Press Print

fingerprintWhere it all began:
The initial idea for the Just Press Print exhibition was inspired some 17 years ago after I attended a print exhibition by a highly acclaimed American artist at a prestigious museum in the USA. The exhibition in question would also later resonate with my research (and teaching) activity around the collaborative studio production by promoting the act of making (that is often dispensed with in conventional exhibitions) through the presentation of proofing stages and matrix iterations.

It therefore appears to be very appropriate that the resulting Just Press Print exhibition should travel back to the country that led me to develop an iterative themed project in the first place. Similarly, the possibility to develop this format within a digital print context enables an audience to gain further insight about the trajectory of an idea and it’s making. The significance of revealing the contributing factors involved in creating a printed artwork provides an educational component for the exhibition, but the narrative can also be enlightening and surprising in offering insights into the true nature of creative endeavours. For example, if I were to say that seventeen years ago I was in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (whilst thinking I was in the Guggenheim) looking for a sculpture exhibition by Matthew Barney and then accidently wandered into a printmaking exhibition by Chuck Close (that I had no idea was on) offers a more accurate and confessional narrative (although somewhat embarrassing) as to how an idea can, in reality, develop.

Supporting material for Just Press Print
Supporting material for Just Press Print

Where we are now:
I think it goes without saying that I am extremely pleased that the Just Press Print exhibition will be traveling to the USA (next week), something that couldn’t have happened without the amazing people at MICA. The Maryland Institute College of Baltimore (with whom I have been collaborating on the touring show) will be the first venue for the exhibition. MICA has been incredibly supportive of the project from the initial proposal toward the development of the exhibition that will also be accompanied by a series of talks and workshops across their graphic arts programmes. I am therefore pleased to have been invited to MICA in February 2016 to work with thier graphic arts programmes on a weeklong residency that will coincide with the exhibition. Proceeding venues will include – Arizona State, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; Dept of Art & Art History, University of Utah; University of Wisconsin-Madison Art Department, School of Education; University of Texas at Austin.

The exhibition will also include a student exchange show between MICA and UWE students working across graphic arts disciplines such as Printmaking, Illustration and Graphic Design. The proposed student exchange brief is still under discussion but I can say that work selected/invited for the exchange will ask students to respond to a technologically informed scene (from a graphic art perspective) or perhaps to quote the writer, speaker, futurist and design instructor Bruce Sterling,

‘There truly are many forms of imagery nowadays that are modern, and unique to this period. We’re surrounded by systems, devices and machines generating heaps of raw graphic novelty’.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.08.05 copy
Example page for Working Proof: featuring Just Press Print pubication

I am also pleased to say that there will be a publication that will coincide with the exhibition; something that I hope will be the first of many. The publication entitled ‘Working Proof’ is something that I have previously discussed and its development is therefore seen as means to continue this line of inquiry within the graphic arts. However the first publication will support and catalogue the Just Press Print Exhibition and will subsequently be entitled ‘Working Proof: Featuring Just Press Print’. The first edition can be seen as an extension of my PhD research (the collaborative production and realisation of digital prints with artists) whereas the content will be generated from (more recent) collaborative projects undertaken through CFPR Editions – with artists such as; Stanley Donwood, Gordon Cheung, Andrew Super, Richard Falle and Carolyn Bunt to name but a few. Further insights will draw upon curated exhibitions at Northern Print, Impact 8 and Multiplied alongside funded research with REACT and published studio conversations with Cecilia Mandrile, Andrew Super in g&e and Prof Paul Coldwell in Porto Arte.

g&e publication
Porto Arte publication

The production of the publication will be produced as a newspaper (in keeping with the supporting printed material aesthetic in the exhibition) and whilst I continue to write, photograph and gather content – graphic designer Verity Lewis will be designing the layout and typography.

In case you want to know more about the JPP exhibition:
Just Press Print is an international exposition that highlights artistic planning, collaborative practices, and the
broadening possibilities for the graphic artefact in the digital age. Just Press Print includes published prints produced from collaborations between ten carefully selected artists and myself at the Centre for Fine Print Research. Prints are accompanied by sketches, correspondence, and draft editions that demonstrate the importance of the artist-master printer relationship, the iterations necessary to achieve the final print, and the archiving and recording process.

