Screenprinting 101 (Domestication of the Printmakers Pt II) with Henry Gepfer
Gallery360 presents an inside look at the installation process of Henry Gepfer’s work Ties
First step, supplies:
The screen: fine-mesh cloth is stretched over a wooden frame, prepped with a thin layer of photosensitive emulsion (the pink stuff), and exposed to light with the drawings of the ties on a translucent surface. The screen is then exposed to light, and the emulsion hardens to the fabric when exposed in all areas except those where the light is blocked (the ties).
Also necessary are printing ink, gloves, a squeegee to push the ink though, and cleaning supplies for the screen directly after printing so that no ink dries in it.
Block out any excess spaces where ink could come through.
In this case Henry used masking tape to cover the edges and anywhere unwanted ink could be pushed through the screen.
Apply ink in an even line at the top of the screen.
Now you’re ready to print. This is it, don’t get scared now.
Choose your printing surface
In many cases, it’s a piece of paper, a shirt, a sign, etc. In our case, it’s the wall. Because why not? (Also because it’s important for the finished installation, but be patient.) Choose a printing partner who will hold the screen steady as you pull the ink through, and who doesn’t mind getting ink on their head and sneakers if you’re a wall adventurer as well.
Using your printmaking squeegee, firmly and evenly pull a layer of ink across the screen’s surface. This pushes the ink through the negative spaces in the emulsion, in our case the ties. Do your best to maintain an angle with the squeegee so that the edge of the blade is the only part making contact. A bad angle will produce a smeared print.
Remember, the squeegee matters! It should be large enough to completely cover all of the desired details in one pass. The hardness of the rubber can vary, and some have rounded edges for pushing more ink through. A firmer rubber squeegee is better for small detail work.
Get ready, it’s the moment of truth…
Carefully take the screen away and check out your results. This can be the most rewarding or the most cuss-worthy frustrating moment. It’s all good though, if you messed up you still have the screen ready to try again. Clean your screen out asap (unless you’re immediately doing another pull) so that no ink dries into the screen.
After Henry added in the red detail, viola! Our finished product in all of it’s wall-printed glory. Try to keep your ties straight.
Mix your media. Henry’s installation was completed with a mirror and a tie.
And that’s how you create an interactive screenprinting installation. Sit back and enjoy the inevitable results…
Photo credit: Meisa Chase ft Victoria Brobst
Many thanks go out to Henry Gepfer for inspiring, educating, and humoring us all with his artwork. We have more of Henry’s installations on view here at Gallery360 through Oct 28th, and loose prints available for sale as well! Find Part I of Domestication of the Printmakers here, complete with more images of all of our artists’ work from Challenging Media: Provocative Printmaking.
If you have pictures of yourself interacting with this piece, we want to see them! Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and get blog famous.
You guys are the best,