GLASS SIREN STUDIO SILKSCREEN ART & PRINTS - BLOG

BEHIND THE SCENES AT GLASS SIREN

By Damon Roberts

BEHIND THE SCENES AT GLASS SIREN

Glass Siren Studio official wax seal stamp for the provenance cards sent out with each silkscreen print.

The original printing press I used for many productions before engineering the latest version.

The outside world. The view through the studio window's blackout aperture before dark room set-up commences.

A very sleepy Staffordshire bull terrier that often lives under the printing press.

Dub it! The rough and ready artist proof.

Driftworks and Test Tones prints releases together in A1 frame.

Rough and ready Transmissions artist proof.

Test Tones about to be stamped and signed ready for market.

Smoke Spheres hi-definition screen on the press about to under go the print cycle.

As well as being focussed on building Glass Siren Studio's array screenprinting equipment and developing numerous abstract themed works, I have produce a lot of heavily processed experimental graphic imagery which has been used to promote numerous reggae legends and sound systems for SuDdub which is one of the uk's longest running reggae and dub sound system events. SubDub is 21 years old this year which equates to a lot of artwork. It's been quite a good test bed for exploring graphic ideas.

Sign of the times..... Graphic detail from one of my early silkscreen prints. 

The production of Glass Siren Studio's promotion cards. 3mm thick greyboard. Hand silkscreen printed transmitter artwork.

Charcoal and silver Dilations silkscreen print in 50cm x 70cm Habitat frame. I tend to mount the prints I keep for myself directly to the manilla backboard the frame is supplied with. I get asked about this a lot so thought worth mentioning here. The frames are just slightly bigger than the sheet size of the SRA2 prints I tend to produce. This gives the artwork a bit of breaking space around the edges.

 

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STUDIO PHOTO SERIES

By Damon Roberts

STUDIO PHOTO SERIES

Working out the pigment to binder ratio before starting print production. This has become a bit of a ritual for every print I start work on. When dealing with the levels of complexity on some of the multi-layer silkscreen productions I've become known for, this is a really vital step to ensure the whole of the print has the right tonal balance, if not the whole process has to start from the very beginning. Not only highly frustrating but very costly in terms of materials wasted. I've learnt from bitter experience. A stitch in time saves nine.......

The brand new custom engineered silkscreen printing press I designed and built. It's rare it ever looks this pristine when the inks begin to flow.

Altered States print production mid way through before all the foreground layers were added.

The trusty old Swan Morton scalpel used for hand etching and cleaning up the films.......

Sera-Graph abstract from the vaults. I've been promising for a while that this is going to be the first experiment I do in cmyk printing. A process that has evaded me so far.

This is the very first finished piece that I generated using the new circular spindle print platten. Called experiment number # 4. The first three were test pieces and were recycled. A series of repetitive linear ink applications in contrasting tones using the print arm in a staccato fashion to lay the colours on the greyboards surface. This was really a textural piece as you could feel all the ripples of paint on the surface. This ideas will be developed into some more visually complicated pieces using overprinted image sections of varying lengths. This piece is now sold.

Burning speaker cones graphic composition by Damon Roberts -x- Glass Siren Studio. The photoshoot was conducted outside the studio to reduce the risk of the fire spreading. Only a handful of successful shots where achieved from three rolls of film. The final image was then spliced together digitally.

Test Tones silkscreen ready for washing off. Probably the least enjoyable part of the print process.

A foray into garment design which was a new one for me. This was a highly limited range of bespoke custom manufactured t-shirts I produced in the early days of Glass Siren Studio. They were created using gas mercerised cotton and were coloured using a pigment dye process which I began to experiment with then they were finished using an enzyme wash to polish the garments surface. These really were a very high end product with no expense spared in their production. I literally designed these garments down the the individual stitch details. Distributed by the Flannels group in the uk. They were given the glass case treatment in all their stores.

Just one of the various branding elements I worked up as samples for the t-shirt range which featured 18 different graphic print releases I did specifically for the range. The sample above was a laser cut woven nylon tape.

 

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BLACK AND WHITE SERIES

By Damon Roberts

BLACK AND WHITE SERIES

Test Tones film production stage. Checking these off against the studio's back lit drawing board to ensure all area of the artwork will reproduce when the studio goes into dark room mode in order to create the high definition screens that will eventually be used to make the final prints. A real trial and error process which often the most frustrating part of the pre-production stages.

