Graphic Re-Mixing is Mark Johnston’s digital art practice. He draws upon mathematics, photography, graphics and sketches as his basic elements in producing single, finished works.
Mark explains his art’s development by showing me some of his earlier pieces: hand cut, Creative Pro machine-sewn graphics, on fabric.
He tells me, “designs need to be speeded up, so I explored ‘Paper Cuts.'” His research leads him to a manufacturing process as a model, with the development of his own conventions. A photographer of many years experience, he looks for graphically strong subjects, for example, his Woodwards’ signs, or more recently, organic forms.
Mark uploads an image into Photoshop to demonstrate manipulation. Alternatively, he may upload to companion software, Illustrator, or similarly, Inkscape, for typesetting or logo graphics. He may spend two to three hours in the program on a small piece. On a larger work, the hours spent may add up to forty. He enhances or reduces the re-mix to create his personalized interpretation. Next, he transposes his manipulated image to a black on white image stencil. This completes the visual content of his design. The image is now ready to be taken into the lines and dots of a vector graphics file. Input into his 22″ wide Silver Bullet die cutter, yields the physical component.
He chooses now to lift the template from its ground. Lastly, he adheres it to acid-free Canson, 98 pound, 8 1/2 x 11″ paper, implying a sense of permanence to his image.
For specialized electronically controlled cutting techniques, like CNC (computer numerical control) router or laser, Mark takes his files and materials to the MakerLab or to Vancouver Hack Space facilities. There he is able to apply his designs to mylar, vinyl, acrylic, ceramics, cloth or wood, or even to ABS/PLA 3D printing.
He works in terms of form rather than purpose, with elements of craft in his assemblage and finishing. While his computer files are titled, his final images remain untitled, wishing an unbiased viewer response to his graphic.
I spend an hour with Mark in his bright, neat, live-work space. I am both fascinated and intrigued during his demonstration. He gives me a new realm of creativity to appreciate: that of Graphic Re-Mixing.
Mary Blaze, BFA; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com