Screen Printing in the Art World

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Most screen printing that you see in museums and galleries were made using the photo emulsion process.  Andy Warhol contributed greatly to screen printings popularity in the art world.  This art style quickly turned into Pop Art.  Screen printing was the best way to recreate large quantities of his art for mass production.  Pop Art was based off of popular modern culture and the mass media.  Warhol was supported by master screen printer, Michel Caza, in the 1960’s.  His most popular screen print was that of Marilyn Monroe in 1962.

Screen printings popularity has only gone up from there.  Screen printing began to serve as decoration and advertisement for many homes and businesses.  The images could be used and reused to achieve all kinds of different effects.  The color choices were vast and vibrant, and there was a wide range of subject matter available for introduction into the art world.  Screen printing led to other forms of graphic design such as posters and other kinds of garments.  New images and techniques were established and they were able to create strong and aggressive works on a different type of media.

Screen printing has proven to be a versatile choice, which is why a lot of artists began to embrace it.  You didn’t have to limit yourself to only working out of your studio, you could take your work home with you and achieve the same results.  Factory Additions, Andy Warhol’s print-publishing business, was born in 1967.  He created many screen prints of his favorite subjects, while experimenting with color and vibrancy, as well as collage effects.  He was able to produce some of the most memorable works of art using only the screen printing process.

There are a few independent screen printing artists in the Houston area that display their work for the public.  Screen printing is an art that is constantly evolving and can feature high end works of art, as well as the simple poster image or advertising logo.  Screen printing is customizable and many studios offer their services and provide the highest levels of customer service available.  Buy a t-shirt with your favorite logo or image, or buy a contemporary work of art to proudly display in your home or in the office.

Start-Up Screen Printing Materials

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Screen printing can be simple to do once you learn the ins and outs of the process and you gather all of the proper materials.  First things first, you will want to get a screen and a frame.  You can, more often than not, find these materials in your local arts and crafts store.  You will then need photo emulsion and sensitizer, as well as a 250 watt light bulb.  The emulsion solution is spread out over the material you are using and then it is cured by exposing it to the light from the bulb.  After you expose it, you will wash off the emulsion where the image is located.  You will also want to get latex gloves for this process, as well as a squeegee, and the ink you will want to use for your image.

Working in a darker work space will help the emulsion process.  The light will harden the solution and bind it to whatever fabric you are using.  Finding the right kind of ink to use while screen printing is an essential step to the process.  There are water-based inks that are used in dyes and pigments, and plastisol inks that contain almost no solvents at all.  For t-shirt printing, plastisol inks are highly recommended to achieve the best long-term and long lasting results.  Plastisol inks are also easy to manage and can be left on for long periods of time without clogging the mesh.  Prints made with plastisol, however, cannot be ironed.  As soon as the material heats back up, it melts again to its original state.

There are many step by step instruction manuals you can find online that walk you through each and every step of the process, while discussing any problems you may run into.  If it is a screen printing business, rather than a hobby, you are looking to start, then you must be willing to bend with the learning curve and spend the money on the high quality materials you will need.  The artwork and images you choose to use have the ability to make or break you.  You need to make sure that the image is good enough and you have to be willing to put in the time and labor that is involved with this process.

Houston offers a variety of different shops where you can purchase the materials you will need.  There are also businesses that offer classes for screen printing, so you can learn from a professional and get in all the practice you can before going off on your own printing adventures.