Andy Warhol started to experiment with screenprinting in the 1960s. In 1950s, Warhol was a prize-winning commercial artist and he devised a printing process of blotting outline drawings in ink from one surface to another. While he was head of advertising at a shoe company, his blotted drawings were reproduced and then hand-colored by a team of friends. Screenprinting in 1960s It wasn’t a widely used medium. It was a lengthy process that required an exorbitant amount of patience and a keen eye for detail. It wasn’t also considered to be an art form, as it was using machines.
One of Warhol’s first silkscreened images was his now famous Marilyn Monroe print. He used the efficiency of the screenprinting technique to his advantage and created multiple versions of the same image, using a variety of different color compositions. As Warhol once said “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”.
Warhol worked with professionals to have the photos he chose transferred onto the mesh of a silk screen. When Warhol passed an ink-laden squeegee over the mesh as the silk screen sat atop his canvas, ink would pass through the mesh and impress a print of his image onto the canvas. Areas of the mesh where a layer of glue has been applied – in Warhol’s case, the “negative” space of the photos he selected – keep paint from passing through to the canvas.
Watch how Warhol screenprinted Marlon Brando’s print:
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