Art & Design blog: Printmaking

Jack Tattersall introduces Timbergram

Artist / designer:   Timbergram

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Article author:   Charlotte Bradford
Published:   Fri, 22 Jan 2016

Petr Krejci 01

Photgrapher: Petr Krejci

Timbergram was inspired by the original wooden postcards of the early 1900’s. Delightfully distinctive and stylish, their range of beautiful greetings cards cover all occasions and are designed and produced in the UK using sustainably sourced wood from forests in Eastern Europe. All their timber is FSC certified. 

XETH caught up with their Managing Director, Jack Tattersall, this week to find out more about the brand and what inspires him.

At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in and how did you get involved with Timbergram?

I have been interested in design since a very young age. We had a great Design & Technology department at my primary school, and I used to always enjoy the woodwork projects. I got involved with Timbergram through an internship with a web design company, that is owned by one of Timbergram’s directors. I started by doing small amounts of work for Timbergram and as it grew and got busier, my role grew.

What’s your proudest achievement so far with Timbergram?

This has been a big year for Timbergram. We have focused on international growth through our wholesale channels. We have been fantastically successful at trade shows in New York, San Francisco, Paris and Hong Kong. I’m pretty proud of the fact that Timbergrams are now travelling all over the world in the post and available to buy from shops in 4 continents.

Petr Krejci

Photographer: Petr Krejci

What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?

We are only a small team, and sometimes it gets really busy for us. Juggling tasks and keeping customers orders sent out on time is sometimes difficult, especially if we have a problem with machinery. Pairing this with constantly trying to innovate and bring out new products where we can, it’s a pretty busy atmosphere.

What are your top three favourite songs in the studio?

We love all types of music in the studio. Three favourites are Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins, Backstreet Freestyle by Kendrick Lamar and Ignition Remix by R Kelly.

What is your favourite London venue and why?

I like the Roadhouse in Covent Garden. It’s a great place from happy hour to dinner and then for live music too. 

Name three creatives who have inspired Timbergram over the past 10 years?

Rather than inspired Timbergram more inspired us – graffiti artist DXTR , Charlie Hamilton James and Mark Parker.

Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?

We have! We are currently launching a new sister site to sell many other wooden products, The Store by Timbergram. These will range from clocks to bedroom door signs for kids’ bedrooms.

What advice would you give to people working in the creative industry?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

Dan Marshall

Photographer: Dan Marshall

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Mark Perronet, founder of Atom Gallery

Artist / designer:   Mark Perronet

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Article author:   Ricky Thakrar
Published:   Sat, 2 Jan 2016

Fear of the abstract

XETH: Your work spans printmaking, illustration, collage, typography – often in combination. Is there a particular medium or process that you associate yourself with over others?

Mark Perronet: Screen printing is definitely my drug of choice. I did screen printing at college many years ago, moved into photography for a long time, and now I am back to the screen.

I like to follow a process – a blank sheet of paper and a pencil would frighten me a lot.  I like the distances that screen printing brings between me and the paper, and the possibility of happy accidents when I am not trying to print an edition.

When one is printing an edition for someone else, the whole deal is to get every print the same, but when I am working on one of my own things, all that pressure is off, and I can do what I like and mess things up and sometimes it works… although, often it doesn’t, it has to be said!

Cowboy heroes (peacemaker)

XETH: Whilst you often poke fun at the greed or egoism that clouds people’s judgment, there’s a tone of understanding and humility, rather than pointing an accusative finger.  How carefully considered is that balance?

MP: I am basically a cynic, and think that a lot of people with vested interests are screwing everything up for all of us… nothing new there!  But I try not to think too much about things before I do them, or I can overthink and end up not doing anything – I am always a bit sorry when possibly a good idea disappears without doing anything about it.

Moderation

XETH: You greatly vary the style and technique of your work depending on the format of the image at hand – posters, tattoos, comics, magazine covers… Relatively speaking, which do you feel is most important for you: the message or concept that you want to convey; the visual aesthetic of the individual piece, or; the format that you are reinterpreting?

MP: That’s a good question… I think all three, but probably the visual aesthetic is the most important, because unless it looks good, it’s not going to work on any level. In the past, I have got a certain way with an idea and thought, ‘this is very clever, and a good message, etc.’, but then realised that it was going to look shit – clever or not.

So, it’s nice to get all three working together, although tricky…  But I do think that more art nowadays should be trying to say something, rather than just look pretty.  There, I’ve said it.

Look Kids!

XETH: You chose to open your art gallery and set up studio in Finsbury Park. What was it that drew you to this part of London?

MP: I did my Art Foundation at Middlesex Polytechnic when it was based in Crouch End, and stayed on at the Wood Green site to study Fine Art.  Since then, I’ve always lived in north London – Wood Green, Bounds Green, East Finchley, Islington, and then Finsbury Park.  The printing business was outgrowing what I could do at home, and I noticed the empty shop on Stroud Green Road, just ten minutes from where I live.

 

Michael Chance on launch of Mercer Chance art gallery, London

Artist / designer:   Michael Chance

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Article author:   Ricky Thakrar
Published:   Thu, 16 Oct 2014

Lapetus Transition Zone - Monotype, 76x54cm

Michael, you explore far-away worlds in much of your artwork. Is this primarily fantasy or is there a more scientific interest in the extra-terrestrial?

It’s science fiction, certainly, but not sci-fi. Depicting a foreign environment allows more freedom to play with the image outside conventional notions of landscape. The fact that many of them could appear to be earthly environments is testament to the variety of our earth… or perhaps it’s rather the sign of an earth-bound imagination.

