Guess I’m quite OCD when it comes to print
Took part in: 2018
I would have started printing in 2010 I guess during my foundation, but at the time I was just using print as a way of recording/evidencing performances and actions. It wasn’t until I was at University that I began actually using print to print stuff. I fell in love with screenprint and from there I have over the years been developing my skills across a wider range of print processes and media, mainly because of my role as a University instructor of Printmaking.
Until I began my job as a Printmaking Instructor I had never had the chance to use letterpress, all the institutions I had been studying in didn’t have access to it so I didn’t either. But I knew that Leeds College of Art had Letterpress and when I saw a position come up I figured, as well as being a place where I’d get to be surrounded by print which I’m passion about, I’ll also be able to learn new processes too. When I started that position though the Letterpress room was a bit of a mess and letterpress generally wasn’t used by the students. So I set about teaching myself how to set type and print and picked up what every letterpress and typography book we had in the library so I could essentially teach myself so I could then teach others. Over the past few years I’ve been improving bit by bit as a printer but also improving the workshop and organising that too, inevitably when you are working with students sometimes that can be quite a challenge though. My latest project saw me categorise and distribute our orphan type bucket which has taken several months of chipping away at it, but it was a really worthwhile task, finding fonts we never knew we had, bits of Blackletter, Johnston, Gill Cameo amongst others.
I studied a foundation in Art and Design at Chesterfield College, I then went on to study Fine Art at the University of Leeds, during which time I did an Erasmus year studying Print at the Hungarian University of Fine Art, Budapest. Since finishing my studies I have worked as an industrial screen printer and now an Instructor of Print and Printmaking, both of these positions have contributed greatly to my self-teaching and development in printmaking through my own self-lead research and independent practice.
The first people that spring to my mind when I consider influential ‘teachers’ would be Pete, a technician from the University of Leeds and Lásci, a print technician from my studies in Budapest. Both were demanding teachers who really drew out the best in students, they didn’t spoon feed you, they expected you to be self-sufficient and independent, and they were the kind of teachers that you really wanted their praise, if you got even a ‘that’s not bad’ there was a wave of elation to even evoke that much of a response. I probably learnt the most about printing from Lásci during my time in Budapest, interestingly, due to my limited Hungarian and his limited English we never actually had a full conversation but through the various scribblings, drawings, poor translations and use of Google Translate I really feel a lot of where I am at now as a printer was shaped during that year in Budapest.
Super speed, to make locking-up, printing and dissing faster or some kind of hawkeye sight, to unlock a higher plane of registration.
I think I mostly like to work alone, if I’m printing something whether it is for me or for a client I like to have things set out how I like it and I like to work in the way I’m comfortable. It can be great to have someone to bounce ideas off and to just clarify that something looks good but I find sometimes having a mixture of working styles can sometimes be a little bit like too many cooks kinda thing. I guess I’m quite OCD when it comes to print; you’ve got to be somewhat of a perfectionist to be invested in print.
Brutal honesty and Sense of humour
Almost always when it is the least convenient time to jot them down or record them! Just as I’m dozing off to sleep or when I’m in the middle of something else. Ideas tend to occur when I’m working on other ideas, I’m a big believer in the Picasso quote “inspiration exists, but it must find you working” so I am constantly looking the next idea, constantly searing through imagery and archives and journals for the next imagery that I want to use for something. I’m a big hoarder of imagery, I keep everything that might be useful for a design or that might become some element of a print, it might be useful right at that moment but I’ll look for an excuse to use it.
Verdana Bold Italic
Pica Ruler, the most useful tool when trying to maintain a workshop that students are let loose in.
Currently I have;
They can’t kill us until they kill us: Essays – Hanif Abdurraqib
Destruction of the Father Reconstruction of the Father: Writings and Interviews, 1923-1997 – Louise Bourgeois
Nightmare in Berlin – Hans Fallada
Brighton Rock – Graham Greene (This is a copy that was given to my Grandad when he was a school child)
Corita Kent, hands down one of the greatest screen printers ever, AND SHE WAS A NUN TOO!
I personally don’t own any equipment myself. The print room I work in has access to all manner of printmaking equipment and processes. In our letterpress facility we have a pair of Adana Flatbed Quattro’s, little 6×4” upright Adana and a motorized Western Proofing Press, the workshop I’m in exclusively has metal type whereas our other campus has wooden type, though we occasionally have students laser cutting or CNC’ing their own woodtype also.
The one thing I’d like to change about my print shop? I’d like to actually own a printshop! That’s the dream for me, to one day be able to have a workshop where I have the equipment I need so I can continue as North or Nowt and actually make some sort of living out of this printing malarkey!
When I’m with my girlfriend, when I’m eating a burrito, when I’m printing and things aren’t fucking up, when I’m drumming, when I’m at gigs.
Getting stuck doing something I hate and not having the confidence to change that.
It is all probably really useful for lighting fires haha, I’d like to hope that the prints I make can bring people a bit of joy, a little laugh to yourself or a hit of nostalgia. Hopefully anyone who has ever picked up one of my gig posters can look back at that print and have a fond recollection of that time they spent seeing a band they loved or maybe never heard of before.
I work as an instructor of Print and Printmaking at Leeds Arts University, so as well as doing all the traditional roles of a technician in a workshop I also teach students all the processes we offer in our workshop this includes; screenprint (paper and textile), lino print, etching, monoprint, letterpress and bookbinding amongst other things.
North or Nowt really has two sides to it in many ways, our business, client based, design side, so I make the gig posters which I love doing because I get to work with bands I love and the gig poster for me is this beautiful, timeless design brief, there will always be music and there will always be gigs so we will always need gig posters. The gig poster scene is what really got me into all of this and spurred me onto start North or Nowt and that’s my main output print wise. As well as the gig posters we have worked with other creative practitioners, artists, and businesses to realise certain projects, these vary wildly from my own design work but I use my skills as a printer to aid and fulfil other people’s visions too.
The other side I guess is North or Nowt’s fine art side, so we make art prints from various media and print outputs, I lead a fine art practice where I work on personal projects where I’m exploring different imagery, themes or series as well as investigating certain material aspects to printing itself, so I’ve recently been turning wooden shipping pallets into artworks with screen printing directly onto wood. My relationship with letterpress probably lies in this second part of North or Nowt, it is something I use to fulfil personal projects and for making artist books, it isn’t something I’ve been asked to do for clients, but maybe that will change in the future. Working with Letterpress has really been something self-lead for me and something I kind of just threw myself into.