SILKSCREEN WALL ART PRINTS IN THE MAKING AT GLASS SIREN STUDIO

CURIOS FROM THE GLASS SIREN STUDIO SILKSCREEN PRINT ARCHIVE

By Damon Roberts

CURIOS FROM THE GLASS SIREN STUDIO SILKSCREEN PRINT ARCHIVE

Left Bank Linear...... Another multi-layer abstract production i created for my solo exhibition a couple of years ago. I only made around 35 or these as i was in such a rush to get a selection of new pieces ready for the gallery show that i had to drop the edition sizes down so i didn't run out of time..... These are now all sold.

Priming the stamp pad ready for giving the Hexamine Heights prints their official numbering and markings.

Acetates on the lightboard in the studio, checking for any little nuances which might cause prolems once the ink starts to flood through the screen....

A.M.X Shift Sequence prints........ An experiment in linear minimalsim.....

Black and white shot of the first layers of the Orbs prints which have recently been released..... These have proved incredibly popular so far......

Virgin screen with one layer of the Future Daze productions on it ready to begin...

A one one from the vaults...... This was the proof i was using when creating the altered states prints...... You can see all the inks dabbed in it around the edges whist ensuring the colour tones were just right before begining the overprinting stage......

A little background on info for my exhibition. I ended up overprinting the typography on several of my print release.

End Times..... From the Transmissions series of prints.......

This was a highly limited variant of the Dilations series of wall art prints. This was built up over several layers using off-set ghosted stereo imagery in opacity reduced acrylics. The last layer was a special ink mix which had a metal additive which produced a striking copper sheen. This final layer was ultra sharp against the faded under-layers for maximium visual impact....... I may have one or two of these left on the shelves in the studio.......

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GLASS SIREN STUDIO - ADVENTURES IN PRINTMAKING

By Damon Roberts

GLASS SIREN STUDIO - ADVENTURES IN PRINTMAKING

Testing out some new Japanese stamp pads i've recently acquired.

A mid-production shot of one of the Transmissions prints from a few years ago. These incorporated several colour overprints of the foreground transmitter image, all slightly offset so it created an eye jarring juxstapostion effect. The colours i was working helped. The orange certainly had some intensity to it.....

The rare times when the studio is uncluttered, the decks are cleared and a new production is about to commence. Ink mixing and before the proofing cycle begins once more.....

Another batch of wax seal 'thank you cards' underway......

Situation normal.. The studio was like this for almost ten weeks whilst the 'Hexamine Heights' Silkscreen print production was underway. Such a relief to get that one finished. I started off with a loose idea for an architectural inspired abstract and just started working to see how it emerged. It turned into a highly complicated piece. Thirty layers of hand applied inks, each colour needing its own film and screen making before i could add each layer.......

This was the spray sealing process on one of the 'Made with Metal' series of prints. They are created by adhering finely ground metal to the surface of the print which makes up the main image. Its a really interesting process to work with and the results are very tactile, teaxtural pieces.

 

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HEXAMINE HEIGHTS SILKSCREEN WALL ART PRINT PRODUCTION

By Damon Roberts

HEXAMINE HEIGHTS SILKSCREEN WALL ART PRINT PRODUCTION

Setting up the press and getting the alignment sorted ready for the first layer of the Hexamine Heights prints.

The first acetates ready for exposing on to the high resolution screens.

Another set of films layed up ready for exposure. I'm always interested to see individual component films on the light box as you can start to see other possibilities.

Another component of the production which when on press was overprinted several times using vivid red, fluoro orange and a gradiated varnish so the final  impression was an incredibly strong vibrant hit of colour.

You can see here how the inks are almost embossed on the sheets surface they were hit so many times.

Sometimes the computer screen only affords so much clarity so the films for this particualar layer was layed up on a lightbox in the studio and etched in using a scalple to clean up any unwanted areas.

Serious levels of visual complexity!

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BYPRODUCT PRINTS - CURIOUS AND ODDITIES

By Damon Roberts

BYPRODUCT PRINTS - CURIOUS AND ODDITIES

I thought it would be worth including here whilst updating the blog some of what i call the 'byproduct' of the process i work with.  These are the sheets that I use when registering the printing press and sometimes these are used to ensure i'm getting a even ink application and tightly defined print whilst working on a new edition. These resultant pieces have often been overprinted layer upon layer many times over so in them you can often see elements from my previous print releases that i've created over the years.

I will dig trough the archive over the coming weeks and try to photograph and upload some of the more interesting abstract oddities that have emerged whilst working the press. I have a whole stack of these in the studio racked up on the shelves. If i ever get time i may well pick out some of the more interesting ones and develop these as one off prints for the site.....

A lot of these random overprints have proved to be a great source of inspiration for colour ideas and also the using opacity levels of inks. There is only so far you can go on a computer with the process of visualizing. Sometimes is just best to get the printing press rolling and see what emerges.....

 

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DREADTIMES - SILKSCREEN PRINT VARIANTS

By Damon Roberts

DREADTIMES - SILKSCREEN PRINT VARIANTS
After being commissioned by Dreadzone to do the sleeve art for their last studio album i was given the opportunity to also develop this project further and produce a silkscreen print release. I ended doing a couple of different treatments of this production. The original one i produced was created using a monotone colour pallate utilizing subtle fine grain metalics on a deep brown acrylic ink flooded background. It took quite a few attempts to get the detail absolutely crisp on this production as the image was highly detailed and very granular in its composition. After running off several screens and taking the studio's exposure unit apart and rebuilding from the ground up i finally got the defintion i was looking for.  Things started to head in the right direction once this hurdle was overcome. After succesfully creating the master edition i decided to develop a very limited run of spectrum blended variants as well. This was to be a  an ultra limited production run of around twenty piece using this overprint technique.

 

Film positive on the studio ultra violet expsure unit ready for expsure of the screens that were to be utilized in this print production.

The first test proofs on the press, ensuring the fine grain metals were visible once dry and also ensuring the detail was crisp one all sections of the image. Trying to replicate smoke out of ink was quite a challenge!.

Film stage and alignement on the press. I was looking at this in daylight as i was getting the press set up and thinking there is no way this is going to work as the detail on the lighter areas of the image was so incredibly fine. I was amazed once the master screen was produced and set up that the science had actually worked.

Opacity reduced red, gold and green blending test on the press before the overprinting stage commenced..

A few of the first finished prodcutions drying before the stamping and signing stage commenced. A batch of the finished silkscreen editions were dispatched to Londinium upon completion. Some of these made their way into the hands of Don Letts, reggae legend Earl 16, Greg Roberts, Leo Williams and various members of the extended Dreadzone family.

 

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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.

Driftworks and Test Tones silkcreen wall art 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 a 50cm x 70cm Habitat uk wall art 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 breathing space around the edges which i tend to prefer.

 

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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.

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