Whorled Center- A collaboration between John Howard and Kyle Carter
Hello everyone! This is the process thread for a collaborative project I started with John Howard in December of last year. When I visited his apartment over the summer, he suggested that we do a collaboration sometime. Well, I never thought I would get around to it, or that he was even serious, until I lucked out over this past winter break and was fortunate enough to do whatever I wanted everyday without having to worry about working a day job. This typically meant staying up until 4-6 am working in photoshop and illustrator every night. Onto the process!
Here are a few of the mandalas I sent John for inspiration, I scanned the images out of various books on Mandalas and Tantric art. What I wanted to accomplish most through our collaboration was to recreate the dense, organic detail completely filling most mandalas. I have a hard time creating this on my own because I usually make things in a very planned out and methodical manner, leaving little room for spontaneity. I figured John's flowing patterns and smooth inking would work well matched with my grid layouts and color choice, and thus began the collaboration!
I started in Illustrator with the 12 pointed star as my starting point (2 hexagrams). This geometry creates three squares (12 points / 4 [square] = 3), which helps to create the concentric rings of circles and squares, the main defining characteristic of the mandala art form
This is the completed geometry. I sent it to John separated into 6 repeatable pieces to make it easier to draw and completely fill the entire image with dense detail
Very quick color sketch on the tablet to just see what the grid looks like filled in
Here's what John sent back to me, holy cow!! Just what I was hoping for and so much more!
Several adjustments later
Starting to separate the colors in photoshop.. I haven't separated the colors for anything other than geometry in the past few years so it was a nice refresher course/ kick in the ass!
A few weeks after starting to add color I finally got the seps completely finished up. Time to print! Unfortunately, my school had no photo emulsion for the first 4 weeks of the semester, so I got a much later start on printing than I had anticipated
I got 100 lb cougar paper from Olmsted Kirk Paper Company to print on and had the color separations printed out at D & J Blueline, both thanks to recommendations from gp. I learned how to use the automatic press at the university in the hopes of using it to print this edition of over a hundred (the largest I've ever printed on paper by far), but after spending 6 hours setting it up and printing a few of the green, I decided I was getting wayy to inconsistent of results to consider printing the rest of the edition with my fingers crossed the entire time, so I printed it by hand.
Printing the yellow
This is the crazy exposure unit at my school. It works.. barely..
I listened to this probably ten times while printing
Printing the blue
I stack and weigh down the paper between runs to keep it flat, which helps a great deal with getting accurate and consistent registration
My camera broke sometime around now, so I don't have any more process pictures to share. The last two layers to go on were transparent white and dark glossy acrylic varnish for the detail, making six layers total. This takes the actual number of hues in the print from 4 to 12 in just two runs, due to the shading and tinting of the base colors. Two days ago I finally got around to cropping the edges of the print to an 18 x 18'' square (at Kinko's one edge at a time, dear lord did that suck), the only thing left to do is sign and number the prints with John, which we will do together tomorrow at Flatstock! The final edition is around 90 prints, I'm not exactly sure yet because I haven't numbered them yet.