The Newcastle Art Gallery Youth Advisory Group acknowledges the Awabakal and Worimi people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, and pay our deepest respects to Elders past, present and future. The Youth Advisory Group is dedicated to honouring the culture and traditions of our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the visual arts.
Wednesday Sutherland is a Newcastle-based emerging artist working with photomedia. Wednesday is currently working on a body of work featuring palm trees, water, and other symbols, using iPhone images printed from her darkroom.
AIDEN: I have always liked that you haven’t married your photographs to a single print making process. Why is this?
WEDNESDAY: Thank you. When I started my Creative Industries degree I soon considered myself pretty across the basics of black and white printing (though I am always still learning). So I figured while I was paying for the resources I may as well experiment with other methods. This lead to some experimentations with more traditional printmaking processes.
But the real lightbulb moment came from an Experimental Drawing class with Andy Devine. I used a combination of film prints, Photoshop, and Xerox (photocopier) abstraction. Right now I’m making negatives from iPhone images so I use Photoshop to do that, then I print them in the darkroom. I’ve never felt married to one process because I consider myself an “artist” before I consider myself a “photographer”. It seems limiting to me to only stick with one process, be it contemporary or traditional.
There is an interesting translation there, you’re essentially ‘taking’ a photograph to create an image with each process changing our perception of it. Does the process or the picture come first when it comes to how you work?
Well, I guess the initial photograph both is and isn’t the final image. These days when I am making a body of work I tend to return to and rework the same images, or even just very similar ones. It’s hard to say which comes first.
I often go through phases of taking photos of the same things over and over again, like palm trees or, more recently, water and fire. Then I’ll have an idea I want to try and I just use whatever is closest to me to experiment with it. You could say that it’s process-driven I suppose, but it’s always anchored in an image or a set of images.
What is it about the photograph that draws you to using it as the basis for your prints? Why do you use it over other printmaking tools?
I just use what I know. I was always a pretty good draughtsman but photography is quicker. I’ve never really thought of myself as a printmaker, per se, but I suppose a lot of what I do could be considered photographic printmaking, if you wanted to call it that.
I just use what I know. I’ve been shooting on film quite literally my whole life and it’s second nature now. I’m working with iPhone images right now because I hadn’t shot much on film this year, and I know I can make a contact negative quite easily with those, and it’s a fun experiment.