Silkscreen Painting

Silkscreen paintings are often associated with the likes of screen painting and are sometimes related to the art of print making. This is because it is a technique by which the artist uses silk screens to produce an artwork while demonstrating some skills in colour and image composition. In silkscreen paintings, the images are often used for the sake of composition and it is sometimes regarded by theorists that it is not entirely a form of art.

Screen paintings originated from a long historical list of printmaking techniques and this stems from the likes of woodblock printing, printing press, etching, mezzotint, lithography, chromolithography, hot metal typesetting, phototypesetting and many others. Naturally, this art form would also embrace modern technology where it has also incorporated the likes of inkjet printing, 3D printing and digital press. Typically, it is a technique in printing where a woven mesh is used to support an ink-blocking stencil. This means that the stencil is used to imprint a certain image or text onto the surface.

Silkscreens are commonly used in the area of t-shirt and apparel printing where the screen is placed on top of the textile and then fabric dye is applied and a squeegee sweeps the paint across the screen. Historically, this type of stencilling is said to have originated from China before it moved across to other countries like Japan and others. It would then grow to Western Europe and became more popular after silk mesh was brought there through the east and western trade links.

The reason why silk mesh is used is because it is a very thin layer of fabric that will allow the paint to seep through the transparent part of the image and onto the surface. Perhaps one of the most popular artists who have made silk screen paintings a way of making art would be pop art legend Andy Warhol whose paintings of Marilyn Monroe has placed him among the greats of contemporary art. Since then, the use of silk screen in paintings have grown and become quite a common way of making art among artists who proceeded after him. The techniques of silk screen are not only in the printing but also in the actions that ensue after that. While one can easily print an image on a canvas, it would be how the composition is carried out and what the artist paints on it that eventually makes the painting a good one.


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