Journal

1st Anniversary of Beanwave Editions

It’s been a year since the ink dried on the first of the Beanwave Editions. The traditional 1st anniversary gift is paper, which is highly appropriate in the circumstances. Perhaps I should treat myself to a few sheets to celebrate? Meanwhile, here’s a look back at our screenprints from the first 12 months.

Be Yourself*
This was the result of what Bob Ross would call “a happy little accident”. Experimenting with magenta ink, when it is printed onto orange paper it creates a lovely rusty red which I wasn’t expecting, but it worked a treat, giving a warmth and a retro 60s/70s feel. Experimenting with different colour paper and inks like this is what makes screen printing so fascinating. Having spent years in graphic design having millions of pages of brochures, leaflets and magazines printed using CMYK litho, being able to play with translucence and paper colour is liberating. *Always read the smallprint.

Shake ‘Em
A quirky print, this one, it’s quite camp I think. Their expressions still make me chuckle. I found a 19th century illustration of some pretty freaky highland dancing, which made me think of that famous quote from the film Dirty Dancing: “Oh, come on ladies. God wouldn’t have given you maracas if he didn’t want you to shake ’em!”. The vibrant colours look fantastic against a rich, dark coloured wall.

Flowers #1
A personal one-off print. Lockdown had started and Mothering Sunday was approaching, so these flowers were printed with the help of my daughter as her present for Mummy. This was the first print where the lack of a vacuum table proved a challenge, but you can read about how I overcame that issue in this journal article. Really pleased with how this worked out and planning to do some more floral prints this year.

Slow Down
It started out with a vintage illustration of a snail, but as I stretched, distorted and overlaid the Cooper Black type, it became a purely typographic print. These have a bit of a psychedelic feel about them and they’re personal favourites of mine. In a world that’s gone a bit haywire, I have this on the wall, as a friendly reminder to appreciate the value of taking time and learning to slow down.

Let’s Get Ready to Fumble
I was invited into The Printmakers’ Showcase international print swap on the theme of connections. My thoughts immediately went in a cheeky, typographic, colourful and quirky direction. I didn’t really set out in printmaking with an artistic direction in mind, but there seems to be one emerging, nevertheless. Something I’ve found frustrating this year is that while neon pink looks amazing in the flesh, it’s impossible to capture in a photo or on screen – it always looks darker and less vibrant.

Go On, Do It
This started out as a screen test, where I was experimenting with distressing type. I put it on Instagram and was surprised to find it got a massive reaction (well, not quite Kardashian levels, but ‘massive’ on my small scale!). Creative Boom re-posted it. People started to DM asking to buy the test prints. I wasn’t totally in love with it myself, but printed an edition of 12, and that sold out. The simple phrase seems to have struck a chord, and so I did a second edition on pink paper which is also close to selling out. What next? There is a green edition coming soon, which is my favourite so far – the neon pink looks amazing on green paper… look out for it in the shop.

No Hurry, No Worry
The snail image found a home in the end. Went through a lot of colours before getting it right. The edition on pink paper is my favourite, but the white edition has been more popular. See, you never can tell.

You’ll Neeever Walk Alone
As a Liverpool fan, with the team on the brink of the first title for 30 years, the delay caused by Covid was torture. Waiting for the season to resume, thoughts turned to the past 30 years. What stood out more than what had changed, was what remained. The belief encapsulated by four little words, belted out. So I created type with a handmade feel, reminiscent of banners on the Kop, and belted it out the day after the title was in the bag in three colours – red, gold and dark red. A limited edition of 30 (what else?!) signed and numbered in pencil.

Jog On, Sunshine
I found some stock 1970s office illustrations which were very dated (men as the boss, pointing at charts in meetings, women as secretaries, typing, doing the filing). So I thought I would be fun to twist it and empower these women, put them in the driving seat. Whatever it is he’s after, she ain’t having any of his nonsense.

You Got This
I generally tend to over-think things, but this print was just instinctive. Inadvertently it kind of summed up 2020, really. An edition of just 3, each one in a different colour scheme. Hard to pick a fave. So I won’t. But it’s the green one.

Big Love
Playing around with type, I hit upon the idea of creating a heart-shaped counter in the V, which allowed me to run more of the ‘love’ text off the edge without losing readability. Distressing the type not only adds a nice vintage feel, it also makes the heart look less forced and more natural. I decided to make this print an open edition, as putting any kind of limit on love seemed wrong.

And that’s all folks, the end of the first year of Beanwave Editions. Some of these prints are still available in the shop. Can’t wait to see what year two has in store…

28th February 2021

File under: Art Prints, Screenprints, Print, Design, Typography


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