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Corona art

The Planets, Lady’s Face, Big Ben, and Tiger’s Eye are the titles of some of the artworks created on Gisborne Herald lithographic plates by brothers Alex and Benjamin Shanks during lockdown.

The artworks were made by inking the plates and spinning while centrifugal energy and chance did the rest.

Herald printer Pat Shanks made a spinning table from the bottom half of an office chair and attached a drill to spin the chair seat. He also took the precaution of building a surround out of cardboard to trap flying ink.

“We used acrylic paint, poster paint and printer’s ink and experimented to see different outcomes,” said Pat.

“We ‘inked’ onto paper, cardboard and aluminium metal plate. The latter gave the best effect.”

Changing the spin speed, paint type and print medium spun variations that lent themselves to the titles the lads came up with.

“Mistakes” sometimes resulted in the best creations, said Pat.

“The splatter that came from the ink onto the cardboard surround was an artwork in itself.”

While the artworks were created during lockdown, the name ‘Corona Art’ also refers to the “arms” of the paint that splays out like a crown from the centre and resembles the form of the virus.

SPINNING AWAY: Benjamin Shanks demonstrates the spray onto a spinning surface technique.Picture supplied
EXPLOSIVE: Alex and Benjamin Shanks’ artwork bears an uncanny resemblance to American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s 1965 lithograph on paper, Explosion. A Tate Gallery caption suggests Lichtenstein’s work is also a response to a global threat. “Beginning in 1962, Lichtenstein borrowed images of explosions from popular war comics for use in his paintings. The subject embodies the revolutionary nature of Pop art and suggests the very real threat of annihilation by nuclear explosion that was prevalent at that time. But Lichtenstein was also interested in the way dynamic events like explosions were depicted in the stylised format of comic book illustration.” Picture supplied