I have been hunting for artists making interesting work using rust prints. I would like to share the work of three artists who have each developed different techniques for printing with rust.
Rust is symbolic in various ways for each of these artists and the concept and process of rusting informs their work.
The photographic techniques are particularly interesting and provide a good contrast to the quite uncontrolled organic patterns you can easily produce with rust.
‘Brother’, rust print Steve Beverage
“I have been experimenting with rust prints since graduate school USF in the late 90’s. I was able to improve the process of capturing more photographic imagery in the last couple of years by using solvent transfers on the surface of the steel plate. I can then add and remove ink, sharpie areas to create more resist etc.
Water and vinegar make the perfect catalyst. I can make a print from 4-8 hours depending on the strength of that solution.”
Steve was kind enough to send me extra information about the processes he uses as well as some examples of student work.
rust print Steve Beverage
‘Skull’ rust print
‘Bloody Mary’ rust print by Christena Zimmerman
‘Louis Reil’ rust print by Esther Stolendz
This project involved rust prints made with iron filings, wire wool and salt, transferred to buildings and concrete as part of an installation.
“In previous work, I frequently got the reaction from people that the rusted images reminded them of miraculous religious images. For me, this raised the issue of the supernatural vs. the natural. The materials I use and the processes that they undergo, are all natural transformations. There is nothing supernatural about it. Of course, this is no less miraculous. The world behaves in ways that are truly awesome. That life evolves, that cells reproduce, that crystals grow, that compounds change forms, that particles can be created out of energy, are all as miraculous as anything I can think of. To me, Science is about that awe of the material and physical world. So part of what influenced this work was that I wanted to use the images of people who were fascinated with the study and observation of the natural world.”
See a video of the artist talking about her work:
‘Still Charming’ rust print by Maeve Coulter
“This is my Reparation series of rust prints. I refer to themes of family and identity, grief and regret, disintegration and repair. I screenprint using family photos that are personal yet universal. My approach is haptic. I print but replace the use of ink with flocked iron filings. The image then rusts like evanescent memories and fading family dramas.”
‘Reparation III’ rust print by Maeve Coulter