Screen printing in a recognisable form has been around for a long time, supposedly dating as far as back as 960 CE – but not always with much popularity. It was only in the 1960s, with artists such as Andy Warhol and Michel Caza, that screen printing rose to prominence in North America, and eventually around the world. Since then it's formed an integral part of pop culture. It has also helped shape the textile and fashion industries. And now, almost 60 years later, screen printing is once again making noise – and lovers of art and decor are listening.
Jessica Doucha, an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Johannesburg, has produced some remarkable works. With painstaking detail, she weaves various forms of art together to create her prints. We caught up with Doucha to talk about the fine art of screen printing.
'All of my prints are photographic representations of existing objects that I made myself,' says Doucha. 'Pick-up Sticks' is based on larger-than-life objects that stand over 2m tall. Photograph courtesy of Jessica Doucha.
‘Just as each medium has different challenges and processes, so screen printing requires a very hands-on, physical involvement,' she tells us. ‘The act of screen printing is different to sculpting, drawing, painting, video or performance in the sense that one needs a dedicated studio space to produce prints efficiently and professionally.'
Doucha’s prints are sleek, refined and subtle. But don’t be fooled by the polished product. Screen printing is a laborious art form, which incorporates many traditional forms of fine-art production. ‘These could include photographic exposure techniques, colour mixing and using archival papers, which all add to the overall value of the piece,’ she explains. ‘The formulaic method results in the physical screen print mirroring the digital form. The beauty lies in witnessing the images being built through every layer of flat colour.’
'The Digging Stick' by Jessica Doucha was based on a bronze cast of the artist's hand, which was attached to the handle of a spade. 'The two-dimensional surface dictates a different sense perception,' she says, 'as perspectival depth is created through illusion.' Photograph courtesy of the artist.
The techniques involved in creating beautiful prints like Doucha’s are astounding. The result? A strikingly crisp piece of pop culture that looks modern yet classic. A testament to the fact that screen printing is here to stay and may just be the perfect addition to your home.
Doucha is one of several contemporary artists that will exhibit at the Wits Art Museum in a collaborative celebration of screen printing, One Colour at a Time: Contemporary Screenprints
. The exhibition opened on 27 June
and will run until 12 November 2017.
Jessica Doucha used the CMYK technique to create her prints, which uses cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). She separated the image into layers of CMYK, exposing four screens to each correlating colour. Photograph courtesy of the artist.