6 Mar 2013
plastic bags refuse
New work – digital art

Since my visit down to London last week to see Rain Room at the Barbican, I have been inspired to get some digital art work finished that I've been working on (very part-time) for some time now. Setting up Portfolio Oomph has been a lot of work to get it to the stage that it's at just now and there is still a long way to go. During this time and for a long time before this due to having a family, there hasn't been much creative work that I've been happy with being produced. But this body of work that I am showing here below gives you an insight into where I am just now with my own ideas, creativity and concerns.

I think it's important as a teacher of art to be still making art work yourself but this is sometimes easier said than done, particularly if you teach full time. Three of the final works are below and will be giclee prints (approx 59cm x 59cm) which is a form of digital art print. Further down this post you'll see the process of thought, documentation and experimentation that's taken place to end up with these images.

plastic3 plastic2 plastic1

The original ideas for this project have come from observations of the landscape whilst out taking images for some of the eBooks for Portfolio Oomph. I was shocked at how much rubbish I was seeing in the landscape and indeed how much of it was plastic bags that had got caught in trees and bushes. This is only visible in the winter months of course whilst the trees have dropped their leaves.

Tree and bags digital art    Tree and bags digital art Tree and bags digital art    Tree and bags digital art

So the shapes of the bags intrigued me, the shops that these bags come from (the image above right is clearly Lloyds pharmacy) and I began to think about our impact on the environment. Having watched a documentary on life in India some time ago, seeing the value that's attached to recycling plastic bags and how this is some people's only form of income comes from selling plastic bags collected in bare feet from mountains of steaming hot debris really hit home about how careless we are with our packaging and rubbish in general. During the development of this work I have been very much inspired by the work of Ingrid Calame, Dalziel and Scullion and others.

Tree and bags digital art    Tree and bags digital art

Having taken the shapes out of the image of the bags, I then began experimenting with the shape, with maps of the area where each bag was found. Not satisfied with these images as I felt viewers wouldn't know that they were maps necessarily, the image quality was pretty poor and even if viewers did notice they were maps, they wouldn't mean much as it would be difficult to identify the places.

Tree and bags digital art








So my decision was to photograph the trees where some of the bags were found. We all recognise trees and tree bark, some very beautiful and when entered into these abstract unusual shapes some of them do resemble maps, islands, the land, nature etc. I'd love some feedback on this work. It's been a long time since I've shown any work so getting it out there feels good but a little scary! I hope to submit these to some groups shows soon.


2 thoughts on “New work – digital art

  1. anne marquiss

    Hi, I like the ideas behind your new work. What is your thinking for selecting a white, blank background behind your bark ‘maps’?
    Could you develop some with an alternative?

    1. Julie Read

      Hi Anne,
      Thanks for your comment. I’d kept the shape on a white background as I wanted to isolate the area and as the shape is quite complex in some the images thought it would be easier to see. I’d not really considered an alternative, but you’ve prompted some thought on the matter! What would you consider as a background if it were your work? It’s good to get the work ‘out there’ and see what others think so thanks for commenting! Julie.


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