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Larry Theobalds has been a member of our team since 2001. He is celebrating his 50th year as a Screen Print Enthusiast, so we asked him to post his reflections on the evolution of his craft. Enjoy!
50 years ago……… a long time ago when I first got involved with screen printing. It was the time of peace, love and flowers, the Hippie movement, a time of celebration and revolution, it was a great time to be young.
Everywhere there were these crazy posters popping up on walls, telephone posts and construction barriers. Some advertising concerts, other promoting social and political change.
Me, I was in high school, my favorited class…..ART. I was exploring the art of the day, finding underground cartoons interesting and wanting to know about these posters that were everywhere. My teacher in art showed me this frame with an image on it, he put some paint in it and with this strange board thing pushed it across the surface, then lifted the frame up and there underneath was an image on a piece of paper, a screen print!.
My teacher showed me how to take a drawing, cut out a stencil, adhere the stencil to the screen, put ink in and print the image with a squeegee, I was hooked!
I learned how to people like Andy Warhol and Peter Max would make their art with screen printed images, how art students in colleges and universities would design posters for rallies and protests using screen printed process, the social media of the day it was.
Over the course of my time in high school art, I worked in screen printing a lot, as well as a keen interest in fine art and cartooning. When the time came to go to college, I found myself taking cartooning and life drawing and screen printing.
I worked freelance for a while creating artwork for different clients, sometime working with printers to prepare artwork for press.
I found myself at a crossroads and was looking for more permanent employment where I ended up acquiring a position in a screen print hop as I already had the basics under my belt.
I learned how images were created and transformed to the screen using photographic process with light sensitive emulsion (or coating).
I learned the process of screen printing from beginning to the end, creating artwork, making screens, mixing inks to color specifications, printing and finishing for shipping.
It’s been 50 years since I first discovered screen printing and I’m sure it’s not over yet. I think that I’ll always dabble in screen printing as part as my exploration in art even after I retire as a printer.