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 design.
Other materials – including polyester mesh, nylon threads and even stainless steel – can be used in the process. Different types of mesh size will determine the outcome and look of the finished piece.
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 Art pioneers like Andy Warhol and James Francis Gill brought silkscreens to the forefront of contemporary art. Before 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.
Today, it is an important technique that is used by artists all over the world.
An artform in its own right, it is a painstaking process that is completed by highly-skilled craftsmen and can take months. As it’s done by hand, each piece is unique. After isolating the colour, the chromist hand-mixes the colour by sight to match the original – unlike giclée printing, which can be manipulated digitally. The ink in silkscreen printing is also often thicker, resulting in more vibrant colours.
Along with James Francis Gill, some of our other popular artists – including Bob Dylan, Simon Claridge and Billy Schenck – have used the silkscreen process to enhance their work.
For his new After Warhol: Uniques collection of original silkscreens, Paul Stephenson transformed Warhol's iconic 'Jackie' artwork, which was originally created in 1964. Watch him at work in our video below!
07/12/2018The bestselling men’s magazine GQ highlighted the collection, which explores the western genre. The silkscreen prints are available online and in galleries.
15/04/2019Counting Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Indiana amongst his peers, the notoriously-elusive artist has returned to the forefront of modern art with his stunning new collection of serigraphs.
30/08/2019Our specialist framing team was thrilled to get their hands on the first-ever silkscreen rendering of this classic image. Find out what made this edition so unique.
Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.
Join our mailing list for all the latest art news, lifestyle features & artist updates. We'll help kick-start your collection with £25 off your first purchase.*
*Terms and conditions apply.
© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2023. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.
Washington Green Retail Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration number is 726395. Credit provided subject to age and status. Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies V12 Finance