ICAIC Silkscreens / Taller Serigrafia Cinematica Cubano

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epicentregallery guide 2:
The Silkscreen process at Taller Serigrafia ICAIC

The silkscreen process at Taller Serigrafia del ICIAC is a real handicraft art form. The posters are entirely hand made. Bellow I take you through the process from design to completion.

Stage 1/ design: The designer starts out making a small scale ‘moquette’ using a variety of materials looking like a montage including original drawings, unique taylor-made fonts and found materials. When you look at the text on the designs you wonder ‘what is this all about?’ The text seems to make no sense and can be in any language. It wasn’t until I recognised a design and the title sprang to mind that I realised what was going on. The text was only there to give a font and ratio to the main image. The actual text or ‘copy’ is added in a footnote. Images used can be anything from original drawings to clippings from newspapers, magazines or photographs. The designers are usually ‘free lance’. Bachs is one exception. As far as I understand Eduardo Munoz Bachs was the sole ‘house designer’ at ICAIC.

Stage 2/ scaling: Once the design is sent to the serigraph workshop it is scaled up to actual size. Usually 20x30inches. This is done by an employee of ICAIC not the designer. All subsiquent stages are completed by a small team of craftspeople.

Stage 3/ colour seperation and cutting: In most cases a screen needs to be made for each colour of the design. This can be a time consuming process when consider the amount of screens needed to make Bachs' Por Primera Vez design. This is drawn onto the masking material which will become the negative stencil. The person making the decisions about layering the colours needs to know which colours will go behind another without showing through. The colours on the bottom layer are cut slightly larger than the top coat. When you look at a finished print you can see the layers of paint. Once the outlines are made for each colour the various stencils can be cut. Cutting is by hand so you can see the intricacy of the task in Ascuy’s or Niko’s ‘70s designs that imitate the halftone process (La Ultima Parabala is a perfect example).

Stage 4/ making the screens: The negative stencils are then applied to screens 20x30inches. Remember, 1 for each colour.

Stage 5/ printing: The opaic ‘inks’ (acrylic paint), are forced through the parts of the screen which is not masked by the stancil. This is done by hand using a ‘squeegie’. This process gives a strong flat colour unique to silkscreening or serigraphy. This form of printing, popularised by Andy Warhol, is considered the closest to painting of all printing forms.

Stage 6/ drying: Each colour takes 24 hours to fully dry. That means a poster with 2 colours in in production for 2 days. A poster with 8 colours is in production for 8 days.

If you have any further questions or corrections you can ask by contact me through my eBay shop epicentregallery or any of my active listings.

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