, Culver City, CA Boom, Downtown LA, CA 2009 'New and Improved II' LACDA 'Digital Art Expo Los Angeles 2009' Juried Show curated by Rita Gonzalez of LACMA Dwell on Design, Los Angeles, CA Boys and Girls Club of Venice Gala Benefit, CA HighPoint Show, Nth Carolina Pomp, Culver City, CA Boom, Downtown LA, CA Chemers Gallery, CA LAMDC, Boom, Downtown LA, CA
2008 Pomp, Culver City, CA Boom, Downtown LA, CA Culver City Artwalk, CA The Art of Photography, CA, Juried Show curated by Neil Benezra of SFMOMA New Media Expo, LACDA, CA, Juried Show curated by LACMA 2007 Loja Designs, CA Venice Art Walk, CA Boom, Culver City, CA Pharmaka, CA Sands Convention Center Las Vegas, NV Cairns International Hotel, Australia Acme Foundation, CA The Art of Digital, San Diego, CA Surtex, NYC
2006 Art + Industry, Palm Springs CA, solo Boom, Culver City, CA Recent Past Preservation Network, Arlington VA Caravan, NYC Beverly Hilton Hotel, permanent collection, CA Small Wonders, Pharmaka Gallery, LA CA Lord & Taylor Installation, PA, solo
2005 Twentieth, Hollywood CA, solo Mixture, Kettner Nights, San Diego, CA Small Wonders, Pharmaka Gallery, LA CA Room Service, Hollywood, CA LACDA, Downtown
2004 Dwell Home I, NC I-20 Gallery, Chelsea, NYC MOCA, Museum of Cartoon Art, Tribeca, NYC Sublime American Design, Tribeca, NYC
2003 Michael Perez Gallery, Tribeca, NYC Kristen Frederickson Gallery, NYC
2001 SPOTS Show, Society of Illustrators NYC
2000 Forbes Gallery, NYC The Workbook Show, NYC Society of Illustrators NYC
Partial Client List SFMOMA, LACDA, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Pharmaka, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Beverly Hilton, United Airlines, Berklee School of Music, 20th Century Fox, Boom Design, Pomp, Twentieth, The Dwell Home, Adobe, IKEA, teNeues Publishing, The Art Group, Macy’s, Cisco Systems, American Express, PeopleSoft, Room Service, Oracle, J Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam, Circuit City Stores, Continental Airlines, New York Times, Washington Post, Time Custom Publishing, Newsweek, Fortune, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Business Week, Entertainment Weekly.
Awards HOW International Design Annual American Illustration Society of Publication Designers SPOTS Competition ASBPE Award UCDA Design Award Computer Arts Magazine Profile
Selected Press/Publications: Hemispheres Magazine, 2004 Dwell Magazine, 2004 Modernism Magazine, 2005 Los Angeles Magazine, 2005 Mid West Home, 2005 Computer Arts Magazine Profile Green Magazine, 2007 "Santa Monica" Art Book of SoCal Artists, Crussell Fine Arts, 2010 Juried Book ‘International Survey 2011’ Front Cover, 2011 Wired Magazine, 2012
TV/Film: Dexter, Showtime How the Devil Wears Prada FOX Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: ABC How I Met Your Mother, CBS Las Vegas, NBC Lakeview Terrace, Sub-Urban Productions Cindy Crawford, Propel Water Ad, USA Moneyball movie, USA