This article has been compiled by Jeff Kelley (@postaljeff) and Susanne Maude (@masusanne).
If you’ve been Vimpted, you know the feeling of holding a precious print in your hand, of experiencing this kind act from a fellow Instagrammer, a stranger. And if you haven’t been Vimpted yet, you’d sure love to be. Vimpt is a beautiful proof that art connects and that collaboration creates something unique.
The man behind Vimpt is Craig Austin from the UK. Every week Craig chooses nine Instagram images submitted to #vimptfreeprint, turns them into fine art prints in his dark room and sends them to the photographers. He does this all for free.
Not just thumbnails
Vimpt equals Very Important. “The name signals the importance of the images people are submitting and the importance of the print, that we should not forget the role of materiality within the digital.” Craig wants us to look at the images as physical objects and not just as thumbnails on our phones.
The idea for the project came after Craig taught Alternative Processes at the University of Westminster and collaborated with Jonathan Worth on Phonar Nation. Phonar Nation was a free online photography class, open to anyone in the world and run as a part of the Cities of Learning Initiative in the US. Craig produced free salt prints from smartphone pictures for the students to connect them to the historical, cultural and material contexts that are so often removed from the digital world.
The success of Phonar Nation led Craig to drop the same process into Instagram. He started the Vimpt account in November 2015 and has so far sent out 400 free prints. The project is growing fast; people from all over the world have submitted almost 20,000 images to Vimpt’s hastag.
“I have become part of a vast, engaged and creative photographic community that I didn’t know existed! The communities and individuals I’ve met through Vimpt are incredibly knowledgeable, driven, generous and gifted. I’m excited about where the project is going.”
Old school meets new technology
Craig uses historic processes such as Salt Print and Cyanotype, and combines them with digital technology and handmade paper to produce fine art interpretation of chosen images. “I use the title Alternative Processes for what I do as it helps to describe and give a broad context to this hybrid approach. The term itself is a subject of considerable debate, and there are a lot of different opinions about its meaning and what it covers.”
What interests Craig is how modern technology has made the historic processes more accessible. “A love of the physical print produced by these wonderful old processes and an excitement about how digital technology and social media are reinventing the cultural meaning of photography is one of the reasons I started Vimpt.”
What makes a good image
“There are a couple of things I look for when choosing an image”, Craig explains. If the image relies on a particular colour or if the image’s narrative is about colour, it won’t work as a monotone print. “It can become flat.” The same goes with images that are overly complicated or overworked with apps. “What a salt print adds can become a little lost.”
Craig looks for sharpness and details. “If it’s not sharp but looks like it should be sharp, or if the shot is a portrait and the face is in shadows without enough details, then it won’t work well as a monotone print.”
Yet there are exceptions. “Some images do fall outside this rough guide, and I know they will be difficult to print, but I do them anyway as they are such great shots.”
Craig tries to vary the style of chosen images, and he does not usually print images of drawings or paintings.
The Future of Vimpt
Vimpt is a self- funded project and free of charge for photographers. That makes it unique. Craig tells that photographers have requested purchasing prints, and he’s trying to set up a service that could at least supply prints for exhibitions, but Vimpt as such will always continue to give away free prints. Selling prints was never its goal.
However, Craig, who sometimes produces same images twice in order to replace the ones lost in the postal service, admits that Vimpt is approaching a time when he needs to raise funds to be able to keep making and giving away prints for free. He is planning to establish a donation page on the website. “But it’s difficult to know how to ask for money to continue something that is free.”
Craig himself takes mostly pictures of his loved ones. And no, he does not have any personal account other than Vimpt. “I don’t have much time outside Vimpt and my family, and I much prefer collaborating with other people, it’s more inspirational. For me, photography on social media is about conversations, collaborations and sharing information but in a beautiful and unique way.”
Because of Vimpt, Craig spends a lot of time online, and he is a huge fan of digital art. Yet he is an even bigger fan of physical print.
“Seeing Hiroshi Sugimoto’s prints or the work of Stephen Gill or Masao Yamamoto, or even leafing through a great photo book makes far more of an impression on me than seeing work on a screen.”
