DIY image transfer with Golnar Adili

Golnar Adili is an artist from Iran who lives and works in New York. Adili experiments with archival material, the content of her work is often related to the longing and distance between two cultures. Adili grew up separated from her mother, who remained in Iran after her family moved to the United States. Adili cuts and forms images using craft materials to create sculptural ‘images.’ I ask her about the relationship between 2 and 3 dimensional art works. “We’ll see,” she says.

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(image taken from Adili’s website)


I am taking her “Image Transfer to Sculpture” class at the Robert Blackburn Printshop. Last night, Adili taught us how to transfer inkjet prints on to fine art papers using citrasolv, a cleaning chemical available at whole foods or other fine grocers. This process can be repeated at home. You’ll need digital images, citrasolvcotton balls, an inkjet printer,  bone folder or wooden spoon and fine art paper such as japanese rice paper or Arches etching paper. If you don’t have a bone folder or wooden spoon, you can use an etching press. 😉

Begin by selecting a few digital images you intend to work with. I chose a few photographs of rocks I shot this past weekend on 35 mm triex. Print the selections using a black and white inkjet printer. Trim the inkjet print and place it carefully on fine art or rice paper, with large sheet of chipboard backing between the press bed and fine paper. If you don’t have a press accessible, place the image down on a table with some scrap paper underneath. You will use a spoon to manually press the image.
The inkjet print is facedown onto the fine art paper. Use the cotton round to apply citrasolv to the paper. I like to begin application in the middle of the image and wipe towards the corners, but others may wipe in gentle, round strokes from one edge to the other. The acidic citrasolv turns the printer paper transparent instantaneously and begins the process of transferring the image to the sheet of fine art paper underneath.
We used a large etching press to make our images. The press was prepared without a blanket and set on the tightest setting. We applied citrasolv to the inkjet print on the press bed, but if you are working without a press, apply the citrasolv to the back of the paper using a cotton round on a table.
The print is run through once with a thick slop paper on top and back again. Then the inkjet image is lifted off and a transfer (mirror) image remains on the fine art paper. If you are without a press, rub the print hard onto the fine art paper using a wooden spoon. You may need to experiment with ways to create more pressure.
Here is an image of my print:

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