Silkscreen Paintings

Silkscreen Paintings For Advertising And The Fine Arts Movement

Advertising both reflects and shapes culture. It is important for print ads to change over time to meet the ever-changing needs and desires of the consumer. Before the 1900s, printing was done using methods like the Flexo Press. This type of press uses the raised features on a rubber printing plate to hold the image that needs to be printed. Silkscreen paintings are a simple term for Serigraphy. In other words, it is a sophisticated stenciling process of transferring designs by spraying or rolling ink through a strong cutout material. So, the 1900s technique was important in advertising and display work. Silkscreen paintings made it easier to reproduce advertising materials like posters. This era moved from text-based ads to heavy imagery. As a result, the ads showed how well they could use negative space to make them less cluttered. Silkscreen printing then moved from print advertising to fine arts.


This is the featured image for the blog article about Silkscreen Paintings
Credit: Image by dadgrass Source

Silkscreen Prints In Fine Arts

Until the mid-20th century, Silkscreen Printing was almost unheard of within Western culture. However, its roots date back to ancient times. China used this technique. As far as recognizable Silkscreen Printing goes, it’s been going on since the Song Dynasty. Knowledge of this technique only came to Western shores in the late 18th century, and it took some time before it became popular. Silkworms were mainly in China, Japan, and Korea. It took years before silk was widely available in the west for Silkscreen printing to be profitable. However, in the early 1910s, new chemical advancements made the silk screening process feasible. The official use of silkscreen began in the 1930s. Synthetic fabrics replaced expensive and less available silk, leading to increased screen-printing technology worldwide. So, it was a new age. Advertisers had a better alternative. Even though it has been around for many years, Silkscreen Printing still has several benefits in the modern era. That is why many artists made use of the technique. This kind of print lasts longer than other prints.

Silkscreen Paintings Process

One of the first steps in the silk screen process is to create an original design. The design is then transferred onto a thin film sheet called acetate. The acetate is used for the screen or stencil. When you are all set to take action, it is time to decide which type of screen and wire mesh you want. The mesh count is the number of threads per square inch. A higher thread count means finer printing details while maintaining enough ink. After placing the transparent acetate film on the emulsion-coated mesh screen under a bright light – the emulsion hardens and develops. Note that you should use separate screens for each color. Exposing the material sets the uncovered areas of the surface. It would be best to wash away any remaining unhardened emulsion to leave a clear imprint. You will then have to dry the screen. This part of the process is where you touch it up. It would be helpful to fix it as close to the original design as possible. The printer can use this final screen to print the design by rolling paint on the screen that sits on top of the printing board.

Want to see the results of how Andy Warhol used the Silkscreening process? It was a big part of his artistic process. Check out a guide and video of his process at the following link: