A design student has made a bold statement against plastics with an artwork made from paper, while exploring the opportunities and artistic beauty of foil blocking.

Luc Crossley was this year’s candidate for the Imprint Impress project undertaken every year in a collaboration between Ravensbourne University, Baddeley Brothers, GF Smith and Foilco.

Luc is a second-year student studying illustration, and has grown up in the fine art world.

Both his parents are fine artists, and Luke expects to work in Illustration or go on to study for an MA, when he completes his degree.

Growing up in London, he says he takes his inspiration from everyday objects around him.  He channels this into his favourite medium of digital animation.

However, this project calls for traditional production processes and mechanical presses, although the design element does allow for computer-aided design.

The Enzyme’s Monolith

The challenge for Imprint Impress is to design and prototype a piece of artwork using specified papers and foil… within a budget, and within the parameters of the production processes involved.

Luc’s design is called The Enzyme’s Monolith, and it he wanted to depict the ubiquitous use of plastics everywhere, and how the world is responding to it.

He said: “The enzyme aspect is the bits coming out the sides. I did a bit of research and I found that scientists are developing an enzyme that attacks plastics. So the original concept was basically having these enzymes coming out of this monolithic shape to show an enzyme which the eats in the way of plastic on a bigger scale.

“Originally the shape of it was actually a more simple cylindrical shape, which had an issue. So I designed on simplicity to build in a hexagonal box.

The project allows creative freedom for the artist, but as well as introducing a new medium and process, it also educates them about the limitations and economies of the production process. The final product has to be cut, folded and foiled by machine.

Luc explained how his original concept had to be modified to make this work.

Working through the solution

“It went through quite a lot of changes. I think originally it was all circular, including the enzyme bits coming out. But that wasn’t really possible to do. And it excited us a couple of times to be faced with these problems and to work through the solutions.

“I decided to make it out of one piece of paper. And to have the enzymes fold out from the big fat cells and then cut them into a stylized shape.”

He said the help and support from Baddeley Brothers was essential.

“They came to visit several times and guided me on what could and couldn’t be done. In fact it was they who suggested I make it stackable.

The final piece was exhibited alongside five of the previous winners in a special six year retrospective.

Luc’s other artwork can be viewed on his website at luccrossley.co.uk and his Instagram account @culartstudio.