A dry-point on telephone cards

A dry-point

Before the mobile telephones, we used public payphones. You had to use telephone cards and insert them into the payphone’s card reader to make a call. Once the telephone credits were used up, the card was pretty much worthless, except for collectors and to the artist K_Van, who had a new application for the plastic card. He used the card as the basis for his dry point print. Similar to an engraving, a dry point is drawn with a needle or a sharp pen in a copper or zinc printing plate (without the use of an etching bath). In K_Van’s case, he used discarded phone cards as the printing plate.
Drawings where scratched into the surface of the card and then were inked and printed.
During a year K_Van made this series of 100 dry point prints, which shows a reflection of his life.
(a translation/adaptation from the description of his work in the Post and Telecommunication Museum, the Hague in 1997)


dry point technique

1) Scratch the drawing into an old telephone card with a sharp knife or nail.

small amount of etching ink

2) Cut the print paper to size and place into a bath of water to soak. With an old wine bottle cork spread a small amount of etching ink evenly over the surface area of the phone card, insuring that the ink is rubbed into the grooves. The remaining ink is carefully removed from the surface of the card by rubbing the surface with old news print.

The moist paper is then placed on the press plate.

3) Place the card face up on the printing press. The pre-soaked paper is taken out of the water and placed in-between sheets of new news print and rubbed firmly to take up the excess water. The moist paper is then placed on the press plate.

At an easy pace.

4) At an easy pace, the print is passed through the press.


With this work K_Van also won the NRK Federation “plastic recycling prize” award in 2000 for his innovative use of recycling of plastic. In 2014 he continues with his prints by adding text. K_Van collects art catalogues and magazines and cuts out snippets of art jargon; he reuses them for his own prints. This allows each print to be a refurbished piece of artwork, totally made with recycled material

Weekly I will be posting a recycled artwork and YES, they are for sale and remarkably affordable.
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