Luis Jiménez Self Portrait – Working States

In November 1995, Luis Jimenez came to Flatbed for the first time to create a print for a Flatbed Press publication. This was to be an etching, a large soft-ground etching. He arrived with a fist full of ideas generated from drawings he had been creating which were based on self-portraits that seemed metamorphosed into animal/man likenesses. Jimenez had specified that the copper plates be large, 45 inches by 32 inches which by etching standards would be considered “huge.”

He began the first plate with a soft-ground drawing which was sketchy but a close self-representation. When he added lines to the plate with a second drawing etched into the surface, it proofed to reveal an image that transformed his living image into an image of himself that harks to Dia de los Muertos images. The drawing for this plate is passionately rendered and accurately described Jimenez’s physical loss of vision in one eye and a skull-like face of Jimenez in death. Two more plates were drawn in registration with the first (key) plate then printed with various colors with the key soft-ground plate to layer a network of lines that add color and mass to the image. Plate 2 came close to being a fully realized drawing of the skull-like head but Plate 3 was drawn to add background values to the negative space and hollowed areas of the skull. The completed image is a result of the three colors from all three plates.

The working states shown here are the actual proofs taken during the process of creating and proofing the plates from November 27 through December 1, 1995. The proofs gave Jimenez the information he needed to make necessary changes to the plates and decisions about ink colors. The proofs are known as “working states” while changes are being made to the plates and the final states proofed in various colored inks are known as color trial proofs. The final framed print shows the plates in their final states and the color and printing decisions finalized. This is how Jimenez decided that the etching was to be editioned. Self Portrait was printed in an edition of 50 and was signed by Luis Jimenez in April 1996.

Exhibition On View at the WFMA February 22 through May 5, 2018

Funded by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts