An interview with artist Janine Harris on the topic of chemigram artworks
Katrina: How did you learn to create such amazing artworks using chemigrams?
Janine: I first discovered chemigrams whilst in art college and was instantly fascinated by them. Further reading and research led me to experiment and try to push the process further whilst adding my own stamp to the completed pieces. I very much enjoy mixing media and doing things that are not technically obvious so for me it was a natural progression and one which I am still hoping to develop further.
Katrina: What makes your chemigram artworks unique?
Janine: There aren't many chemigram artists in the world and the process is a fairly new discovery. Chemigrams themselves can create beautiful abstract images, especially if one becomes skilled and patient at manipulating the paper and chemicals. However, for myself I also have a love of colour and painting so decided to combine the processes. As I previously stated, it isn't a common or even well known process and often overlooked for the endless possibilities it can bring. The uniqueness in my work is how I combine different elements to create something that is personal/one of a kind and uses the themes of impermanence and change which are the main elements of all my work.
Katrina: Can you describe your creative art process?
Janine: It is a twofold and very personal process. I collect plants and flowers etc to use in a kind of mono-print initially. I use these in conjunction with the photo-chemicals to form the basis of the chemigram which I then paint over using various inks and watercolour paints. The personal side enters as I use nature to express my feelings about Buddhist philosophy and how everything in life and nature changes, the impermanence of everything. All my work is destructible in varying degrees, as is life and nature.
Katrina: What is the most challenging thing about working with chemigrams?
Janine: It is without a doubt the unpredictability of the process. Different photo papers and strengths of chemicals will produce different results. These can never be fully anticipated or replicated. Also, using water-based paints and inks can be a challenge as it can be very difficult to make it work and perform how I need it to on the paper.
Katrina: What do you believe is the key element to creating a great work of art?
Janine: To really have a feeling and passion for what you are doing. I believe feeling is evident to the viewer in a piece and that it needs life breathing into it.
Katrina: What is your tip for new artists?
Janine: Never be afraid to experiment. Many good things materialise from 'happy accidents', or indeed unhappy ones too. Take all the elements you love and see how they can work together to fully express yourself. There are no limits!
View Janine's Living Imagination blog at http://living-imagination.blogspot.co.uk/.