Recovering from an amazing party onboard the Minesweeper, I finally go the chance to put some words together and introduce you to the amazing world of the screen printers.
‘Cause if someone already know what I’m talking about, I will ask you to help me, as, from the outside, it’s very difficult understanding why people prefer printing using a screen and a squeegee.
A lot of passion and enthusiasm are involved, especially seeing the transformation and the way the colour is transferred to the paper or to the t-shirt, a lot of emotions are then involved when you’re firstly picturing the idea in your mind and then you see your hands creating the first draft.
In Italy it seems easier meeting screenprinting artists or labs, there are a lot of people fascinated by this artisanal technique. Among all of them, in Vicenza, we know Serimab, a laboratory opened by two young guys a few years back, aiming to create unique printed T-shirt, working with artists, music bands or groups.
“When I print a T-shirt, I’m not just thinking of satisfying the client’s needs, but I also think it’s our product and I want to be sure everything coming out from Serimab is perfect, and I’m 150% sure I’ve chosen the right materials, techniques, and approach. There’s a lot of specific experience involved in any T-shirt we print and I want to be sure it’s the perfect mix,” says Marco.
“I think people understand the quality of a T-shirt printed using this method, and the fact it’s a unique design printed on just a few pieces. I love what I do and we want to be very careful when we’re replying to customers and creating from scratch what they’re looking for.”
“In the next future we also want to work more with local artists, to print their works on paper, we’ve started this year and we see it as a big opportunity to connect with the local art scene” says Skaider Skat.
On the other side of Europe, there’s the Minesweeper, a screenprinting lab on a boat in one of the canals in South London. A former ham class minesweeper, an ex-navy wooden vessel constructed in 1954 it’s now the main headquarter of the Minesweeper, a collective working in designing and screen-printing, everything onboard. The ship is actually used as an art laboratory where artists collectively make artwork, provide artistic services, organize open workshops, stalls, and host artists in residence.
“The project started in 2006, in 2008 a fire destroyed the stern and now we’re rebuilding it. The collective is born in 2012 and even if it’s been very hard working and setting up the laboratory onboard, it’s very exciting working together and we’ve been also very happy to work with so many artists and collectives around Europe, for example, Le Cagibi, and Cane Morto. We’ve been running events with artists and bands onboard and we’re also organizing monthly exhibitions at the Birds Nest in Deptford, curating the Undercurrents gallery.
Illustre Feccia, one of the artists part of the collective, is sharing with us some thoughts on behalf of everyone. “My passion for craft and D.I.Y. lead me to screen-printing as a way of reproducing and sharing my designs. The limited run-size of the screen and lino-cut printing makes the products rare and precious. The reason for why we run the laboratory as a free workshop is to give access to everyone to an alternative way to make art and to share the “Knowledge“.
“I have joined the collective mainly because it is a “grass-roots” organisation close to the”outsider world”(terminology that reminds me of a book by A.Camus ),and also”Collective” is a radically alternative way to make art. And I love it!”
Two different points of view and experiences, both around screenprinting but very different in terms of approach. There’s not a winning one, This is Not Art aims to tell different stories, thinking that there are always opportunities and experiences from where people and artists can learn.
What I love about the Minesweeper is the friendly approach, even if the gentrification is pushing them away, they’re still working with other collectives around Europe to learn from each other, and collaborate.
For example on Saturday, the event was to celebrate the one-week residence by What’s Art, a multi-disciplinary collective from Lille, with the exhibition of the works done by artists onboard the Minesweeper. The collective is not really looking to make money, just enjoying art and collaborating creating something amazing, together.
What I love about the guys at Serimab is their commitment, the fact that they strive to create something unique, where people can actually understand the value of their products, from the concept to reality.
But of course, Vicenza is very different from London.
So, what I really want to suggest to everyone involved in screenprinting, after having lived the positive vibes at the Minesweeper and having met the guys working at Serimab, is to go around and collaborate with artists and collectives around Europe.
There are so many things multi-disciplinary festivals can teach us, that we just need to organize more and more opportunities for artists to meet and collaborate.
The same concept around what This is Not Art was born 5 years ago.