Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Teatime In New Haven, 2016, Detail, Photo: Connolly Weber Photography

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s photo transfer technology for home use - a workshop tutorial

Written by Sylvia Clasen,

The artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby has developed her own artistic technique with which she transfers photographs onto her work. With this tutorial, you can experiment with the artist's fascinating photo transfer technique at home.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Teatime In New Haven, 2016, Photo: Connolly Weber Photography
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Teatime In New Haven, 2016, Photo: Connolly Weber Photography

The work “Tea Time in New Haven, Enugu” shows a set table covered with boxes, cans, cups, plates, placemats, a bottle of water and a tea kettle. These objects reveal things about the life, culture and habits of those living in the house despite their absence. The chairs around the table are empty.

If you look closely at all the objects, you will recognize the use of very different artistic techniques. The artist combines painting, drawing and transfers, i.e. transferred photos. With this special technique of photo transfer, the artist is able to simultaneously present the two worlds that define her life: her Nigerian homeland and her life in the USA.

You can find examples of the transferred photographs in objects on the table and in the wallpaper, on the floor and on sections of the chairs. These transferred photographic motifs mostly show people: friends, family members and evenstrangers, as well as photo templates from various magazines including actresses, musicians and advertising motifs. Individual motifs found on the table reappear in reverse or upside down in the room’s wallpaper. As you can see, the colors of the transferred photos are faded, the motifs are more obscure, as if part of a distant memory.

What motifs would you choose to represent yourself and your individuality, your interests and environment?

In a video tutorial, our art teacher Esther Zellmer introduces you in a few steps to an easy photo transfer technique that you can try out at home. In her example, Esther shows viewers how an image is created with a bag of food. The pictures of the food come from advertising brochures that are still available at the local supermarket despite the Coronavirus crisis.

Before you begin, here are a few things you will need to make photo transfers:

Scotch tape (if possible, wide)
Journals, magazines
Photographs - only copied photos from laser printers
Colored pencils or watercolor paints
A bowl of water

Here we go!

Now it is your turn! Show us your work and share it on social media at #hausderkunst and #atelierHDK or send it to us by email at atelier@hausderkunst.de

Sylvia Clasen is in charge of the studio at Haus der Kunst and heads the children's program for the exhibition "Interiorities".