Blue Screen of Death, Yellow Screen of Potential

Ah, screen printing., one of my favourite ways to produce¬†images. It is the ever-so-slight- mistakes and blemishes in each piece that gives it character, the effort taken to create a colour that aptly articulates the story of your image, the image being torn asunder into it’s colour layers and the time and effort required to tune each image to perfection that gets to me. It is simultaneously a perfectionists nightmare and wet dream all in one.

I started off with a simple line drawing, the one I created for my summer project. Rendered in red against a white background for the simple reason of them being my national colours.The buildings were in red as they represented the people, and the white linework symbolized the clean-cut society of my country. A simple and fairly thoughtless piece of work. I subsequently experimented with blending colours within the same screen. Using three different reds I created a sunburst effect radiating from the centre, akin to a “Glorious Victory” message. Finally, I experimented with the idea of printing on media other than paper, and learnt that ink consistency must be changed for different media.

I came back a second time the following day to experiment with a two layer print. Making a gift for a special someone, I split an image of a rose into its bud and stem, and printed them in blood red and oxide green. Drawing form what I had learnt, I prepared the inks to be thicker than it should have been for paper, and printed the image on a notebook. The inks worked out excellently, but the alignment of the rose bud and stem were off by about 1mm. While that did not cause any major problems, It left a knowledge gap which I desired to fill.

I returned to print a third time, and being more ambitious, I attempted a 4 layer print. Tony taught me an excellent technique to ensure the consistency and accuracy of my prints, using the keyline image first, and subsequently filling in the rest. He also made me execute the prints properly, i.e. lightest to darkest print layers. The image was processed from a photo of the statue of Samson Slaying a Philistine, taken by myself. I removed the background and split the image according to its light levels digitally. Printing it took a while though, as there were 4 layers, there was a lot of adjusting to be done.

To talk about the image, I rendered it in grayscale to symbolize the matter-of-fact context in which Samson took a life. The greys used in the image were all blue-greys to reinforce the idea of the coldness of this killing. My final image featured a “black-light” over the two, signifying the absence of God and the darkness of human nature. This black used was a red-black to give it contrast against the blue-greys and the red within it represents our innateness towards darkness as if it was in our blood. As it was quite a morbid piece, I could not bring myself to print more than the 6 I started with.

To conclude, I thoroughly enjoyed the screen printing classes, and would definitely return to print more in the holiday periods.

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