Formica, Polythene, Spray paint.

3 layers of polythene melted with heat gun.

3 layers of polythene & spray paint.

Formica board was used as the base onto which the first layer of coloured polythene was melted. The white board is visible in the top image. This acts as a frame and also a strong support base to build up the consecutive layers of melted polythene. Polythene attaches very well to other polythene when heat is applied and it provides a structure to enable the polythene to be stretched and pulled like chewing gum so interesting holes and shapes can be developed layer upon layer.

Polythene comes in a dynamic array of colours and is relatively cheap so using it to create paint style effects is a fairly affordable way to work with materials designed for industrial use. I created several of these Formica based canvases, experimenting with different coloured polythene and various settings on the heat gun. The gun has to be used as one would use a brush so that the polythene doesn't entirely disintegrate or form hard congealed lumps. There is some evidence of this in the corners of the first image but the second image shows and improvement in the overall flat texture.

These are relatively small in size about 3 foot square so that are fairly simple to work with. They are purely experimental developments in colour and in working with materials in different ways. It would take a great deal of practice to be able to have the control one has with paint. I however like the vibrancy of the colours and the unusual interplay of textures. I only used 3 layers of polythene but there could be many more melted to create a depth that would be sculptural coming from the base canvas.

I like working with Montana spray paint also and I think it would be interesting to develop ideas with these materials which combine a graffiti style with textures. Black plastic together with dirt and torn paper might create a sense of an outside old wall perhaps to which graffiti spray could be applied. I like the work of Jose Parla who has brought the outside graffiti wall into the art space. His work is very exciting as he mixes abstract art with street style to develop a unique look. Some of his work looks like a cross between Cy Twombly and graffiti art which broadens the appeal of both styles by mashing the two together.

My own experience of speaking with graffiti arts at my local Montana paint supplier is that they see themselves very separately from the art world. They feel their style and type of work has nothing to do with the gallery. It is interesting that the store sells several books and magazines all of which tend to see graffiti as more connected to design and very much about the street. I discovered Jose Parla's work in an art book shop so although he is at heart a graffiti artist his work now being part of the gallery culture removes him from the street scene even though his work is essentially all about the street.


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