Screen prints are made with an art technique that dates all the way back to the 960-1279 Chinese Song Dynasty. The process involves using a silk screen (hence the alternate term, silk-screening) to impart images upon a canvas, and the craft eventually gained interest throughout Europe in the 18th century. Samuel Simon recognized the medium's potential for producing advertising materials, and he established a 1907 patent for its use in England. Thereafter, artists realized that screen-printing could be utilized to inexpensively mass-produce and promote their works.
Screen-printing is similar to stenciling. A mesh screen is stretched over a wood or aluminum frame, and then placed over what's going to be the finished piece. An illustration or a photographic or printed image is put on the screen, and areas of the screen are blocked to denote negative space. A squeegee is used to forcibly press the paint or ink through the screen to create the picture. Alternatively, artists employ a photo emulsion technique, where reactive chemicals and light exposure produce the portraits.
A collective of artists formed the National Serigraph Society in the 1930s to create awareness about non-commercial screen-printing. Harry Gottlieb was a notable artist of vintage screen prints, with works such as Industrial Plant and Winter on the Creek. A couple of decades later, Roy Lichtenstein, known for his signature Ben-Day dot artwork, also delved into screen-printing. His 1968 Wallpaper is a stylized arrangement of geometric shapes, with a burst of yellow set against dark hues. It's an interesting contrast to Andy Warhol's flashy 1962 Marilyn Monroe and 1975 Mick Jagger series, which further popularized the Pop Art movement. Today, serigraph-designed clothing, event flyers, and posters show the enduring inspiration for artists to create vibrant collages and visual socio-political commentaries.
There's quite a variety of themes, ranging from Corita Kent's rainbow-hued Love is hard work to Eduardo Paolozzi's whimsical Bash collage. See what catches your eye as you shop screen prints from our sellers' collection shelves.
Antique advertisements, bold vintage pop art, or bright contemporary motifs - which screen prints capture your imagination?