Monthly Archives: April 2015

Independent Label Market: Bristol

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East London Printmakers will be exhibiting alongside some fantastic labels next weekend at The Independent Label Market in Bristol.

The market will take place in the covered Glass Arcade at St. Nicholas Market, a bustling Georgian arcade offering a vibrant mix of independent shops and food stalls. This market with feature the cream of Bristol’s independent label scene along with some favourites and regulars from elsewhere in the UK.

We’re so excited to have the opportunity to take our artists work to a different part of the UK.

Bristol here we come!

Sunday 3rd May
11am – 5pm
The Independent Label Market
The Glass Arcade,
St Nicholas Market
BS1 1JQ

If you missed us at the market in Old Spitalfields back in March, click here to see what we had on offer.

Oscar Eaton Artist Talk at East London Printmakers

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Last month, Oscar Eaton returned to East London Printmakers to talk about his most recent projects. He discussed his work and current projects, his residency at ELP and his first solo exhibition.

Oscar brought with him the majority of the prints from this most recent project, most of which were printed here at ELP during his three-month residency at the studio. The project focuses on four great expeditions of the twentieth century; Scott’s 1910–12 Terra Nova South Pole Expedition, Shackleton’s 1914–17 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition and the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.

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During his time at Newcastle University Oscar stumbled across ‘The Great White Silence’, a DVD of Scott’s South Pole expedition which was restored and released by the BFI in 2011. On this expedition the team were joined by official photographer and cameraman, Herbert Ponting (pictured below). Ponting’s footage of the expedition depicts the stark, icy landscape, the journey aboard the Terra Nova, day to day life in the camp, wildlife and the challenges the crew faced during the expedition.

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On the journey, Ponting lugged all the photographic equipment with him. Initially, a pre World War 1 tank was used to carry all the equipment, but it soon broke down and the crew were forced to resort back to using ponies. Once at Cape Evans, Ross Island, Ponting helped set up camp which included a tiny photographic darkroom!

Today, Ponting’s photographs of the expedition are infamous. Along with the photographs, he was one of the first men to use a portable movie camera in Antarctica. After the expedition’s tragic outcome, Ponting dedicated his life to producing a film with the footage he captured to ensure the expedition’s heroism was not forgotten.
In watching the film, Oscar felt the tonal quality of the imagery lent itself to etching. Rather than using Ponting’s photographs, Oscar made his own film stills from the original footage.

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Whilst at University, Oscar signed up to the Erasmus Scheme and ended up going to Marmara University in Istanbul where he studied etching. Here, he began working on a series of etchings based on Ponting’s film footage. He used etching in an attempt to portray the trails of their journey, as well as the beauty of the landscape.

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After graduating in 2013, Oscar moved back to London looking to continue printmaking, he found ELP’s open access facilities and continued to develop his etching skills. In June 2014, he was awarded a residency at ELP, giving him the perfect opportunity to dedicate his time to the project. In late October 2014, Oscar started spending as much of his time as he could at the studio, dedicating the first month or so to really understanding the studio; getting to grips with the equipment and the potential of etching as a printing medium.
He spoke of the value of working in a communal studio; experimenting with different printing techniques, being able to learn from other artists, discussing your work and technical problems that all printmakers have to overcome. He spent a lot of time experimenting with a number of etching techniques in order to achieve different tonal qualities. He gradually learnt how he could use etching to sympathetically reflect Ponting’s film footage.

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During the residency, Oscar’s project extended to other expeditions and continued to address man’s obsession with the exploration of geographical frontiers and his physical connection with nature in such extremes.
He searched the Royal Geographical Society archives, where they have Herbert Ponting’s original photographs of Scott’s expedition. The archives also hold a wonderful collection of photographs of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition to the South Pole. In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and his crew set sail on Endurance with the aim to cross the Antarctic continent. By January 1915, the boat was caught in an ice-drift and sank that November. It turned into a rescue mission in which Shackleton and his five-man team rowed to South Georgia, making several attempts to rescue his remaining crew from Elephant Island before they were finally rescued in August 1916.
Oscar made several etchings using these photographs alongside his work on Scott’s expedition.

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[Etching of the remains of boat used to construct a watch tower, above.]

