Roots: Potato Prints
One of the simplest types of printmaking is the potato print in which a design is carved on a potato that is then inked and printed like a rubber stamp. A potato is a root vegetable that serves primarily as a food source and incidentally as an art tool.
Printmaking traditionally was employed to create multiples. It begins with a printing matrix or plate (a woodblock, a metal etching plate, a carved potato) and many copies can be made of that image. That process challenged the notion of an original work of art.
In the series Potato Print a slice of a potato was photographed; a potato print was made from that potato; a photograph of the potato print was made; and an enlarged digital print of those two photographs was created. A traditional inked potato print on the digital print serves as a signature, also known as a “chop” in printmaking.
The series references the 1965 piece by Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs. That work included an actual chair, a photograph of it and an enlarged, printed dictionary definition of the word “chair”. In Kosuth’s work the concept of chair was the focus. In our work we investigate the ideas of print, photograph, originality and reproduction.