New Year, another try, another (happy) accident

screenprint on masonite panel

screenprint on masonite panel

Starting off the year with a Pink Siouxsie.  I think I said it on Facebook –“I haven’t been making any art lately, but I got this terrible urge to make some bootleg siouxsie sioux t-shirts, with her being REALLY BIG on ’em…”

Well, I haven’t gotten around to those shirts, but here’s this.  And I love this.  And this wouldn’t have happened if I listened to reason.

See, I had my films made for the shirt, essentially this image, but when I went to burn the screen, I found out that our screens aren’t healthy right now.  The screens have been coated & waiting to be used for months now, and our best guess is that they’ve sat too long and have gone bad.  It could be a number of things, but what it boils down to is that the screens don’t burn out properly.  I should be able to spray out the image with our good ol’ garden hose in around 3 minutes and have it –I burned two screens on separate occasions, and they only sprayed out by using our pressure washer, which is kinda like using a chainsaw to cut a piece of paper.  I lost a LOT of detail in the screen on the first one.  After telling my comrade that, “Yup, you’re right, the screens are effed up” and him agreeing, I came back the next day to try again.

Why?  If the screen isn’t going to burn properly, you’re not going to get what you’re after.  Why waste the time, the effort, the water?  –Well, there’s many reasons.  From my amateur angle, I still wasn’t 100% convinced that I couldn’t get a decent screen –maybe if i tried a different exposure time, and if that didn’t help, maybe if i gently scrubbed on the screen to get the washout started, maybe this, maybe that…

Well, that’s all a waste of time and effort if you already know it –If I had an extended history of dealing with screen failure problem-solving involving chemicals, films, exposure times, etc., maybe I’d know it was already completely hopeless, a waste of time –maybe I’d have the attitude that nothing good would come of this trying.

I already knew from the get-go that the 2nd screen wasn’t going to be perfect.  I was using this massive home-made screen I got from my friend Hill-Jacquard, so big it wouldn’t properly fit on the exposure table.  “well, that’ll probably be a problem, but so what.”  And, as predicted, the emulsion wasn’t coming out, even with some gentle scrubbing.  “eff it, lets just scrub the crap outta it.”  Then the pressure washer  –by the time I was done, it was twice as “bad” as the first screen, but as I looked at it, I was inspired.  I essentially “saw” the image you see up above.  Basically, paint a panel bright pink, then print both screens in complementary pinks over top, the distortions of the print working with each other and background.

I know some artists don’t believe in it, but I DO believe in “Happy Accidents” –sometimes those accidents don’t lead to a finished work, but they usually have the potential to at least teach me something.  I suppose when a professional screenprinter, wants an effed up print, would go thru the effort of photoshopping it effed up, then pore over the details of the effed up film and screen, to be sure it was “properly” effed up.  Like those “distress” fonts or brushes, just to make things look old, or effed up, or how my friend put it, “hipster”.  I just tried stuff, and the happy accident was that it inspired me.  Just think, if I listened to reason, and didn’t give it a try just for the hell of it, I wouldn’t have this.  I’m glad I’m hard of hearing.

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