Oscar’s research then turned to the British Mount Everest expedition in 1924, featuring the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine. He came across the film ‘The Epic of Everest’ by Captain John Noel, which depicts the expedition, and decided to use stills from the film to produce his own etchings. The film features fantastic imagery from the expedition, including shots taken through a telescope; the furthest distance ever filmed at the time.

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Oscar then went on to produce a series about the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969.

The etchings Oscar produced for this series incorporate the use of aquatint and sugar lift; techniques used to create areas of tone. He continued to experiment with these methods until his eureka moment came after he visited Norman Ackroyd’s studio in Bermondsey last year. He was so keen to learn about how Norman achieved such crisp and even tone with sugar lift, that Norman sat Oscar down in front of an entire crowd of people during an Open Studio and demonstrated there and then. It was inspiring for Oscar to see what could be achieved using this technique. From that point up until the end of his residency, Oscar refined his technique and developed some truly beautiful etchings. It was worth those few minutes of embarrassment after all!

 

Last week Oscar held his first solo exhibition, ‘In-Situ’, at the 71a Gallery in Shoreditch. It showcased the etchings he produced during his residency at ELP, and aimed to portray the firm connection between man and nature. The exhibition looked fantastic, it was such a great opportunity and to see the whole collection of works together in one space was really impressive.

Part of our Artist Talk Series 2015. Our next talk will be with the formidable Heretic Studio on May 26th at East London Printmakers.

 

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The Cribs Print Story by Nick Scott

Three weeks ago, The Cribs released their sixth album ‘For All My Sisters’. The artwork was designed by ELP keyholder Nick Scott. Here he talks about the process behind the artwork and gives us an insight into his practice as a designer and printmaker.

 

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After working together for the past decade, The Cribs and I have finally created a record sleeve using screenprints. When we first collaborated in 2005, I had just graduated from Leeds Met having completed a BA in Graphic Arts & Design. I had specialised in screenprint and I was making art & posters for clubs & gigs I was putting on; this is where we met. In hindsight it’s amazing it’s taken this long to do this.

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I set myself a simple rule when working on this project; I wanted the work to have a physicality, a weight, which meant where possible, the artwork should be produced by hand. I printed everything in East London Printmakers’ studio in Hackney, a studio I have used since moving to London in 2008.

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Digital manipulation of imagery using photoshop is still at the foundation of the work, but I also used prisms & mirrors where possible to make the source material before producing the screenprints. This was a process that evolved from two strands of thought. Initially the band and I were discussing water as a start point for the artwork and I was considering distorting imagery with water. Then, Louise Mason – a friend and talented art director at DIY magazine – introduced me to shooting through prisms. This was a perfect fit for my other ambition for the sleeve, which was to make this informed by the graphic playfulness of New Wave New York.

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One major difference of producing all the elements by hand compared to digital is the finality of it. If I want a colour to behave in a certain manner, I can’t just go in and fix it (although I can tweak it in post), its on the paper, it’s not going anywhere. So to make sure I don’t get halfway through and find I’ve messed it all up, I spend time mixing and testing the colours I’m going to use. This is all part of my set up process.

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Being organised is really important when printing by hand. I was going to need to print close to 20 different images, all of which were between nine and four colours. As the process requires me to pull each colour individually by hand, this means I need to be really organised. These (above) are the positives which would go on to make up the screens I was printing.

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I knew I wanted to set a palette for the artwork and stick to it, so the testing at the beginning was vital – I would mix up large quantities of that ink, and then once it was gone it was gone. Matching is possible but there is something instinctive and organic about mixing by eye. It is important when printing by hand to find the balance between being creative and open to changes in the plan and maintaining a consistency and awareness to the bigger picture.

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I spent a LOT of time in the studio. each time I wanted to make a screen, it would require coating, drying, exposing, washing, drying, masking, registration, pulling, then cleaning and stripping. It led to a lot of late nights, loud music, and strong chemicals.

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This tactile attention to detail does begin to pay off. The biggest error I see when people are faking a printmaking style is that they always misunderstand the reality of it’s inherent imperfection. They always lay it all on too thick, with mis-registration far too sizeable and wildly out of sync. That’s not how it works in the real world. As printmakers we’re striving to get it right: the minor imperfections give the work character, but we’re talking about millimetres not centimetres. Anything too widely misaligned feels like something that should be sold in a shop with totes that have pictures of telephone boxes on and Banksy art prints.