Titan North Polar SAR map - monotype, chine colle, quill pen, 50x36cm

Your most distinctive work mixes soft media such as charcoal and graphite with structure in the form of graphs, technical annotation, architectural studies and cartography… what has influenced this combination?

In an artwork I try to express the totality of my interest in a certain place, which begins with a powerful aesthetic feeling, but may include conceptual information displayable only in graphical form or text. I try to never use graphs or data purely for effect, they are always rooted in real figures or have particular fixed meanings within my own narrative. I want everything to be readable at close range, whilst resolving to a more simple tonal impression from a distance.

I studied Peter Greenaway’s films at university and love how his use of layered image, geometry and text allows for an expansion in the possibilities of cinematic representation. The arrangement of and interplay between each element is deeply thoughtful yet also absurd, self-parodying.

St Paul's Distortion - Charcoal, graphite, 110x124cm

Whilst you studied at The Prince’s Drawing School, London, and much of your work is rooted in its disciplines, you also have a more romantic streak, producing Turner-esque landscapes in oil.  How do you relate to both?

The Drawing School is often misconceived as a reactionary return to old-fashioned academic values. In fact my experience on The Drawing Year opened me up to draw with much more freedom and really made me question all my assumptions about what constituted good drawing. After the course I felt able to meaningfully connect and combine my printmaking, drawing and painting practices in a fluid continuum.

Turner is a huge influence. He was a maverick, talented and sensitive as he was head-strong, he had the perfect balance between schooling and rebellion. He shows landscape as if witnessing a series of phase transitions; liquid, gas, earth and plasma intermixing, each struggling free from its conventional confines, interchangeable, unified in chaotic change.

Tintern - Oil on board, 152x122cm

Your new gallery, opening in Hoxton on 24th October 2014, will function as an open studio allowing members of the public to watch the artistic process in action. How do you think this will affect the work that you produce?

Well, thankfully I can close the curtain so I don’t have to be peered at all the time, especially when I’m doing unintentionally ‘arty’ chin-scratching poses! But it does mean that people will be able to come into our studio on certain days and see a variety of work, finished and in progress, and see it in the context of its making, which can be much more interesting that an impersonal blank gallery wall.

We both paint and draw outdoors a lot too, so we’re not going to be stuck in a fishbowl. I don’t think that being visible will affect my work in style or approach, I think I have some fairly unshakeable interests and principles to work by at the moment.

As well as yourself and co-founder Rachel Mercer using the space as a studio, you intend to exhibit the work of others.  How will your exhibitions compare to what’s on offer elsewhere in London?

We  want to exhibit work that is built upon a foundation of observation, contemplation and practised use of the artist’s medium, without imposing any restraints for the sake of commercial appeal.

I suppose I see a widening gulf between two extremes: private commercial ‘artefact’ or ‘investment’ art, and publicly-funded ‘experience’ or ‘engagement’ art. Both exist in an institutional context and are subject to certain restrictions and pressures, both are essentially outward looking and driven by novelty.  Representational art is criticised as ‘not enough’, ‘boring’, ‘conservative’; whilst conceptual art is equally bad-mouthed as ‘charlatanism’, ‘pretentious’, ‘inaccessible’.

This situation is ill-fitting for the artist who looks inward, making art not for the market, but to satisfy her interests, sensitively filtering her experiences and observations, searching for meaning that is deeply personal, yet universally resonant. I would describe this as a poetic approach.

Many blockbuster installation pieces make much of their anti-capitalist credentials by claiming that they are transitory; information, not product. However, they are consumed without much true contemplation; they are middle-class cosmopolitan fun fairs which do not last long in the memory, beyond the Monday morning cultural brag session. Further, they are often materially expensive and ecologically wasteful.

I used to feel completely anti-product, anti-selling-work, but I’ve come to realise that if you create something unique, soulful, made from humble materials, that will outlast you many times over and continue to provide pleasure and provoke thought throughout its lifetime at an un-inflated price – that is a true gift.

Q&A session with printmaker Paul Catherall

Artist / designer:   Paul Catherall

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Article author:   Charlotte Bradford
Published:   Mon, 5 Nov 2012

 

Paul Catherall is one of the country’s leading linocut printmakers and has been one of Transport for London’s most popular and prolific poster artists of the past ten years.

Catherall draws much of his subject matter from the city’s more characterful landmarks, with a broad focus on modernist design. Each linocut print is created entirely by hand in a painstaking relief process that can take several weeks to complete.

XETH: At what age did you start to take an interest in art?

Paul Catherall: I honestly can’t remember but there’s a film of me drawing pictures in the sand very studiously around five years old. I started taking a serious interest in art when I was around 12 years old. That’s when I realised I could draw.

XETH: What is it that drew you to printmaking?

PC: I really like the methodical process – I always say it takes a few seconds to mess up a painting that you’ve spent days on – while although printmaking is thought of as non-forgiving your can see problems arising and can nearly always tackle them. Also, just love the simplicity of it and the fact that it can throw up surprises and happy accidents.

XETH: Have you got any exciting projects/commissions coming up?

PC: I’m working on a cover for George Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris for Penguin at the moment which is just a very nice thing to work on – it’s the kid of thing you did as a project at college and daydreamed about doing it for real one day.

 

XETH: Have you got any exhibitions in the near future?

PC: Yes a joint one with Ed Kluz at Potterton Books for all December – a lovely little bookshop with collectable books on design/artists/architecture etc then a large solo show at the.gallery@oxo next May.

XETH: If you weren’t an illustrator/printmaker what other career would you have chosen?

PC: In all honesty I don’t know – I think I’ve survived and made a living from this because I wouldn’t contemplate anything else.

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