Experimenting to find the right painting technique – part 2

Printing effects

Value Art stencil 3

I wanted to borrow elements of the printing effects of a mass-printed art-works. Such as those in Andy Warhol’s or Roy Liechtenstein’s screen prints. At the same time I found it very appealing to use spray painting technique, which, with the use of a stencil also stands for reproducibility. This spray paint technique also stands partly for street art. 

I came up with a solution that would combine the visual effects of screen print and spray paint: I cut a cardboard stencil in the shape of the numbers and glued a gardening/mosquito-net on it. The net’s holes were formed in a circular way, so adding the net to the stencil created looks that remind and refer to the “circles” of popular screen print artworks.

Also, the fact that the screen varied in distance to the canvas when applying it to it, created a change in the sharpness of the circles – just as in old fashioned newspaper printing, which was a nice effect.

Value Art stencil 2

You can see this shading when you take a closer look at the “1” on all paintings.

Before that I also tested different ways to add the pattern, like spreading out sand over a surface or different types of nets. But in the end I went for the plastic gardening net, which delivered just the perfect result.

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Experimenting to find the right painting technique – part 1

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The image above was taken when I was experimenting with painting techniques back in 2011. It took quite a while until I found the right way to create the desired effect. (More about the technique in a later post.)


Below you can see some a few test versions where I was experimenting with several techniques for printing, paints, stamping and spraying.

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Getting my fingers dirty :)

Coming up with the right painting technique was almost as difficult as removing the paint from my hands.

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Numerics 1 to 1.000.000 – Color, Size and Typeface

Decision making

So far I had the big white canvas. Then I had to make further decisions on how the numerics actually should look like. Once more I brainstormed and discussed several options with my mentor Carl-Oscar.

Here is why I chose the ones that you can see on the finished paintings:


I went for black on white background – to create a slight association with dollar banknotes and a strong contrast. At the same time I wanted simplicity. No color should distract. It should look like a simple numeric on white ground, easily reproducible. Continue Reading →

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Building the canvas

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The canvas I wanted for this project had to be large. So I decided that the size of them should be 185 cm in width and 115 cm high – golden ratio. You might think that I just bought some ready-made canvas and spray-painted the numbers on it and that’s it. But, no, instead I put quite a lot of effort into creating the canvas by hand.

Canvas of the sice that I decided to go for usually cost a lot. Since I wanted to save some money I decided to build them myself, again, with the help of my mentor Carl-Oscar Karlsson who has a lot of experience in this area.

I also wanted to build the canvas myself to give the artwork a more personal touch. Certainly they maybe are not as perfect as a factory-built ones but due to professional help the result turned out to be really good. Continue Reading →

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Intense brainstorming with my mentor Carl-Oscar Karlsson

Matthias Kamann - Value Art

The picture above was taken during the brainstorming with Carl-Oscar Karlsson, my mentor.

The basic idea of Value Art popped up in my head already a couple of years ago. Since then it was developing in small, continuous steps. I talked to friends about it and pretty much all of them were convinced that I should turn it into reality.

One of those friends that I talked to was Carl-Oscar Karlsson, a young man with the looks of a real artist with his full beard and long hair, from my hometown Växjö, in Sweden. Already in early stages of the idea he gave me useful advice and inspiration.

When I told him that I wanted to create the paintings soon, he offered me his help and advice not only on how the paintings could look like when they are ready but also the practical part, like building the canvas.

The brainstorming

I went to the brainstorming with a few cornerstones:

  • 7 identical canvas
  • with values on them, from 1 to 1.000.000
  • large

With these cornerstones in mind I went Carl-Oscar Karlsson‘s studio, located in the city of Växjö, and we discussed ways how the paintings could be created to send the message of Value Art with the biggest possible impact on the viewer.

We talked about the color, font, size of the values, painting techniques and which size the canvas actually should have.

After a few creative meetings with intense discussions I decided to go for … well the result you have in front of you when you.

It was great to get some input from a professional artist who asked the right questions and helped me out when I was stuck.

Carl-Oscar Karlsson

More about each decision and why Value Art looks the way it looks, in upcoming posts…

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