Supporting material for Just Press Print (Exhibited at Impact 8 Conference)
Supporting material for Just Press Print

The exhibition also explores the evolution of digital technology and its potential to influence established definitions and practices within the field of printmaking. The premise and title for the show was developed over the last three years – although the type of inquiry can be seen as an extension from my PhD (that centred upon practice led methods with artists producing inkjet prints). In this instance I wanted to begin exploring the broader production and realisation possibilities for the digitally mediated print and the resulting artefacts context within the contemporary printmaking. In early 2012 I submitted this idea as a proposal for an early career research grant (Funded by UWE) that was then funded allowing me to instigate a collaborative digital print studio model and develop a publishing studio within the University. The publishing studio is still running today and is situated within the Centre for Fine Print Research – and aptly named CFPR Editions. A large percentage of my projects with artists, research activity and art practice is informed by the digitally mediated print and subsequently the work produced through CFPR Editions has been instrumental in a large portion of the work in the Just Press Print Exhibition.


Supporting imagery for Just Press Print

The aim of the exhibition and residency is to engage the public with the possibilities of print in the digital age. By documenting in detail the physical working practices of the artists with whom I have collaborated the exhibition dispenses with conventional exhibition formats, displaying 2D and 3D digital prints along with sketches, notes, email correspondence and test proofs (bundled in bulldog clips that hang informally from the walls), thereby focusing on the evidence of the creative process rather than the often emphasized resulting outcome. The curatorial approach (through print editioning narratives) aims to increase understanding of digital print practices for artists, academics, students, teachers and the general public… so hopefully a wide range of people will come.

dis_oneMore to follow as we get closer to the MICA exhibtion in December 2015


Posting on Post-digital Printmaking

Print is Dead Series
Print is Dead Series

Recently been invited to exhibit my on going ‘Print is Dead series‘ (something I have written / talked about but never exhibited) in Poland at the Wrocław Academies Centre for Applied Arts and Innovation. The exhibition is in conjunction with the recent International Print Triennial in Krakow 2015  and will coincide with a symposium exploring the redefinition of the print matrix – so the exhibition title goes like this, ‘Post-digital printmaking: Redefinition of the concept of matrix’. The event has been curated by Prof. Aleksandra Janik from the Wrocław Academy and the exhibition is on show from 02/11/2015 – 19/11/2015.

Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of the Concept of Matrix | NEON Gallery, Wroclaw

Screen shot 2016-02-28 at 15.05.06postdigital-plakat300The exhibition presents examples of printmaking works as well as the documentation of the creative process including, films and texts of artists who use formal and aesthetic values associated with printmaking – although in a less conventional manner. Artists have been selected for their approaches to printmaking and ‘uncharacteristic’ thinking about the print matrix – by using alternative materials and tools that enter into a dialogue with the third dimension and the public space. The exhibition will therefore present works that challenge print related classifications; the disciplines associated ephemera and performative actions that often feature within the printmaking medium. The curatorial foundation might be best described as a creative two-stage thinking: matrix-print.


Rewrites for Revisting.

Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, 2012
Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, 2012

Recent news for the news section. Had an article accepted by the journal Print Quarterly. I have been writing and rewriting this text for probably over two years, so pretty pleased for it to have found a home / house – publishing house. The narrative, title, word count and emphasis of the text has changed on numerous occasions but I believe we are nearly there, with just some final edits in December 2015.
The revisiting of the text has predominantly been to meet the publication interests of different publishers – a normal process that one can go through when looking to publish your words through somebody else’s publishing company. However, I couldn’t help but refer to this rewriting / reworking / revisiting process in the final title of the article that discusses the late artist Richard Hamilton‘s (1922 – 2011) revisiting of an artwork. The article is called, ‘Revisiting Richard Hamilton’s Typo-Topography of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass’ and just to clarify, I don’t think the text is an artwork. Hamilton and I revisited for different reasons although the text will always be a reminder of the revisiting process.  That’s the end of this bit of news.

