I did this / PPP3

20:20 Print Exchange 2014

I can not believe how many things can go wrong for one project. With a deadline of 1 October to submit 25 prints of 20cm x 20cm size to the annual 20:20 Print Exchange coordinated by Hot Bed Press, I thought I’d be pretty safe to start it once I finished work on 10 September – little did I know then what I know now.

After trying to visit the Vernon Street printroom and finding it locked up, I waited patiently to get on to the e-studio to see their timetable for use and phoning in would have been pretty useless. And I waited, and I waited. Turns out the e-studio was having an upgrade and students weren’t allowed on to freshers week. When I finally got on it turns out it was shut until the end of September, which was very frustrating as I planned to use the letterpress machines as part of my dissertation’s creative practice.

On to Plan B I wondered about using the Blenheim Walk print rooms. Unfortunately given my other commitments there was no way I was going to have the time to get in when the shop was opened just to get the binder or paper needed. In addition I didn’t have a full day just to process a screen for printing (yes it really does take that long in our print rooms), or leaving any linocut prints on the racks for an adequate drying time (not to mention I’m not the best at linocutting). Besides, I needed help getting my prints ready for screen printing, which would have been difficult as all the IT technicians were set up the new IT suites and helping other services and courses move rooms.

On to Plan C, I wondered if there was anything clever I could do with photocopying? Then I remembered the low quality paper that’s used in the printers and that we aren’t allowed to use our own.

Plan D: professional level printing from our proper suite at uni. Nope! They weren’t plugged in and re calibrated yet following a summer expansion.

Plan E, a place I never thought I’d get, was to just use the plain old laser printer and print something, anything! I remembered the library printer had better quality paper than all the others. After some toing and froing as the library didn’t have the packages that I used to create the print, and the coloration needed changes as the depth and brightness was so different to the studio printer where I was testing it, I manage to get it to spit out 25 prints.

I can’t say that they are my finest work. I would have much preferred to have spent a week or two tinkering with letterpress instead of a couple of days of mad panic, but they’re done. I hope that the recipients like them as much as my entering to the print exchange in 2013.

I created the print in Adobe Illustrator to help strengthen my working knowledge of the software. I like the idea of using the statement ‘think before you print’ in a print exchange. The statement had tickled me since seeing a poster leftover from the former business occupiers of the space where last year’s 20:20 Print Exchange was hung in Wakefield. The also seemed to resonate with my situation in trying to get my prints together.

The choices after that were just from experimentation and hitting on something that aesthetically pleased me. When I tried this colour combination and the shadow I liked to 3D style and optical illusion. It seemed to cause I reaction when looking at it and reinforce the words.


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