There is something about screen printing that gets me. Maybe it’s the countless hours I spent in my parent’s basement during high school and later college trying to make a business out of printing merch for local bands. The screen basked in blacklight developing an image upon it, the meticulous process of preparing the screen and constantly repairing cracks and peeling emulsion, the smell of the ink drying into cotton under the warm glow of the flash curer.
Call it nostalgic, call it old school. Screen printing is just cool. It’s an artform even if you didn’t create the piece of art you are printing. It’s like aligning Photoshop layers manually to make an image as you overlay four screens for four separate colors. It takes a special attention to detail, patience, and careful craftiness. That is why I am particularly impressed with The 5 Year Plan, a soft bound art book devised by Aaron Sinift, an artist from the D.C. area.
The 5 Year Plan honors the work of Mahatma Gandhi and is made of khadi cloth handspun by workers at a collective near Dehli (here is a video of the process from the book’s site). Each page is a silkscreen piece of art from the likes of Yoko Ono, Chris Martin, and other influential writers, artists, and musicians. Each of the limited edition printings is hand bound.
The method of printing is a bit different than the way I learned, but the concept is the same. Check out the video above to see the printing process.
What I enjoy most about the book (other than the silkscreening) is its collaborative nature. It showcases how the art book doesn’t have to be about the individual writer or artist. Each person can add their own page and make the book something entirely new and different. But yes, the screen printing definitely sets this one apart for me. It’s one thing to see all of this art portrayed on some glossy page, but to have it on a textured cloth with the ink impressed physically creating its own textures…I think I may have to bust out the printing press for another go. It would bring a great element to my own work.