Opening Reception: October 8th, 6-9 PM, on view through November 25
We are pleased to present the work and process of Justin Myer Staller. Justin’s work employs photographic collage with a combination of screen printing and photopolymer printing with imagery focused on found mark making and altered landscape.
Text written by Justin Myer Staller:
Lets start this essay with an introduction; my name is Justin Staller, I’m 35 years old and I drive a lot. The good thing is that most of the city I end up traversing on my way from Fishtown is really beautiful, contrastingly beautiful in some regards. Since I spend a lot of time in the car I’ve grown accustom to eating while driving, changing CD’s, and photographing. I find that the repetition of the commute helps me focus, I’m curious about what I am anticipating at certain points along the way; what landmarks have I created for myself? A lot of photographers are interested in the unexpected, the fraction of a second in time and I guess I’m interested in the opposite.
The two pieces presented at Second State have imagery pulled from the most consistent moments in this daily routine. My neighborhood is in constant construction and transition, especially along the I95 corridor, and the land is dug up and filled with giant mounds of dirt, stone, rubble. At some point I began to obsess over this shape, the heap, and I’ve worked on articulating it in a number of pieces. In “Marigolds” the heap of stone works like an iceberg, just sticking out of the surface and everything else falls under it. The dots in the piece are a reference to the design by Jason Gnewikow’s for his band The Promise Ring’s record Nothing Feels good. At the bottom you see the beautiful trees of Chestnut Hill along Chresham Valley Road. The piece works in a hierarchy that mimics my day; 95 grit, listening the Promise Ring, arriving in the suburbs.
I’ve described my desire and motivation to make prints at times as an “excuse to listen to music” and I think driving belongs in that category as well. There is something so unique about being out on the road with a really well curated selection of music. I really can’t imagine a better way to spend a day.
The dots have been apart of my work for as long as I was making prints. For me they really symbolize music. Back when I was at Penn State I was doing a lot of acetone transfers of color photocopies. When I would work with a b/w image the copier at Kinkos would automatically read it b/w and produce a low res version of my image. I discovered a sticker pack of labels, multi colored, that I could attach to the edges of the photograph on the copier that would trick the machine into reading the image as a full color image. The plan was to remove the dots before transferring but eventually they made their way into my work. In many ways my contemporary practice is about working back to the initial instincts that I had in the first years of making prints, just in a safer way.
Technically in these two pieces we are talking about a combination of 4 color intaglio-type with screen print and pencil. I have been a staunch proponent of ImagOn film since I started graduate school at RIT in 2003. I worked with Keith Howard, I learned how to use the film, and like very few others, learned enough to bring it out of that studio into my own. In many ways making my CMYK plates is replacing the photo transfers I worked on 17 years ago. The intaglio plates are printed with AKUA inks, designed by Susan Rostow for this specific type of printing. Digital photographs, turned into intaglio plates and then reprinted as photographs have a hard time translating via the web. I work with uneven edges, plate marks, open bites to demonstrate to the viewer that what they are seeing is not a digital print.
In addition to the two finished prints, I’ll be showing a collection of materials that help support and make up the finished work.
To find out more about Justin Myer Staller's work please visit www.jmyerstaller.com.
Prints + Process / Oct 8, 2015 /