Artist’s books with a rare technique: Warhols Blotted Line today

Beldan Sezen

I love the blotted line technique. Warhol did it, I do it. I love that I can’t fully control the outcome of the printed image. The distribution of the ink through the pressure of my hand and fingers, the condition of the onion skin and the surface of the paper all add to the outcome of the line that never looks the same, never looks as clean and neat as its pencilled version. This ‘loss of control’, this supposed mistake when the line doesn’t actually look the way I thought it would, at the end makes the image. It enriches it, gives it its depth and character. Sometimes the ink creates a deep and bold pitch black line, sometimes it’s as thin as a hairline. Often it’s disrupted and blotted. Hence its name.

After having done five books, this simplest method of printmaking – for it is printmaking since the same image can be reproduced multiple times – still excites me. I discovered the technique when studying Andy Warhol’s shoe illustrations. They didn’t look like ink drawings nor an etching. I learned that they were line blots. He’d pencil a shoe on a piece of onion skin paper, attach the onion skin to a sheet of paper with a piece of tape and start tracing the pencil lines with ink. By flipping over the onion skin the image would be “printed” onto the paper through the pressure of his fingers. I love when in times my heart almost stops while thinking the line will come out all wrong because that’s not what I wanted to happen; that’s not how I wanted to apply the pressure. Then I lift the onion skin, carefully, to not let my upcoming anger over the apparent mistake interfere. When the line reveals itself I start smiling. Once again I’m reminded that the art of art is to trust and let all be part of the process. That what I want really doesn’t count nor add much to the creation. Magic happens in the oddest moments and places.

Zur Autorin
Beldan Sezen ist Autodidaktin, lebte bis vor kurzem in Europa (Deutschland, Türkei, Niederlande). Ihre künstlerische Karriere begann im Bereich mit Graphic Novels. Heute arbeitet sie in einem Atelier in New York, und ihre meist als serielle Unikate entstehenden Künstlerbücher finden sich weltweit in zahlreichen öffentlichen Sammlungen.

Bilder: © Beldan Sezen

Ausschnitt aus To Separate the Body from the Machine, 2015.
Im Bestand der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek Sign. 2 L.sel.III 496
© Beldan Sezen

Zur Autorin
Maggie Rosenau recently earned her PhD in Germanistik at the University of Colorado Boulder. She also holds professional certification in Museology. Her dissertation, titled “The Blank Space: Implications of Semiotic Nothingness in The Postwar Swiss Avant-Garde”, situates the works of Bolivian-Swiss artist Eugen Gomringer and German-Swiss-Icelandic artist Dieter Roth in their historical moment and argues for their social and political relevance. Pieces concerning the intersection of poetry and public spaces have appeared in ToCall, sync and The Volta. Other work on Roth has been published by Zucker Art Books. Forthcoming is a peer-reviewed article on Roth’s poem “Variations on 44” as well as a series of erasures poems, which will appear this year in Erase the Patriarchy by University of Hell Press.

Diesen Artikel zitieren: Beldan Sezen, “Artist’s books with a rare technique: Warhols Blotted Line today” [in English], in Kunst zwischen Deckeln, 2. Juli 2019,

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