Solvent Transfers with Rauschenberg and Sajecki

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]

Robert Rauschenberg is well known for his prints and drawings that incorporate multitudes of both hand-formed and found imagery, as well as text and markings, to make busy and vibrant collages. One of the techniques he used in his work, solvent transfer, is a lot like the method I’ll use to install my stories in MicroFiction RowHouse.

To place my microfictions on walls and other surfaces, I’ll use a process called photocopy transfer. After laying out a story in InDesign, I take it to Kinko’s to print it out. I then place the text face down on the wall, moisten the back with wintergreen oil, and rub the paper vigorously with a wooden spoon.

Wall created with photocopy transfer for my Easter Rabbit book release show.

The wintergreen oil acts as a solvent to loosen the photocopy toner and allows it to transfer to the wall. Many artists have used this basic technique to incorporate text and images into their artwork, including Rauschenberg.

In his art, Rauschenberg used solvents like lighter fluid and turpentine to transfer the photos and words he found in magazines and newspapers. In his drawing below, the faces in the work were applied in this way.

Untitled, 1968

A contemporary artist who uses a solvent transfer technique, and who taught it to me, is encaustic painter Christine Sajecki. In “41st and Druid,” shown below, the colorful sky, trees, and bushes were painted in molten wax while the buildings were applied with photocopy transfer.41standDruid

Christine is a master in the art of photocopy transfer and will lead a workshop in the technique in September during MicroFiction Workshop. She’s also a great teacher and her past workshops in encaustic painting have quickly sold out. Her transfer workshop is free, but you should definitely sign up early to reserve a spot, as soon as the workshop date is announced in the near future.

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]


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