I can’t help but fall in love when I see a screen printed poster. There’s magic in their hand crafted imperfections. The colours are brighter and more alive than on their bratty digital brothers. There’s real beauty in the way the ink seeks out the tiny creases in the paper, the flaws and misprints that make each artwork wonderfully unique. Digital print may now be big business when it comes to small leaflet runs but for me, screen is king when it comes to posters. I have an Olly Moss poster on my bedroom wall from the cult film ‘Rubber’ (A masterpiece about a killer tire no less). Olly Moss belongs to a new generation of poster designers who have rebelled against the generic PhotoShopped monstrosities that are commonplace in modern cinema advertising. Inspired by legends like Saul Bass, who we’ll be getting to soon, the ‘Rubber’ poster takes the mantra ‘less is more’ and rolls with it to produce a minimalist statement of bold intent. My partner hates it but that’s art, any response is good, be it adulation or despair.
One of my favourite artists is Saul Bass, the regular Hitchcock collaborator and designer behind the famous “Vertigo Poster”. With Mr. Hitchcock, Bass pushed what was expectable in movie art. As Hitchcock rebelled by daring to show the first ever on screen flushing toilet (plus a rather stabby shower scene), Saul Bass striped the movie poster down to simple, almost abstract shapes. His posters dared his audience to think, provoking not pandering to masses. Now the success of a big budget movie is judged on the billions made with some films considered a flop despite grossing near 500 million. This fear of failure encourages the studios to play it safe and create posters featuring little more than the photos of the expensive Hollywood Stars smiling out at us. It is often said that great art comes from restrictions, when the creator has to think of novel way to realise their creative vision despite his low budget.
For some eye catching wall art, I’d recommend checking out The Lost Fox. This Leeds based duo produce individually signed and numbered limited editions prints. Only the best make the cut when they’re 100% delighted with the finished poster. Printed with environmentally conscious water-based inks onto the finest quality British-made, FSC-accredited Colorplan board. My own personal favorite has got to be the cheeky Toucan print. A speculator, colourful character made up of simple geometric shapes.
Here’s how they describe the inspiration behind their designs: “Messing about in the great outdoors. Riding waves. Discovering new places. Stuff like this inspires us and that’s what our limited edition screen prints are – slices of inspiration shaped and interpreted by our love for contemporary design”.
Creative callbacks to this new wave of screen printers can be found in the products we sell in our shops. Whilst it may not be affordable to produce screen printed greeting cards on mass scale I have seen them on ‘Etsy’ and ‘Not on the High Street’; cards that are mini work of art just begging to be framed. (This is true of many cards, why not buy a range of art cards and have a few framed for a wonderful piece of home décor). The deconstructed artwork that was popularised by designers like David Carson is still seen in packaging especially when the design is required to appeal to a younger audience. Mimicry can be found in much modern design; You don’t have to search far to find the rough, almost misprinted hand pulled effect of using a traditional screen printing techniques on today’s gift boxes and signs.
Here at Wishes of Cudworth we’re famed for our hand screen-printed brown shopping bags. Produced in our kitchen with our cobbled together press, many a Sunday has been lost to printing them. We’ve yet to fully master the technique despite printing hundreds of bags but to us that just adds to their character and charm.
It’s reassuring to know there’s still a place in this digital world for more traditional arts. That these wonderful skills will die out. That people believe in hand crafted art and still find beauty in the individual, flawed, one off masterpieces. We’re not digital clones, we are wonderful, imperfect originals and so is our art.