This weekend I took a break from making music and focused on a different creative activity. I’m admittedly not a visual artist, but some years ago I taught myself how to screen print. My main interest in this art form was born from a strong DIY work ethic, and a desire to be a self sufficient musician by making my own t-shirts and posters. I remember my first screen printing endeavor quite well. I had decided to print the packaging for my first ever CD (Abandon Ship), and I was convinced I could make it work. Let’s just say it kind of half worked. I printed a handful of cd cases, however some of the text didn’t print legibly, and eventually it became a bigger headache than it was worth.
The main problem was that I didn’t really have adequate equipment. I was constructing my own screens out of empty frames and stapling the mesh fabric to the frame. This worked ok once I figured out how to get the material stretched tight enough across the frame. Secondly, I didn’t have any sort of “press”, which holds the screen in one place while you’re printing, among other things. It’s an important piece of the puzzle, and I finally got the main pieces together. To date, I’ve printed all of my own t-shirts, shirts for other bands, and a handful of posters.
The act of physically creating a printed image is exhilarating in the same way that recording a song can be. You start with a blank page, then use your own two hands, a few tools, and you’ve created something that now lives in physical space and time. Maybe it’s my rebellion against the digital age. Maybe it’s my need for independence. I think mostly, it’s a desire to leave the world with something created by my own two hands.