We create beautiful pieces every day with the inks of Firespring. Some months back, our Lead Komori Operator Josh Meyer was cleaning out cans of ink leftover from use on the offset presses. As he emptied it into the recycling barrel, I had to pause. Click. I had to capture those brilliant colors as they cascaded in a silky stream into the barrel. It was beautiful, Wasted Art.
Ink Waste Art is simply the snapshot of a moment, as ink sits in the barrel or drains in the tray. A moment that changes in seconds and from one day to the next. When I “find a gem,” I crop it to a certain aspect and saturate the color to enhance its definition. There is no dipping a canvas or paper in the ink. There’s no spilling of the ink onto something. The inks that we use are cured with heat, if I were to dip something, it would basically be wet forever.
My daily images have one constant: No pattern is ever identical.
The Anapurna tray is comprised of CMYK+W+LC+LM inks. I purge the ink into the tray prior to printing to prime the heads. It takes about three minutes from the time I purge until all the ink has drained. It takes about 60 seconds before most of the patterns have broken from their vibrant rush of intricacy. The ink drains down the hole and combines into a tank that gets drained weekly into an orange juice bottle and dumped into the barrel. There is also a grate that covers the tray when the printer is in use or turned off. Grateful captures the beautiful rainbow of color that has saturated the slats over time.
Most of the ink waste in the barrel is comprised of offset press inks. It comes in a can and is scooped out by the press operators with an ink knife (looks similar to a putty knife) and spread onto the rollers of the presses. It is mostly comprised of RGB colors. Bold, standard crayon colors and sometimes metallics. The ink is thick and goopy. Excess gets dumped into a 55-gallon drum barrel. About once a year, the barrel gets full, is sealed off and shipped to an ink recycling facility.
The beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder. Art may simply be beautiful in someone’s eyes, but the best art should make you feel something. Some of the pieces I’ve captured are just beautiful, but some really speak to me:
Transcend: My candle, going beyond the range of limits, as the universe creeps in around me. At any moment, it will overtake me, in all of life’s vibrant glory. But for a moment in this world, my light shines bright.
Fire and Ice: The faces of evil laughing, haunting my life, the struggle written all over the barrel. It’s even signed with an “A,” just like I write my own. Lit up in silver ink, haphazardly flung into the barrel, but speaking my language.
Click. A naturally occurring, one-of-a-kind phenomenon, and in a moment it is gone. Click. The capture of brilliant beauty, collected, created and printed by the same hands, from the same ink that once created the vibrant rush of art.
Browse some of the unique images found in the collection of the wasted ink of Firespring. New images and new prices have been released. For less than $100, you can have a beautiful, quality print, delivered to your door. 100 percent of the proceeds from each print is donated to carefully selected 501(c)(3)s through the Firespring Foundation. See more inspiring images from the Ink Waste Art collection on Instagram.