Colourstory Collaboration Continued…

a_appThe continued collaboration with the Colourstory project has become possible after a second successful bid with REACT – through their Alumni Scheme. This time around the proposal will look to consolidate the project activity and foster further narrative based experiences that bolster the impact potential of the product. The academic collaboration includes myself with the added bonus of Mr Phil O’Shaughnessy (Program Leader BA Interior Design at UWE). Collectively the academic partnership will provide both Art & Design academic expertise, further creative contributions, collate & evidence project activities, develop teaching material and present project findings on an international stage.

In this instance O’Shaughnessy will add to the creative contribution by enabling Colourstory to realize it’s activities from an interior design approach. The process of visually replicating and simplifying predominant colours from imagery has the potential of becoming an influential tool in the analysis of both live and static environments, facilitating customised artifacts to suit.

I will address the impact component by collating, generating and presenting project information toward an impact document. This activity would elucidate upon the development of Colourstory, explore a range of narrative based approaches for a case study and contribute to a REACT steering group on Impact statements.

I have also included the Colourstory project as part of a touring exhibition proposal entitled ‘Just Press Print’ that promotes the physicality of digital endeavours in the field of printmaking. The proposal is part of an exhibition that would tour the USA between 2016 – 18 (open to academic, student and general public audience). The exhibition would include lectures / workshops and be used to initiate a new publication to be produced through Impact Press – entitled Working Proof. The publication will showcase Colourstory as a fine art based project that traverses disciplines and broadened the scope for crafting printed products in the digital age.

Similarly within an educational context both O’Shaughnessy and I will be piloting Colourstory as a teaching component in 2015. For example earlier this year I introduced the project (and its founder) to BA Illustration as a means to consider the broadening possibilities of story telling and narrative forms in the digital age. For Interior Design O’Shaughnessy intends to facilitate studio workshops that analyse light, materials and FF&E solutions for both existing and proposed spatial solutions. More over the Colourstory app (as a studio tool) would be applied to the student’s material investigation, site surveillance, and client profiling as well as colour theory – resulting in the composition of technologically informed colour palettes. More to follow in the coming months.


Hell Yeah!

hell lane
Hell Lane, Stanley Donwood, Drawing

Looks like we will be editioning another black laser engraving with the artist Stan Donwood in August 2015. When I say black I mean black paper, not a black laser – that would be pretty cool though. The laser process that I’m referring too begins with the scanning of a drawn image that is then translated into tonal values, where each value corresponds to different levels of laser intensity. Actually I’m gonna stop this tech talk now and point you over here – tech description at the bottom of the article.

Feb Holloway
February Holloway, Stan Donwood, Laser Engraving in Black Somerset

Donwood’s previous laser engraved drawing in black somerset paper entitled February Holloway has now sold out, so for anyone that missed the opportunity to purchase one (from a small edition of 6) you may get another chance… to buy something similar. The release of this up and coming edition (entitled Hell Lane) will co-inside with CFPR Editions attendance at the Contemporary Art and Editions Fair Multiplied this October… that’s 2015.

Special note:
Word in the paper making world suggests that the black somerset velvet paper (that we use for this edition) will be discontinued shortly. Thankfully we have some in stock but it maybe our last foray for this particular production method – making this edition even more rare.

Chasing Petrol Stations

How an edition begins, C. Bunt & P. Laidler (email correspondence) 2015
Work in Progess, Carolyn Bunt






A sneak preview of the next Carolyn Bunt petrol station to be developed and editioned as part of Carolyn’s on going dystopian series with CFPR Editions. The recent image was snapped in Lanzarotte adding to previous exotic destinations for capturing her source image, e.g. Argentina, Russia, Reykjavik and… Gloucester.

The development of Carolyn’s Station to Station (Once there were mountains) 2013 image below (photographed in Reykjavik) gives an indication of her subtractive digital editing process, seen here from left to right. Updates over the next few months.

development phases for Station to Station (Once there were mountains) by Carolyn Bunt

Working Proof

Working Proof page
Working Proof page

The proof of working or working proof! –

Over the next few weeks / months I intend to review some of my past, current and future print related projects by producing what maybe best described as both a beginning and summary publication. In regard to the latter, the publication will consolidate some of my research (collaborative activities, art practice and writing) that can often become separate endeavors when one is wearing many hats! I also envisage that the publication will function as a piece of publicity material for work produced at the CFPR. More importantly (and as a beginning) the content will provide a baseline for facilitating new and future dialogues with the graphic arts and printmaking communities. Oh yeah its gonna be called Working Proof, I think!

