A very polite student from Canada emailed me to ask some questions about screenprinting & me, which make up something of a mini-interview.
1) Reasons for pursuing a focus in silk screening.
My initial exposure to silkscreened work was through 'screened gig-posters -- being heavily involved with music and producing a lot of illustration work for flyers and posters, this is something that very much caught my attention.
Once I had produced a handful of gig-posters, I found I enjoyed not only the 'hands on' physical process of printing but also the way silkscreen printing has to be approached in the design stages -- i.e. a smaller palette, forcing you to make the most of what might be considered a "limitation" and, essentially, do less with more.
2) Where you studied print making, and if you hadn't, how you came upon the skill.
I already had an understanding of the basic principles of printing (from reading other artists' processes online) and an induction at a local studio got me up to speed on inks, exposure times, chemicals, etc. After that, each and every session spent printing has been something of a learning process as I experimented and made various mistakes, hopefully coming away a little wiser each time... this process continues!
3) Reasons for focusing primarily on a 3 layer style.
Thinking about it, I think the main reason is a practical one: a 3 colour print run usually allows me to get all the printing done in a day. I have to travel by train to the studio I use, so this just makes things easier for me.
A less obviously practical response: I will sometimes be working on something of only 2 colours and suddenly hit a point where I really feel it needs that 3rd colour. 3 colours just seems to feel right to me.
4) Inspirations? Muses?
Upon answering this question a couple of years ago, I would have undoubtedly mentioned the wealth of work collected on the site gigposters.com as a big inspiration -- however, having followed and been involved in 'gig-poster art' for a number of years now, I'm starting to see the cyclical nature of trends develop, dissapear and then come round again... and while there are a number of incredibly talented artists producing gig-poster work, I think I am currently far more inspired by work outside of this field.
I love my RSS reader. Subcribing to a few choice blogs ensures that I am fed a daily stream of inspirational and thought-provoking work in the fields of print, design, illustration, typography, animation, etc. etc. basically work which I might not otherwise have been exposed to.
5) Opinions on printmaking as an art? (By this I refer to the current critique of printmaking, and how it should not be considered a 'fine art', due to its strong commercial relations. BS in my opinion, but it would be interesting to hear the opinion of one who has very clearly made the printmaking industry his home.)
I'm not from a fine art background of any kind, so not aware of specific criticisms but for me, as a designer, there is a definite joy in the process of hand-producing something which you can hold, feel and smell, as well as look at. Getting it off the computer screen and onto paper, sometimes with beautiful accidents and imperfections along the way, is a worthy and artistic endeavor, in my opinion.
For people to be able to easily and affordibly take home my work to keep for themselves, and actually own part of the 'final piece' - not just a postcard-print of the original - is fantastic. The entire run of prints is the work as a whole; like chopping up a huge painting and making the art available as smaller chunks to many people, rather than one painting which can only ever be owned by one person and displayed in one place.