Hogarth was born in London 1697 and died in 1764. He started his career making trade cards. In his spare time, he did sketches of people around him and friends. He recorded life in the London streets unknowingly beginning the start as a reportage artist. He married the daughter of Sir James Thornhil who was a well-liked artist at the time and ran an art academy. Hogarth was known for mocking the wealthy and the politics of the time. It was the start of the industrial revolution. This had begun to affect the way society viewed the classes. The middle classes and upper class were no longer experiencing the financial divide there had been in the past. Rich merchants and businessmen alike were wealthy and interested in purchasing works of art. Some did not like his work; finding it comical rather than art. However, this is what endeared him to the middle and working classes. The consequence and troubles of wealth at the time were in the forefront of Hogarth’s mind as his own father was sent to debtors’ prison after a failed business idea.
For Example these eight prints called “A Rake’s progress” tells the story of a young man’s rise and fall in wealth. It is a morality tale of the evils of 18th century life, the triumph of commerce that led to the forming of new middle class young men. The way they craved pleasures and novelty, and the traps that can befall them.
So time for me to have a try….
Engraving plate printing was amazing. I chose to do this for my final to the project because of the inspiration from Hogarth. I combined the disciplines of reportage and satire by the choice of image. However the process it is not for the faint hearted, it was a lot of work to get just a line at a time. For a moment I felt as if I was in a Victorian work house keep scratching away at the metal rectangle in front on me. It is incredibly messy too. The result is worth it though. Despite the fact I struggled to get depth with my mark making by the end I was beginning to see how the effect was made. It took trial and more trial pieces to get the right combinations of plate marks and amounts of ink. Often I would clean the plate and go back to making more marks. When you look at them at first you can’t see what is different, yet as you look you notice the changes and the way to work becomes more apparent. I am happy with the resulting two images but know more work into the plates were needed to improve and maybe a better choice of backgrounds would help.