Christopher Pratt has often worked in silkscreen printing. He chose silkscreen printing as a graphic medium because it was something he could do in a rural studio without a darkroom or machinery; a "cottage industry," as he has described it.
Perhaps the best way to learn about his silkscreen process is from the following quote, excerpted from the introduction Pratt wrote for the book, The Prints of Christopher Pratt 1958-1991:
"I have used
that very elementary equipment and process to the present time, and nothing
else. My prints always proceed from drawings that are little more than
diagrams. Usually, these are the end product of many studies - sketches,
drawings, occasionally collages - but there is really no 'original'; the
prints do not copy or reproduce pre-existing oil paintings or watercolours.
This 'diagram' serves as a basic plan for the image, in line. The sense
of light, the colour and tonal structure emerge in the actual printing.
Making a stencil, I work directly on the silk, using watercolour brushes
or a ruling pen to apply glue or lacquer as a block-out, so my stencils
are all 'negatives'; that is, I fill in those parts of the screen, lines,
shapes and dots, where I want no ink to pass through. I only use one actual
screen frame, so each successive stencil irrevocably destroys or defaces
its predecessor. After printing a stencil, there is no going back: like
navigating a ship, you always have to proceed from where you are, even
if it isn't where you thought you were, or even where you hoped to be."
Stencils can be made in a variety of ways, including photo transfer onto light sensitive films, cut films, collage block-out or, most directly, by painting a block-out, such as lacquer or glue, directly onto the screen. The latter is the technique Pratt has used exclusively.
Take a moment to look at Pratt's proofing process for his 1991 silkscreen called A Boat and the Moon.
return to process/media