Full introductory text PDF can be viewed here: Working Proof

The foundations for the publication can be seen as an extension of my PhD research, whereas the content will be generated from (more recent) collaborative projects undertaken through CFPR Editions – with artists such as; Stanley DonwoodGordon CheungAndrew SuperCecilia MandrileRichard Falle and Carolyn Bunt to name but a few. Further insights will draw upon curated exhibitions at Northern PrintImpact 8 and Multiplied alongside funded research with REACT and published studio conversations with Cecilia MandrileAndrew Super in g&e and Prof Paul Coldwell in Porto Arte. If this sounds of interest you can find related posts and project updates through my twitter account.

Fairing Well Redux:

Fairing well: Redux: Pu(bli)shing for Profit

Publisher: Printeresting
Co-authored: Andrew Super and Paul Laidler


Continuing on the last installment’s theme of folk emerging from the Multiplied Art Fair at Christie’s (read more here), we’ll turn our sights away from the students and not-for-profits, and towards the ‘may-or-may-not-have-gone-to-school-onces’ and ‘yeah-we’d-really-like-to-turn-a-profits’. This means talking to publishers that have been around a little while, but might still be coming into their own, especially in the London scene. To do that we took a brisk walk out of Room 7 and straight into the gates of Rooms 1 and 5. We had the good fortune to speak with Ulrich Kühle and Sarah Dudley from Keystone Editions in Berlin, and James Pidcock from Grey Area Multiples in Paris. They’ve been kind enough to not only share some of their insights, but also some of their imagery – all images are courtesy of the respective artists, Grey Area, Paris, and Keystone Editions, Berlin.

Representing flip sides of the publishing presence coin at Multiplied, Grey Area has been an annual presence while Keystone are the new kids in the hall. Figuring out how to make a living by making work is one thing, but figuring out how to make a living investing in the production of the work of others and moving it in a way that allows you to survive is a whole other kettle of fish. So this instalment is going to focus on the business end of publishing in regards to the fair, and the decisions that have to be made about whose work the publishers are bringing to jolly ol’ London town.

The biggest decision about any party, obviously, is what to wear – in this case what the walls of the stand should be wearing. For both publishers, the answer was a mix of old and new, slightly safer along with a bit of a gamble. Grey Area presented some previously well received work from Matt Calderwood, alongside some insanely meticulous pigment prints from an up and coming Barcelona based artist who goes by O.W.P., just opposite some of Guy Allott’s enigmatic and melancholic aliens and robots.

Argos, courtesy O.W.P. and Grey Area, Paris.
Alien III, courtesy Guy Allott and Grey Area, Paris.

The printed matter ranged from traditional woodblock prints to laser cut wooden crests cum spaceships, but it thematically meshed together through a synthesis of wonder, scepticism, and ever-so-slight cynicism. In response to the similar yet varied display, James said, “For me I don’t see the difference, if it’s good I’ll show it…with one proviso, I only work with nice people.” While there were some definite stylistic similarities between the works presented, it was quite clear that the ultimate association was on the merit of the artists themselves and their working relationship with Grey Area.

Echoing the visual dissimilarities between the works was James’ display of them. Take a quick walk around Multiplied and you’ll generally see stalls whose display falls into one of three categories: jam packed with everything they could possibly put up without the wall falling down, so exceptionally minimal that the stall’s existence itself begins to feel like performance art piece, or somewhere in the middle where the display is a pure extension of the work and the publisher’s connection to and love for it. The Grey Area stall certainly falls into the latter. Emphasizing the deliberate design of the placement, James pointed out that the conceptual links between most of the works aide in figuring out what to put where, but ultimately he plans the space “quite carefully based upon which new works are on the horizon, some gallery classics, and what is realistic” for the given format.

