She began by experimenting with repetition through photos, printing the same image multiple times onto different surfaces which she primed with chemicals for added variation. Oil bubbles the ink to form a pointillist image. Windex cleaner alone casts a blue pallor over the image, but used alongside glue it blurs and contorts the image into abstraction. Through these studies, Guzman discovered a grammar of printmaking for her collection: how to warp a photo enough to defamiliarize the image but not so much that it becomes unrecognizable. “A lot of the prints I did weren’t digitally manipulated, they’re all done through printing on different types of plastics that have been coated,” she explains. “The materials are allowed to mutate, to follow their own paths and create their own destinies.”
Ever the knitwear enthusiast, Guzman wondered how a sweater might mutate to find its own destiny. She started to play around. “I was very methodical about it,” she says. “I would knit a whole lot of fabric, paint it, and then I would unravel it and knit it again,” photographing each iteration of the panel. With each reprocessing came a slight remix. “What happens if I do a bigger stitch? What happens if I paint the yarn first and then I knit it? It was so exciting,” she says. Slowly the incremental changes accrued into a dizzying array of photographs, samples, and micro-techniques. “It’s essentially an ecosystem,” she realized, a world of evolution, interrelation, and adaptation.