Inside the World of Reprographics: Techniques and Processes

Discover the fascinating world of reprographics as we uncover the techniques and processes used in Kristina Chan's contemporary art. In this blog post, you'll learn what reprographics are - from Photo Etching to Cyanotype - we take a closer look at the processes behind her unique style. Read on to learn more.

Kristina Chan is a specialist in reprographics, she has an abundance of techniques and processes up her sleeve that has led to her becoming an award-winning artist. Let's dive in and explain some of those used in her work.

Canadian born, Kristina Chan graduated from the Royal College of Art London with Distinction in MA Print. Now based in London and she specialises in analogue and digital photography, lithography, etching, screen print, and digital media manipulation. The analogue processes she uses truly enhance the strong narratives presented in her work. 

Photo Etching
Beginning with a photograph printed onto acetate, this will lay on top of a copper plate, coated in photopolymer film and exposed to UV - this is done in a light-tight dark room. Next the plate is developed in a mix of sodium carbonate and water, with the photopolymer film still on. Afterwards the film is taken off, the plate is gently cleaned in water and blotted dry. The final step includes the plate being etched, this is where the 'visible copper' (areas that the image isn't on) are eroded in ferric chloride. Over a period of different time intervals, the plate is removed from the acid bath, the spent copper is cleaned off and repeated until the plate is ready. This when the proofing process will begin and ultimately end with a finished limited edition of prints.


Chine Colle
Originating in Japan, Chine Colle is one of the first/earliest means of colour blocking (adding colour to prints, books etc). It's also a means of bonding the paper, which differs from collaging, making it archival and acid free. A technique often used with etching, involving layering of paper, you can see this being used in works like Kristina's Survey Series. Usually a thinner material such as linen or Japanese paper is used, as they pull finer details from the plates. It is then effectively sandwiched between the stronger supporting paper underneath and the plate when put through the press, which then bonds both the finer and supporting stronger paper together. 

Japanese Kozo Paper
Chan has used Japanese Kozo Paper to craft her diptych DawnOriginally found in the mountain wilderness of Shikoku and Kyusu Islands, Kozo became a cultivated plant used especially for paper and cloth making. Today it is sought after by artists and conservators because of its strength, translucency, and absorbency. The Awagami Factory is the name of the mill where Kristina's paper is sourced. It is very famous and over 600 years old! All the pigment prints in the upcoming exhibition are printed on their Kozo Thin paper.

This process produces a continuous tone image of Prussian Blue, beautifully illustrated in Kristina's collaborative work with Itamar Freed. It is a camera-less technique that involves using a light sensitising solution of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. The paper or fabric would be painted with the solution to begin with, and then dried in a light tight environment. Next the object or negative would be placed on top of the treated surface and exposed to UV light. To stop developing and to fix the print you can wash it with water, completing the process. Kristina mixes her own chemistry and has developed a solution and toning process that allows her to edition cyanotypes, which is traditionally a unique, unpredictable process due to it’s unstable chemistry.



C-Type Print
For works such as Temperate Room, Kristina has used digital C-Type printing. This is done with a continuous printer, on to a silver-based paper. Temperate Room, like other works by Kristina, is large in size at 76 x 112 cm, which means printing digitally was required. The benefit of this is the sharpness in detail. There is no ink involved in this process therefore C-type printing falls in the bracket of 'traditional printing'. Created in what is referred to as the “digital dark room” as the C-type process “prints” with light, rather than inks or dyes. 

Pigment / Giclée Print
There is often confusion regarding the difference between a giclée and an archival pigment print. Both refer to an archival museum standard of printing that lasts 100 years, the name is somewhat interchangeable, some say pigment and others say giclée. Both pigment and giclée printing involves inks being sprayed on to an archival fine art paper or canvas. This process brings out the best in colour, you see can real depth and vibrancy in Understory, the shadows and the purple earthy tones feel rich and real.



We’re delighted to be working with Kristina on her latest exhibition ‘Fault Lines’ which is now showing. View, experience and purchase from the full collection either in gallery or online. You can see the exhibition catalogue here and explore the full collection here. 

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