The engineering project that nearly broke me! The studio's custom built printing press designed specifically for the oversize A2 prints I tend to produce. Thinking ten steps forward and backward simultaneously for several months wasn't the most tranquil state of mind I've ever attained. Still the pain was well worth the effort. One of those 'harder the battle the sweeter the victory' situations. 

Detail galore. One of the new rotational pieces being worked up on the press. These are a little nerve wracking to produce as there is so much scope for these to go wrong which means a lot of stress and frustration when it does. The process is pretty much stable now after filling a notebook of instructions as I was attempting these. 

Getting the delicate balance of ink's opacity levels right when producing the kind of  highly detailed work I make is absolutely paramount to a successful outcome. This is from my colour bible, a telephone directory sized book I keep all the formulas in. Kept under lock and key!

The beginnings of a new abstract pieces that hasn't reached film stage as yet. There is a lot fo these ideas ready to go. I'm getting my ducks in a row at the moment so to speak - ready to bring some of these into the real world.

Heavy duty 30mm steel shafts which support the linear rail and print head on the press. I wanted to engineer this to last and make it rock solid so the work that comes off this beast is as accurate as possible. The finished press is so heavy it would have to be deconstructed to be able to move it. I like the idea of building something that will endure the test of time.

TB-303 typographic detail from the Future Daze multi-layer prints.

The first test prints from the new Arc 454 series of linear sound abstracts.

The raw metal precision adjusters on the new press before the hammer coat process was applied to protect the machinery from rust. 

Graphic composition for SubDub. Damon Roberts -x- Glass Siren Studio.

A cubic zirconia utopia. 

 

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ARCHIVE SHOTS

By Damon Roberts

ARCHIVE SHOTS
Various films that were produced to print the individual colours on the new matrix series of silkscreen prints.

 

Abstract linear artwork development.

Album cover art for Dreadzone by Damon Roberts. This is a recent album cover project that i've finished for Dreadzone for their latest album Dread Times. I tend to focus my energies as much as possible on my own productions these days. The onslaught of physically screenprinting several hours day combined with developing new ideas can be an enjoyable but draining process to say the least. So when something like this comes along its good to be able step away from the usual routine and work on something new. Its the second album cover i've done for the band. They have both been somewhat of a collaboration between myself and Greg from the band, throwing ideas back and forth with me frantically cobbling visual ideas together until something we like starts to emerge. I tend to live with the initial visual ideas for about a month gradually developing and refining them until we reach the final stage before handing over the artwork for the repro house for proofing and film production......

 Arc 454 - multi layer silkscreen print being produced on the press.

Miniature silkscreen originally used for printing one of the studios various icons on the back of large format artworks.

Flesh sequence composition from the vaults.

Ghost Peaks Silkscreen Print currently under development.

Audiophiles 1.1 Cd Cover - A production from quite a few years ago for firewire records. Featuring Andrew weatherall and Keith Tenniswood in their Two Lone Swordsmen Guise.

 

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GLASS SIREN STUDIO CULTURE

By Damon Roberts

GLASS SIREN STUDIO CULTURE

Hanging prints during print production, ready to apply the next layers of ink

Hand printed dutch greyboard promotional cards.

One of the studio's metal stamp prototypes for applying wax seals to provenance cards.

The daily ritual of ink mixing and working out opacity levels.

One of many pre-production abstracts waiting for film production to test out its viability on the manual printing press.

Some production shots from the Glitch Series of silkscreen print releases. The master images which were generated from sound which was fed through my old vestax mixer needed some cleaning up before being able to get them ready for the print stage. This was done by hand using a scalpel, its sometimes easier this way and preferential to burning out ones retinas in front of a computer screen.

The photograph above shows the first test print of this film which i did directly onto some 3m scotchlite retroflective fabric. Its phenomenal stuff to work with, expensive but the effects when used in conjunction with certain types of imagery can be nothing short of stunning.

A graphic abstraction from the vaults that was integrated into some of the numerous subdub compositions I've been commissioned to produce over the years.