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I knew that this project would have multiple formats and that I wanted to take this opportunity to make the sleeve a piece that really drives home the value of the music. Because of this I negotiated with the label manager Ali to get the finest formats the budget would stretch to.

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The band and I have always worked hard to expand on the experience of the records but without producing things which overshadow the music at the core. For this sleeve the band were recording in NYC, so photographer Pieter M. Van Hatten shot the chaps during the process at Ryan’s house. The band are three brothers (two of whom are twins) who currently live in Portland, NYC, and Wakefield, so coming together in one city to make a record also means it’s our opportunity to get them in for photos and videos. It felt right to shoot them together in their home, it seemed fitting as this record is a new start of sorts (this is their first record on their new label Sony Red) and we can see a clear comparison to their debut LP which features them on the cover.

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I wanted to make the artwork feel fragmented and discombobulating as that was my experience of the music. There was a confrontational quality to the record so I didn’t want it to be an easy ride, but I also wanted it to encourage the listener to engage with each song individually and have a sense that it was deserving of their attention.

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The band and I come from a scene which believes in doing it yourself, a punk rock approach to creativity. I wanted this to feel like an artifact, an art piece that feels both made with love and attention to the details, but also made by a real person. Not just put together by a bored designer on autopilot dropping art into pre-existing templates.

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Regardless of what format you choose to listen to the record, I wanted to make sure as a fan, you could have a full experience. This meant when laying out the cassette, I sacrificed the vanity of presenting the prints, to make sure the lyrics are there. This was a real technical nightmare as I only had a single fold sleeve (modern budgets!) but I managed it. This was one of my favourite victories of the project!

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It’s such a cliche these days to talk about how the increased scale of the cover is the ideal format for viewing artwork that I normally kick against it, but this project is a good case for this. On the LP you can really get an idea of the fact that this image has been hand made. You can see the way colours have been made by overlapping others, you can see the grain in the paper, and the imperfections on the edges. It’s been laborious, but what else would you expect from a labour of love?

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Collagraph and Carborundum

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Collagraphs are the perfect introduction to making prints! They are made by collaging and cutting different textures on a thin board base. They can be built up from any material with texture, from wallpaper to leaves. It’s an accessible, affordable and an environmentally friendly printmaking technique that can produce exciting results!

The course is designed for beginners and those who would like a refresher printmaking course. So get stuck in to printmaking!
Course Starts May 6th

For more information click here.

East London Printmakers is Expanding…

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This Spring, we have increased our studio space by 25%! Our technician Helen is project managing the development and we’re looking at investing in new equipment.
We’re really excited to see the space evolve over the coming months.

Watch this space…

The Independent Label Market 2015

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March saw the return of East London Printmakers to the Independent Label Market in Old Spitalfields Market.

The Independent Label Market offers record labels an opportunity to meet both their audience and their peers. Founders of each label need to be present to gain a stall, this ensures that it is a true opportunity to meet the people running the businesses.

As part of a creative industry that supports record labels, East London Printmakers were invited to take part for the first time in 2013. Since ELP have made a regular appearance at the London markets, this being our fifth. On the day, ELP had a fantastic variety of artists exhibiting from different creative backgrounds. In keeping with the ethos of the market, the creators of the artwork were manning the stand to give you the opportunity to meet the artists and discuss their work and techniques.

This time three artists from ELP designed and printed artwork especially for the event. All the work was hand screenprinted by the artists at East London Printmakers studio in London Fields. The top two, from left to right are by artists Helen Ashton and Eleanor Rogers and the piece below is by designer Nick Scott.

 

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Artists had never seen before prints and very limited edition prints on offer. The prints below are a limited edition set of printers proofs designed and screenprinted at ELP by Nick Scott for The Cribs new album For All My Sisters.

 

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Huge thank you goes to the Independent Label Market and its organisers for doing such a fabulous job, all the other stall holders for making the event such a success and to all of the artists that contributed and helped on the day.

Contributors include
Nick Scott, Helen Ashton, Eleanor Rogers, Susan Vera Clarke, Peter Rapp, Dolores de Sade, Yann Brien, Paul Munden, Emiko Kurukowa, Cynthia Bernheim, Luce Cleeren, Jenni Allen, Margot Quinn, Didi Baldwin, Sam Marshall, Alex Reisen, Imogen Humphris, Eliza Southwood, Sarah Lawton, Katy Goutefangea and Emily Hopkins.

 

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