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Iskra Screen Printing Collective Recap

With extremely fond memories I’ll be recapping my participation in a paper screen printing course designed and taught by Leo Listi of Iskra Print Collective.

First off, what is Iskra? It’s a “collective” of screen print artists. The majority of the “comrades” are employees of the advertising/design firm JDK. In order to join the collective one is required to partake in an exhaustive training – both to learn how to use the space and develop one’s screen printing technique. That’s what I did! There were months of classes and exercises that culminated in a gallery showing called “No Hands!”.

One of the earliest assignments we had was creating a screen printed poster without using any kind of digital artwork. I loved this one because I know the computer side of screen printing extremely well. This forced me to learn some of the basics and get my hands inky. It gave me a greater appreciation of the luxuries of digital art and also a desire to use non-digital techniques in the right situations.

The project below was made by applying blockout directly to the screen print mesh.

The first image in the slideshow has yellows, oranges, and reds. This spectrum of color was made with different inks in the screen itself (just one screen) using a process called “split fountain”.

A later project involved using screen printed halftones to get color variation. I used a photograph I took to create the final product below. Before clicking to the final two images, can you tell what the photograph is of? It’s very tricky.

Even with the original photo displayed it’s hard to tell what the image is depicting. It’s a spider hanging from his web at night. The flash lights him up and a bit of movement with a long exposure time makes him look like an extraterrestrial.

My absolute favorite part of the experience was meeting the other “students” and checking out each others creative work. As I mentioned, most of the other people involved were JDK employees and I was blown away by their creativity. The screen printing itself is something I was very comfortable with but the design side of the class, along with my fellow students and instructors, were a huge inspiration. Just reviewing these pictures gave me renewed inspiration to make art!

The first image below is an early internal showing of our projects. The art for all of these pieces was made using just a copy machine – no computers! One of the most funny moments of the entire class was when a fellow comrade earnestly asked what a Xerox machine was. The second image is the display wall closer to the gallery opening. Early renditions of the gallery promotion poster can be seen on the top row.

My final project for the gallery involved taking photographs of intriguing structures around Charlotte, VT and adapting them for screen printing using halftones.