This is a process I have been testing out recently on the press. Its an experiment that I've been using for creating unique organic looking backgrounds as a base to print some of the linear abstract style pieces on. I've been flooding background with varnish then applying tiny amounts of diluted inks via either a pipet or a glazers bulb onto the screen while the varnish is still wet. The tiny drops of dilute ink is then worked through the screen by rolling the squeegee of it in random areas until it starts to build up into something visually pleasing. Its a hit an miss process but the ones which have worked look really interesting as backgrounds and will provide a really nice contrast when some delicate linear imagery is applied on the surface.

Detail from the King Tubb's Reprise Silkscreen Prints.

Another one from the archive I found as I was getting prepped to finally take control of the Glass Siren Studio Blog. 

 

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GLASS SIREN STUDIO

By Damon Roberts

GLASS SIREN STUDIO

Glass Siren Studio's water cut aluminium platten with centre spindle. This a tool I have engineered in order for me to work on what I class as rotational prints. The spindle sits inside a socket which is locked into position underneath the disc and allows me to spin the substrates I am printing onto a full 360 degrees.

Me. The one behind all this. Damon Roberts -x- Glass Siren Studio.

Damon Roberts (Artist) in Lego form. A good luck token constructed by a good friend of mine - Mr Ben Stevenson. I absolutely adore this. Complete with Lego printing press, pots of ink and print platten with the words 'Veni, Vidi, Vici'. 

Early stages of experimentation using the new rotational print platten. This took a lot of trial and error to work out the pick up points of the gradients as one of the types of production I have developed using this system requires images to be printed in four sections which eventually blend and join together to form a final image composition. This shows just one quarter being test printed. 

'Nearly There' is the mantra I've always adhered to with this seemingly never ending creative cycle I've found myself in. It keeps me going and gives me some form of hope. Wherever 'There' actually is I'm never quite sure........ But I'll no doubt get 'There' one day...

Another one of my freehand silkscreen compositions from the archive.

One of the various synchronicity prints I have made over the last decade. Some of these have been more minimalistic in their nature, others more complex such as this one that went up to ten individual hand applied layers or acrylics. 

Future Daze - Graphic composition that has recently been given the multi-layer silkscreen print treatment. One version of this is currently available to purchase on the product section.

 

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FROM THE VAULTS

By Damon Roberts

FROM THE VAULTS
Romeda film separations on the studio's drawing board


Test Tones metal compound ink silkscreen print being worked on the press.

My old Vestax rotary mixer. I picked this up dirt cheap from a customer in Sweden and had it shipped over. I loved this piece of kit and if I was ever creating raw images from sound sources I always run the audio through this beforehand. It was also the only dj mixer I've ever had that mixing records on actually started to make sense to me. It opened up a whole sonic world of possibilities. The bottom unit was the start of a project housing two frequency isolators. 

The toughest and most physical part of the prints I make is the solid flooded colour aperture. Which I'm just about to start in this photograph. Flooding the ink through the open screen. This part is a real energy drainer. There is an elation to it after doing a full day of these though, the mind starts to clear of all the digital stuff we soak up on a daily basis and the endorphins start to flow from the excursion. A bit of a pleasure / pain cycle.

The studio's new Vestax mixer. Which is now just about back to full health after the inside of my studio and all the equipment contained in it was involved in a sandblasting disaster caused by rouge workmen renovating a neighbouring building!

Part of a series of graphic works I was commissioned to produce for fashion retailer Harvey Nichols.

Mille Miglia - Silkscreen on textured oxidised metal block. Large format production 30 x 30 inch. Referencing the work of fashion designer Massimo Osti.

Acid erosion treatment I developed on multi layer silkscreen print which eats into the inks surface revealing the under printed layers.

 

 

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DAY TO DAY AT GLASS SIREN STUDIO

By Damon Roberts

DAY TO DAY AT GLASS SIREN STUDIO

Original graphic sketch from notebooks in Biro from 1992.

Chisel tip squeegee on the press for ultra hi definition work.

A.M.X. Shift Sequence Film production.

The fine line between enlightenment and excess. A Glass Siren Studio halftone print production.

Tools of the trade.

Flyers from my first solo exhibition at Left Bank in Leeds.

Another architectural inspired abstraction that's underway.

 

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