quarta-feira, fevereiro 08, 2006


Serigraphy (Silk Screening) The history of screen printing dates back to the stenciling found in primitive cave paintings in France and Spain. Cave painters sprayed (by blowing color through a tube) around their hand or pressed their hands into color printing onto the walls. Around 500 A.D., the Japanese and Chinese developed a more sophisticated form of stenciling. In order to create fine detail in the printed image. The Japanese began to push color and dyes through silk. The fine weave of the silk held the color in place while the impression was made. Using that technique, screen-printing was mainly used for commercial purposes, such as package labels and billboards. During the Depression, the Work's Progress Administration enabled artist to explore the more personal artistic capabilities the silkscreen process had to offer with the creation of several patriotic prints. It was during this time that the word "serigraph" was coined. It comes from the Latin word "seri", meaning silk, and the Greek word "graphos," meaning to draw or write. Today, serigraphy, silkscreen printmaking, is a discipline that uses graphic techniques to crate a particular visual aesthetic personally expressive to each artist and image. Color Separations: The first step in creating a serigraph involves producing color separations that make up the printed image. This is the responsibility of the chromist. Making these separations can employ a variety of techniques, but in this article we're focusing on hand-painted separations. Each color is translated onto a mylar sheet by hand by the master chromist using black opaque ink. These sheets eventually become the screens. Depending on the complexity and the desired effect, the number of colors per print can range from 15 to 128 or more colors and can take anywhere from two to 10 hours per color to paint. The chromist, in essence, becomes the artist by creating each color separation, but the chromist must also think in terms of pulling apart the whole image and starting from the ground up. Where an artist can easily mix a desired color on their palette, the chromist must think in terms of color formula. Screen Making: After each color is painted, the mylar is given to the screen department. Screens are stretched with nylon or polyester. The open mesh screens are directly coated with a light-sensitive emulsion. The mylar is then measured and taped to the appropriate print area on the screen. The screen is then placed in a vacuum frame to ensure good contact of the mylar with the screen. It is then exposed to an ultra-violet light that hardens the emulsion everywhere that is not covered by black. The area under the hand-painted ink stays soft and water-soluble. The screen is then taken out of the frame, the mylar removed, and the painted area washed out with water. After the screen is dry, it is then carefully checked for dust or flaws with a magnifying glass before it goes to press. Inks: Some small ateliers specializing in hand-painted acetates (mylar) and traditional printmaking, also mix all of their inks from scratch using pigments, rather than using recipes from formula books to mix color. This stems from the belief that each artist requires a different palette of color to make up his/her own unique style of artwork and years of experience in mixing colors keeps the quality of the artwork exceptional. The color is mixed by the chromist, then proofed and adjusted by the printer to check that it has achieved the desired effect. Often, the color has to be adjusted three or four times to ensure its perfection in the consecutive order of colors planned. Printing: Once the color is mixed and proofed by the printer, each color is registered and pulled by hand from the press. The master printer works with an assistant who is in charge of quality control for each print as it is taken from the press. The impression is made by the pressure of a squeegee that pushes the ink through the open areas of the screen. The printer must constantly be aware of the viscosity of the ink, the tension of the screen and most importantly, the registration of each and every print throughout the edition. The value of a pure serigraph is understood when thought of in terms of registering by hand each color, usually more than 100 times at 300 pieces (prints) per edition. Curating: When the artist has approved the completion of his/her work in print, each piece is carefully inspected and curated to insure its perfection. Any print not meeting a standard of quality is pulled from the edition and destroyed, along with all of the mylars painted by the chromist, insuring a true limited edition. Once the artist signs and numbers each print, the edition is carefully wrapped and crated for distribution to galleries throughout the world.