Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You Are Here: The Making of an ARTCRANK Print

screen printed design for ARTCRANK by Tara Zanzig

March 11th of this year, I received notice that I was selected to design a print for ARTCRANK, Chicago. ARTCRANK is a really fun show, and it was even more exciting that I was to be among some of our screen printing best. 


At the time, I was settling into a groove with a new body of work. Printing a lot of onesies and twosies on canvas or vinyl. Large scale. Only super bright colors or black and white. I had only 2 edition style print runs to speak of from the previous six months. 

color sampling print, subject FEW Distillery

donated poster design and print for Windy City Rocks
Rock For Kids Benefit @ The Empty Bottle
Both of these editions were printed using index color separations with up to 8 screens each. Although I’m immersed in screen printing all day, every day at Sharprint, I’d only recently gotten back behind the squeegee, so these prints were labor intensive with a lot of room for error. 

Print Approach & Technique
I approached the print for ARTCRANK differently than my most recent editions while remaining true to the current body of work. I wanted to design at the high end of my technical knowledge base while accommodating the lower end of my printing skill set.

If there’s one thing I won’t compromise, it’s tight registration. As much as a hairline of space between colors absolutely ruins it for me. Since I’d not been able to get the perfection I wanted with registration, I decided to design something that didn’t rely on tight registration.

While I made some things easier, I also set up a challenge for myself. I decided to use 55 line halftone dots instead of the tiny diamond shaped specks that form the bitmap composition evident in index separations. A challenge, indeed. I pulled back on my separation file 3 times before I was able to get prints that didn’t gain and fill in areas darker than 50%. Once I was able to maintain good detail in the dark areas, I was struggling to keep the detail in the lights from drying out. Long story short, I printed a lot of these to get an edition of 30.

Design Concept
Once I’d realized some guidelines for what I wanted to print, the design came together really easily. I love it when this happens.

screen print order 1 of 5

screen print order 2 of 5

screen print order 3 of 5

When I look at the finished print, it brings back how I felt while making it. I remember expecting an early spring, but it was still really wintery and cold outside. I felt the confinement I do at the end of each winter. This came out in the small, square print with dark edges that keep the viewer inside. However, I can see the promise of spring too. There’s bright splashes of color breaking out of the grey. The cruiser bike is out. And BBQ beers. 

final print | screen print edition of 30

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