Life is Art – Mystery Girl ATC

I’ve been really intrigued with using transparencies in my art for a while now.  You can find some really cool commercially produced transparencies as well as take any piece of art to Kinko’s and they’ll turn it into a transparency for you.  There are ink jet printable transparencies like I used in my City Sunset ATC.  The first inspiration I had for using transparencies in collage art came from Traci Bautista’s book “Collage Unleashed”.  Traci does a great deal of pen and ink work and then makes transparencies of her drawing or transparencies of entire pieces of art for use in future works of art.  I credit Traci’s book for getting my wheels turning and K&Co. for producing such cool bits of transparencies and Art Chix Studio for their transparency collage sheets for getting me to begin using transparency in my art.  This ATC takes transparency a step further.

The idea of being able to make a transparency from any laser/toner based image came to me from Karen Michel’s book “The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery.”  I had purchased and read the book a couple of years earlier, but when I started creating this ATC, Karen’s technique popped into my mind.  I stamped the Art/Life rubber stamp image onto a piece of white cardstock to start. Next I spritzed the stark cardstock with walnut ink to give it that vintage feel.  I’m still getting used to working with walnut ink and am a little uncomfortable with the unpredictability of how much spritz you’ll get out of the spray bottle. 

Everyone who created ATCs for this swap used the same image of the “mystery girl” in their ATC.  I wanted mine to be really different and when I trimmed around the image and put it on to the stamped background, I was frustrated that so much of her face covered up the wording.  I really loved the texture of the print and the mottling from the walnut ink – I wanted to somehow still see it.  And that’s when the transparency technique popped into my mind.  Making a transparency of our mystery girl would still enable me to see the text behind the photo. 

There are a couple of ways you can do this technique, but I used clear packaging tape method to make the transparency here.  I applied the clear tape over the image and rubbed it really well it was completely adhered and there were no bubbles at all – it looked laminated at this point.  Next I placeed the taped image into a shallow bowl of warm water and let it sit for a few minutes.  Lastly, I gently rubbed away all of the paper until I was left with a transparent image of the original.

To finish up the ATC, I stuck her down with Mod Podge and then roughed up the edges of the layered stamped image with the edge of a razor blade and then applied copper ink with a leafing pen.  The tag was embossed with an embossing tool and then adhered to the layered part with a brad.  Finally the entire piece was stuck diagonally onto a thick black ATC blank.  I love the result – the simple monochrome palette and the ghost image of the mystery girl.  Together they embody the spirit of creativity within me – bringing together bits and pieces of techniques I’ve acquired living an artful life.


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