You can find out more about Vimpt, the photos of the chosen prints and videos by the happy recipients at www.vimpt.com and you can check out Vimpt on Instagram.
Grryo believes that abstract artists deserve to be recognised. Every Sunday join us in celebrating creative photography and art, from collage, design, multi layered textural compositions, to minimal colour pieces. We want to see diversity and images that cross and merge the boundaries of our imaginations.
We hope to support the abstract arts community by having a place for artists to share imagery that goes beyond the everyday snapshot and pixel and is transformed into a digital artwork that makes you feel something. Abstract art needs to be seen and experienced. We look forward to you and your expressive art and we want to spread the word about your Abstract talents. Thank you for your contribution to the mobile photography/arts community. Please join us by tagging your unique abstract images to #wearegrryo or #grryo.
We hope to see you there!
We invite you to take a look at these artist selections from February and March and experience their extraordinary galleries for yourselves.
Ground control to major tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmets on. Strap yourselves in and sprinkle yourselves with star dust every Sunday for Abstract Art features from all around the IG galaxy. First up in the digital stratosphere is the exceptionally talented graphical goddess and all round gorgeous being Erin @lifewithart who masterfully experiments with collage and editing elements to create wonderfully surreal images like this one – Iconoclast. Truly in a class of her own.
instagram | website
One of the things I love about Sundays is uncovering new artists that inspire, move or simply take my breath away. Looking through your images for this weeks grryo abstract feature i uncovered a dreamy, layered, gem of an artist whose work both transcends time and evokes a sense of mystery that leaves you wanting more and more.
Ethereal, dreamlike, poetry only begins to paint the artistry of the exquisite images of Kim @kimmibird where you can lose yourself in the layers of textures both hidden and revealed. Tattered and torn fragments and portals to a completely different reality, I highly recommend you visit.
yes, i’m Looking at You.
instagram | website
Gary Edward Blum
If, like me, you adore subtle works on found paper, experiments with mixed media, expressive mark-making, and dabs of colour, then this dynamic combination of fields between painting and photography is just the sunday abstract discovery for you.
Gary Edward Blum @garyedwardblum is a deft hand with delicate lines, textures, and juxtapositions, and has a keen eye for still life which speaks my kind of visual language. There is nothing ‘incidental’ about his artwork, everything is carefully considered and thoughtfully placed. “Utilizing a mixture of realism and minimalist abstraction, I create a narrative between pictorial reality, artistic process and formal composition.” This converging contrast in his body of work highlights not only his remarkable vision of the world but teeters on the edge between real and perceived reality and abstraction, dotted with smears of colour along the way…
₀ ₂ ₀ ₅ ₁ ₆
instagram | website
Its that time of the week again – Abstract Sunday, as the day draws to a close here in Australia. This time round we venture to Japan where @studioshuko caught my gaze with her hazy abstract umbrella in my favourite colour – red. Shuko Kawase’s delicate sensibilities and art leave a dusty and delightful impression on the senses. A dissolving rain of colour and an abstract silhouette bleeding at the edges as if seen through a foggy window or snow storm is just enough detail for our mind to fill in the gaps and form a picture in our minds of the mood and moment captured here in Hokkaido’s Moerenuma Park. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful memory of the day – Portrait of a lady.
App-stacking, there’s a term you dont hear much of these days… well guess what, i’m bringing it back with this beauty. And yes, i’ve checked, its still Sunday in the Netherlands where this weeks’ artist is from… When I asked Bonny about how she creates her images I was amazed how many levels of work went in to transform this ‘manny’ into an almost unrecognible but absolutely Abstract Sunday marvel. In case you were wondering – that’s a mannequin, for the uninitiated, and I love mannequins! Also, are you into textures, scratches, layers of type, creating a multifaceted, multilayered artwork? More is more with miss @beezzz_ and I couldnt help but notice how it adds depth to her dark, inkylicious, moody and mysterious images. For a unique beez eye look at the weird but oh so wonderful world of bonny, buzz on in to to her feed.