Ulrich and Sarah from Keystone Editions, Berlin

Presented as a counter in almost every way to Grey Area are first time Multipliers at Keystone Editions. Keystone is different in both form and function as a publisher, but with an end goal that is virtually identical – to produce work that they are fully vested in. Both Sarah and Ulrich are Tamarind trained master lithographers who have pulled prints all over the globe. Focusing exclusively on lithography (they’ve got one bad ass press, but haven’t yet purchased the rollers that will allow it to pull double duty for etching as well) they decided to finally go into business for themselves and started off working on a contract basis for various artists and entities in and around Berlin. They quickly turned to publishing as a means to bring more excitement into their studio, and to push the boundaries of print in Germany. Not exactly the lightest of claims, Sarah explained that, “in Germany, a lot of the printing is more traditional, which is fine because that’s where a lot of it started, and so there was room for us to build a bit of a niche. Especially in Berlin, by focusing on unusual ways of making lithographs, and being open to artists that were open to trying something that hadn’t been done before.” One series of prints that is wholeheartedly indicative of this pursuit are some visually raucous, yet ethereal, one color lithographs by Monika Goetz. Looking at the jagged and explosive quality of the ink on the paper it’s an easy jump to realize what the prints are of – fire, in some form – but not how they came to be – by burning massive birthday sparklers directly onto photo-litho plates.

The latest work to come from Keystone was also on display, and was a perfect example of what Ulrich and Sarah set out to do – make prints they were proud of, and allow artists to work in a way they probably weren’t accustomed to. Their collaboration with Haleh Redjaian was presented as a series of prints deceptive in their simplicity (they are comprised almost entirely of patterns of rectangles and lines in straightforward arrangements), but intriguing in their depth. Printed specifically to be some of the main work presented at Multiplied, these prints were Haleh’s first lithographs.

Having never made prints in a professional context would seem like an incredible handicap, but it’s a model that is promoted by Keystone. Ulrich clarified this by pointing out that they (he and Sarah) “do all the technical stuff… [and we] try to keep the artist…out of the production of it.” That may sound harsh, but let’s face it, the term is ‘master printer’ for a reason and less things go haywire when artists are free to be creative without having to worry about technical things.

Taking a detour back to the impetus for our Multiplied conversations, we spoke with both publishers at length about how they chose which emerging artists to bring to the fair, and their responses were remarkably similar. There were the obvious prints that made both fiscal and visual sense, with Calderwood’s work at Grey Area and some William Kentridge prints produced during Sarah and Ulrich’s time in South Africa for Keystone. But facts are facts, and full disclosure means that publishers go to fairs to primarily do a certain thing (spoiler alert – that thing is making money selling work). So why would they take the giant financial risk of bringing along something by someone who isn’t a somebody, or work that hasn’t proved profitable yet? It turns out there’s a couple of reasons. First, it works wonders for the artists themselves. Speaking to this point, James said that it’s “a pleasure to be able to pay a young artist at the end of it all, as just a small sale can be a real boost for an emerging artist. But even if it is not a question of sales, presenting new work to a large number of people over a weekend is clearly key.” Keystone not only agrees on this point, but drives it home by taking it a step further. When asked about Haleh’s response to having her work exhibited at the fair, Sarah recalled that “she was delighted…she was thrilled that we got these done in time so that we could take them to the fair…which was the plan from the beginning. When we invited her, we told her that we would love to launch these at the fair.”

Haleh’s excitement is both expected and warranted, because when it comes down to it there’s something particularly cool about saying that your work has been shown at Christie’s. Christie’s is a big name brand, and being directly associated with big name brands is almost always a good thing. Even if it’s just a morale booster, being able to walk through a space and see your work hanging on the wall a short distance from the likes of Robert Blake, Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn…well, that’s a pick me up to say the least. For their part, Christie’s seems to enjoy helping propagate this feeling by encouraging publishers to bring work from their fresh faces and allow the fair to emulate the democratic nature of the multiple itself. The moral of the story – be good, make good, do good, show good. And then, hopefully, earn good.

