connection isn’t immediately obvious, but add some hearty smatterings of green, blue and yellow and the answer is Andy Warhol’s enduring screenprinted pop art images.
At its least ambiguous, screenprinting is a reprographics process that uses stencils to create short runs of prints. Ink is applied to a mesh screen (silk, or more commonly nylon) and held in suspension until it is allowed to pass through to the other side. By layering blocks of colour on to paper, fabric and even wood, the image emerges. In Warhol’s case, the photographs he replicated weren’t taken by him, but in the printing process they became reimagined and iconically his.
If others saw it as the industrialisation of art, then for Warhol, who delighted in exploiting the relationship between art and its hungry market, this was the precise attraction.
Yet, nearly 50 years later, in a world where digital images reign supreme, screenprinting has become the ideal bridge between the handmade and the mass-produced. Each hand-pulled print has what cultural critic Walter Benjamin called an “aura”, something you don’t get from a laserjet printer – though some are harder to detect than others, depending on whether you’re a messy or meticulous screenprinter.
At the Print Club in east London you will find all kinds. The open-access studio opened in September 2007 as a response to a growing feeling of despondency with digital work. Read more