I hopped aboard the yellow submarine again with our latest artist, Tim Matregrano @ruxco_tim for this Sundays escapism treat. It’s been a bright, sunnylicious day here and i’m extremely excited to introduce you to the wonderful waves of moon beamy goodness that radiate from this space age digital collage artwork. But… rather than subject you to my nonsensical ramblings I’d rather you heard it from the man himself. You see, i’m a curious sort and asked the question, “Where does your inspiration come from?” His answer, like his creativity – was rather impressive, so i’ll share it with you now… “I enjoy seeking nuance from composition, shapes, color, texture, and finding the harmony and balance of these. I’ve found that I’m able to create these ‘strange’ scenes, or worlds, with mobile editing that I wasn’t able to achieve with my tactile art. Each piece is an experiment, a push to create the idea I have…” Oh and those tactile things? I wanna hear more about those – it sounds kinda fancy. Drawings, collages, sculptures too? Multitalented – yes. Do we dig it? Oh Yes.
Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of her photographs. There is something innately intuitive that I was drawn to with this artists’ work among the thousands of images tagged to the grryo gallery.
How she sees and more importantly how she feels what she photographs is really compelling. Her work is a mixture of abstract reflections and segments of street photography handled with a sensitivity and dusty use of colour that feels like its from a time gone by… Layer by layer she peels back the underlying essence of New York, as she sees it, a fleeting glance, a pair of heels walking out of frame, a window … A frame that is constantly moving and shifting, such an alluring picture of how she breathes in and paints the colours of the city through her eyes.
Thank you Jeanette Vazquez @_jeanettevazquez for revealing your fascinating fragments of art with us this Abstract Sunday. Please wander down the dusky pavements in her footsteps and take a peek into her beautiful world of photography.
Andrew J Hays
What’s in a name? This week for our Sunday burst of Abstractness, a tidy little square package of pop sung out to my graphic heart in the mix of #wearegrryo. How could i go past this bright geometric image by Andrew Hays @andrewjhays . Who doesn’t need a few little splices of multicolour in their life, right?! I’m not always just about black and white you know, and what a mood lifting antidote with this selection. An Amalgamation of cool, cropped, compositionally, correct, crazy, colour treats with mind spinning minimalism. Linear pieces and slices of shadows on this delicious candy coloured wall. This refreshing blend of shapes and colours makes a lively geometric flavour combination for my Sunday Abstracts pick.
And yes getting back to Amalgamation, what a brilliant word and title.
Immerse yourself in the creative work of the extraordinary artist Agnès Lanteri @ellla_k . She is an exquisite painter of light who has envisioned this brilliantly hued blue abstract piece called Passengers in Transit. This monochromatic mist series 3/6 is a beautiful balm for eyes that see beyond the routine of everyday life and recognise it a true piece of art.
Agnès handles colour and light like they were old friends, each going hand in hand, it doesn’t matter the subject, even a simple piece of fabric or a stranger on the move can be illuminated in her eyes.
This is a remarkable gift.
I for one want to take a meandering journey with this artist and escape into the dreamy quiet of her imaginative space, who’s with me?
Graceful, captivating, and full of emotion, this exquisite celestial being Heather McAlister @poppybay takes my Abstract Sunday heart this week with an ethereal self portrait. From behind her gauzy veil her porcelain skin is illuminated against the murky shadows by a most radiant light.
I’m fascinated by art which strips back the layers and reveals something true and real about the artist themselves. Heather does that with elegance and a glowing bouquet of luminous colour cascading down her canvas.
An entrancing hum of divine, glorious, light and dark woven together with her gossamer thread.
It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal. E.M. Forster
Interview written by Raffa one of The Minimals
R: Tell me about the project “You cannot call it love” and AIDOS
TB: The project is an idea of 23 women, all known writers. We come together to create a book of short stories that speak about love but also about no-love. Because it often happens that what we believe love is not really love, remaining trapped in a situation of violence, physicaland psychological. It’s important for adults to reflect on the feelings and it’s important also help the youngsters to distinguish their emotions,because they will be the men and women of tomorrow.