We’ve allowed for a bit of time to elapse, and it looks like that’s exactly how things have shaped up since the conclusion of the fair. James at Grey Area has been working in earnest prepping to exhibit new Guy Allot woodcuts and paintings at the London Art Fair in just a few weeks. And as for O.W.P. and the first time exposure of Multiplied? Well, it turns out that being fresh faced can be a good thing – that translates into two new commissions from people who had never seen the artist’s work previously. The results of the fair were equally as impressive, albeit distinct, for Sarah and Ulrich at Keystone Editions. Ulrich pointed out that they went to Christie’s not only to sell work, but also to advertise the services of the workshop. Judging by the amount of new projects that are showing up on the Keystone site, the advertisement definitely worked. Here’s hoping that all continues to fare well into 2015!

Andrew and Paul would like to thank James, Ulrich, and Sarah for taking the time to assist in the creation of this article. They’re awesome people doing great work – thank you!

Robot IX, courtesy Guy Allott and Grey Area, Paris.
Jelly Net, courtesy O.W.P. and Grey Area, Paris.

Nostalgic Returns

Stanley Donwood, Else, 2014, Pigmented Inkjet
Stanley Donwood, Else, 2014, Pigmented Inkjet

Recently had the pleasure of publishing a third fine art print edition with the artist Stanley Donwood. On this occasion I was interested in returning to our digital edition roots in inkjet printing – where it all began! After discussing this nostalgic trip Donwood decided that it would be in keeping for him to do the same. More over the artist had recently cleared out one of his studio’s, where he had uncovered  an archive of preparatory work on the OK Computer Album cover – for the British Band Radiohead. Needless to say it seemed fitting that we would edition one of Stan’s early digital collage’s for our next CFPR Editions print.

Full Print edition details below:

YEAR: 2014
IMAGE DIMENSIONS: W 50 cm x H 66.5 cm
MEDIUM: Pigmented Inkjet Print
SUBSTRATE: Somerset Velvet Enhanced
PRICE: £155

Oh yeah if you are interested in purchasing one then you can do so here

Stanley Donwood
Stanley Donwood

Master’s of the Printverse

Ben Rowe, Batteries not included, MDF
Ben Rowe, Batteries not included, MDF Sculpture
Artist Ben Rowe

Collaborative Print Studio Project:

On numerous occasions I have witnessed academics, artists, commentators and students make links between new print technologies and Science Fiction. Whether or not this is a light hearted connection it is undoubtedly a reoccurring phenomenon for example; Sci Fi and Print from Printeresting, Sci Fi inspired Workshops at MIT, RISD & Brown and Workshop 4 at VCU Qatar. I have tentatively explored similar themes in my own work but have always wanted to broaden this connection beyond my own thinking / making. More recently these sentiments have begun to take shape as part of a CFPR Editions collaborative print studio production, after a few conversation with Sci-Fi inspired artist Ben Rowe . I am therefore pleased to say that we have undertaken a collaborative project with a view to turning one of Rowe’s remarkably detailed sculptures into a limited print edition.

Ben Rowe describes the process behind his work, in part, as a ‘morphing of the digital world into a physical object,’ the intrigue and interest in the collaboration lies in the reimagining of the reversal of that process. In this instance the object is digitally captured before being rendered back into the physical as an analogue print edition. After visiting Ben in his Spike Island studio (studio 43) and discussing ideas in the following weeks we decided that the sculpture titled Batteries Not Included would be the first work to be editioned as a relief print.

In this instance the print project is the epitome of a collaborative studio endeavor when considering all of the contributors.

Artist: Ben Rowe
Project Initiator: Paul Laidler
Photographic Capture: Andrew Super
Digital File Preperation: Richard Falle
Flexo Plate Production: John McNaught
Relief Printing: Andrew Super

CFPR Editions' Paul Laidler & Andrew Super, capture Ben Rowe's sculpture
CFPR Editions’ Paul Laidler & Andrew Super, capture Ben Rowe’s sculpture
CFPR Editions' Paul Laidler & Andrew Super, capture Ben Rowe's sculpture
CFPR Editions’ Paul Laidler & Andrew Super, capture Ben Rowe’s sculpture
Andrew Super embossing Ben Rowe Print
Flexo plate
Ben Rowe, Batteries Not Included, 2014, Relief Print
Ben Rowe, Batteries Not Included, 2014, Relief Print

Recent interview by Coats & Scarry on Rowe’s work here