Also known as silk-screening or serigraphy, silkscreen printing involves using a tightly-stretched mesh or screen (hence the name!).
The first step is to mount the silkscreens over your chosen canvas, with a separate screen for each colour. Once the screens or stencils are in place, artists roll, press, sponge or squeegee their ink or paint over the silkscreens to leave a negative design.
Silkscreens are believed to have originated in China as far back as 1000 years ago. The technique was introduced to Western Europe by Asia in the late 18th century, but was not widely used until silk mesh became easier to get hold of.
In the 20th century, pop artist Andy Warhol brought silkscreens to the forefront of contemporary art through his legendary Marilyn Monroe prints. Throughout this time, screenprinting techniques had been considered trade secrets and were kept confidential. Many regarded the art form with scepticism, as the reliance on a machine questioned the typical view of art creation as direct contact between the artist and medium.
It’s a painstaking process that can take days and even weeks. As it’s done by hand by a skilled craftsman, each piece is unique. The ink in silkscreen printing is also often thicker, resulting in more vibrant colours.
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