Famous Art that Involved Screen Printing
Screen printing has many faces. It has its practical effects when it comes to labeling luggage and clothing, and it has its promotional uses. However, first and foremost, screen printing has always been an artistic medium. Its origins in the Song Dynasty of China is proof enough. The delicate patterns, the soft images produced in lighter shades of the silk. This was what made Chinese silk a commodity during the Hellenistic Period. However, the Chinese were not the only ones to use screen printing as an artistic medium. They were just the first.
Since then, thousands of artists, both modern and in the past, have utilized the screen printing technique to express their own ideas and attitudes about their current worldview. Some are more famous than others. However, the works of art produced by these artists have left a profound impact on the way we express ourselves.
He is one of the more famous figures in the art world that created works with the use of screen printing techniques. Dubbed the “Father of Pop-Art” in the ’60s, Warhol was one of several main figureheads in the Late Modern and Early Contemporary Art Era. His body of work most certainly come from his background in advertising and commercial art. After picking up that he could blot ink on paper and attach the image to a silkscreen, he took to utilizing silkscreen printing to repeat the same image over and over on canvas.
His subject matter was often the most American iconography he could find at the time. Coca-Cola Bottles, Campbells Soup Cans, Celebrities from Hollywood, Civil Rights Activists, etc would be his go-to for repeated imagery. His work at the time was, at its core, a reflection of a present-day America. Today, it serves as both a time capsule of the 1960’s aesthetic and attitudes as well as an unironic appreciation of commercial and commonplace imagery.
Cortia Kent- Inspiration and Community
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, one woman organized what little she had into a screen printing studio for educating budding artists. She taught her screen printing techniques to many pupils, started her own business, met with influential artists like Alfred Hitchcock, and took part in activism within the span of 40 years. She was also a nun.
Her artistic expression was partially inspired by positivity in scripture. There was also inspiration from the aesthetic of the advertising of her local area. She taught her students that art-making was a positive process. That they should work diligently, but at the same time, take joy in what they are making. And to not be afraid to experiment. Many professionals and students took inspiration from her work from the ’40s to the early ’80s. While she might be considered underrated compared to artists like Andy Warhol, she contributed so much to screen printing in high art.
Mister Bingo – Civil Unrest in Today’s UK
This more current example is an artist that hails from London, England. His screen printing techniques have been introduced in museum galleries, and his pieces are commercially sold today on his website. His imagery in and of itself is understated. Especially when compared to the bolder color choices of Warhol and the chaotic spacing of Kent. However, his choice in bold language and direct political messaging is enough to garner attention from those who would take offense to those who support him.
His body of work was featured in an exhibition aptly named “Hate Mail” with the main message being anger. Ire at the people who are blissfully unaware of their current political situation, and rage at those who put England in its current political predicament of excessive censorship, Brexit, and its constant distraction from the desperate state of the world. It is a desperate cry for the world to wake up from its desperation. It is a bold message, though it will be a while yet before it is appreciated by many.
These artists, and far more are exploring the capacity of what screen printing can do for them. Some of them keep experimenting and try to push the limit of what the medium has to offer. Others keep to the same tried and true techniques and tweak the content or message instead. What they can all agree on is that screen printing is an avenue of expression, just as much as paint, film, or any other type of artistic medium. All it takes is ingenuity and passion. And I bet if all of them were brought in a room to talk about it, they would all agree.
Do you need someone to do your screen printing in Decatur, AL? Do you have a few questions about the process, or what would look good on your kid’s uniforms? Feel Free to Call Entrusted Tees!