Unit 38 Mixed Media Image Making


This is my final piece for my Neil Spiller inspired work. It was made from printed and scanned images of his work that I then made into an architectural 3D final piece and photographed using different coloured filters. I then manipulated four of these photographs in Photoshop to get the finished outcome. In Photoshop I used a number of different filters. All of them have been given a gradient and have been distorted using the Spherize too and I have adjusted the lighting of them as well. I like how this gives them a dream like effect and makes you feel almost like you’re standing in them; I think this matches the abstract aspect of Spiller’s own work. To give each of them a slight variation other than just in colour, I have added different effects to each using tools such as Difference Clouds, Noise and Fibres.

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These are the photographs I took of my Neil Spiller inspired work. In my work I have utilised reprographic techniques by scanning images of his work and printing them off. Because I have used images printing from different printers that vary in quality, I think it has given my work a nice variation of textures. When I photographed my piece, I used different coloured filters to achieve a variation of looks. For my final piece, I think I am going to create four different pieces that will be presented on a1 paper and manipulate them using effects in photoshop.


Here are pictures of my Niel Spiller inspired work. The first photograph is the one I started working on at college and comes from the third idea in my last post. I liked how it was going to look but I struggled with making a column in the middle and when I experimented with adding little pieces to it, like the circles, or the spikes hanging from the first platform, it didnt look at good as I had hoped. I was planning to add acetate to the back and I think that it would have photographed well, but as I was finding the design difficult to make, I decided to start on a new design at home. It is inspired by my second idea in my last post. I have included a sort of column in this one, but because it was so much smaller, it made it much easier to make as it meant it was also sturdier. I would say this one is slightly less abstract, as there are obvious hints at a building here. At college, I took some test shots using some coloured filters. I thought the photographs came out well, but decided to add some windows (not photographed here) into my design so that some light could flood in.

mixed 2 mixed 3 mixedThese are three different sketches of ideas for our project. They are all inspired by Niel Spillers Work. In the first and third idea here, I have taken inspiration from his architectural drawings of columns and in all of them, particularly in the second idea I have taken little bits from lots of different drawings to make a structure. I want to try and recreate the third idea, using photocopies of Spiller’s work on paper and acetate.

These are image transfers onto fabric using pva. The one on the right didn’t turn out very well as when I used a damp cloth to remove the paper, I some how removed most of the image without realising. I think I was scrubbing the image to hard, and maybe the cloth was too damp and everything came off at once so I assumed there wasn’t any black there in the first place., but quite obviously I was wrong! The one on the right is an image on fabric that is dyed with red ink and it turned out slightly better as I was more conscious of not removing the image, but there are patches where it still came off. I also dont think the paper has come off very well in places because I was too worried that trying to remove it would remove everything. Although I enjoyed the process, I think I would need much more practise doing this before they looked at all presentable and so i dont think I’m going to use this technique in my project.

These are the image transfers using a solvent to copy an image onto another surface. I quite like how these turned out, they remind me of old fading photographs. You can see the variation between them depending how much solvent you use. I like that the second one looks blurred, like its showing the movement of him walking. I would like to experiment with using this in my project, using the work of Niel Spiller.

This is the photo I worked from and I quite like the effect the solvent had on removing parts of the image. So I could maybe use both the original image and the transfer in my project. I will also use photocopying for my piece, and would maybe like to experiment with different surfaces, such as acetate.


Reprography is the duplication of any type of graphic material on a physical medium through mechanical or electrical means. Reprographic techniques include:


A photocopier is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat. (Copiers can also use other technologies such as ink jet, but xerography is standard for office copying.)

Blue Prints:

A blueprint is a reproduction of a technical drawing, documenting an architecture or an engineering design, using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets. Invented in the 19th century, the process allowed rapid and accurate reproduction of documents used in construction and industry.


Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of an image sensor.[1] Typically, a lens is used to focus the light reflected or emitted from objects into a real image on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a timed exposure.

Digital Printing:

Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large format and/or high volume laser or inkjet printers.

None digital techniques of replicating an image can include:

Stencils: A stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cut-out holes in the material. The key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to repeatedly and rapidly produce the same letters or design.

Relief Printing: wood cut, metal cut, wood engraving, relief etching, linocut.

Intaglio printing: etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint or mezzotint.

Image Transfer Techniques:

Caulking Transfer: Done by applying a thin layer of caulk to a canvas in the spot where the transfer is to be placed. Image is the placed ink side down and burnished to removed air bubbles, then left overnight. You then rub the paper off using a damp cloth or sponge.

Acrylic Transfer: To do this, you apply an acrylic gel medium to a printed image and then press the transfer onto your chosen surface. Wait for it to dry and then use a damp cloth of sponge to peel off the transfer and reveal the image.

Xylene Transfer: This is a toxic process and should be done in a well ventilated area while wearing gloves. This is done by applying the printed transfer to another surface, face down, and applying xylene to the back of the paper using a rag. You then peel off the paper to reveal the image.

Heat transfer: Place an image face down on fabric and apply heat (can be done with an iron or other heat tool.) Make sure you peel off the image as you go to make sure the paper doesn’t stick to the fabric and to reveal the transfered image.

Neil Spiller is Dean, School of Architecture, Design & Construction at the University of Greenwich, Professor of Architecture and Digital Theory, Founding Director of the Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research Group (AVATAR) and a practising architect. He was previously Vice Dean, the Graduate Director of Design, at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London. He is also author of many books including Digital Dreams – Architecture and the New Alchemic Technologies (1998) and Cyberreader – Critical Writings for the Digital Era. He has spent the last 20 years developing his own language and style in architectural design, creating pieces of an abstract nature that centre around the surrealist ideas of different layers – real and virtual – operating on our environment. When describing his work, Spiller is quite poetic and he often draws from outside inspiration, he says:

Twenty years ago sites were real and unassailable, architecture was simple and the architect’s skills were less numerous. Architecture and architects looked relatively safe. I started experimenting with an encrusted architecture, a series of filters, an architecture beyond thestarkness of functionalism, an architecture whose way of representing itself was a combination of extravagant prose and a graphic gambit that was as powerful as it was invigorating, energetic and loose-limbed. It owed very little to the established protocols of the prevailing modernism. My architectural language has been honed by years of experimentation, with technology, with mythology and with shifting aesthetic preoccupations and above all it was out of control.