Violence against women has ancient origins, but it is becoming increasingly popular, we need to start thinking about possible solutions. We believe that talk about love is the only real solutionagainst violence.
But love is not just something to talk about, it must be above all a factand that’s why we decided to donate the proceeds of the book toAIDOS, a no-profit organization that helps children who are victims ofviolence in Burkina Faso.
R: What about other initiatives proposed by AIDOS?
TB: AIDOS works to support women in the southern hemisphere. Its main purpose is the protection of women’s rights and the improvement of their living conditions: Promoting female entrepreneurship in Tanzania,Education Fund in Afghanistan, Women’s Health Center in Syria (just to name a few). The rest can be found at: www.aidos.it
R: Why IG to promote a book?
TB: Because we not only want to promote a book, we especially want to spread the idea that violence can be defeated. Art has the power toopen your mind and to give birth to new ideas. I believe that art can give us new eyes to see the world. And I also believe that through art wecan better understand the emotions and try to live them in the most beautiful way. Because art is beauty. I especially love writing, it’s myjob, but I also love photography. I always thought that these two formsof art are made to go together, united. Thanks to IG my idea mayfinally be realized. I’m so glad.
R: Parlami del progetto “Chiamarlo amore non si può” e dell’AIDOS
TB: Il progetto nasce dall’idea di 23 donne, tutte scrittrici già note. Ci siamo riunite per creare un libro di racconti in cui si parla dell’amore ma anche del non-amore. Perché spesso succede che scambiamo per amore ciò che amore non è, rimanendo intrappolati in una situazione di violenza, fisica e psicologica. E’ importante per noi adulti riflettere sui sentimenti ed è fondamentale anche aiutare i giovanissimi a distinguere le proprie emozioni, perché loro saranno gli uomini e le donne di domani.
La violenza sulle donne ha origini antiche, ma si sta diffondendo sempre più, occorre iniziare a riflettere sulle possibili soluzioni. Parlare d’amore è l’unica vera soluzione, secondo noi, contro la violenza.
Ma l’amore non è soltanto qualcosa di cui parlare, deve essere soprattutto un fatto concreto ed è per questo che abbiamo deciso di devolvere il ricavato del libro all’AIDOS, una Onlus che aiuta le bambine vittime di violenza in Burkina Faso.
R: Che altre iniziative ha proposto l’AIDOS?
TB: Si tratta di una ONLUS, un’associazione senza fine di lucro che opera a sostegno delle donne del Sud del mondo per la tutela dei loro diritti e il miglioramento delle condizioni di vita.I suoi progetti sono tanti. Promozione imprenditoria femminile in Tanzania, Fondo per l’istruzione in Afghanistan, Centro salute delle donne in Siria… solo per citarne alcuni. Il resto lo trovate su: www.aidos.it
R: Perché IG per promuovere un libro?
TB: In realtà non si tratta solo di promuovere un libro, si tratta soprattutto di diffondere l’idea che la violenza può essere sconfitta. L’arte ha il potere di aprire la mente e di accendere nuove riflessioni e nuovi modi di vedere il mondo. E credo che attraverso l’arte si possano comprendere meglio le emozioni, per provare a viverle nel modo più bello. Perché l’arte è bellezza. Amo in particolare la scrittura, è il mio mestiere, ma adoro anche la fotografia. Ho sempre pensato che queste due forme d’arte sono fatte per procedere insieme, unite. Grazie a IG questa mia idea può finalmente realizzarsi. Ne sono davvero felice.
To take part in the contest tag your photos to #ChiamarloAmore until the 21st of November
R. Tiziana Bruno is a writer, sociologist and teacher. She is a member of ICWA (Italian Children’s Writers Association). She has published her books in Italy, in the United States and Spain. Website:www.rosatiziana.com
R.Tiziana Bruno è scrittrice, sociologa e insegnante. Fa parte dell’ICWA (Italian Children’s Writers Associations). Ha pubblicato i suoi libri in Italia, USA e Spagna. Sito web: www.rosatiziana.com