Friday, December 29, 2006

Punk rock fabric stenciling, and some thoughts on artist's business models

Had an interesting dream last night, in which I painted an interesting grafito. First time in years, that I've dreamed about a simple graphic which I was able to accurately record upon waking. While it would be superstitious to attach to much significance to these occurances, I generally wake up feeling energized and creative when it happens.

I was discussing this with Sky, just a bit a go, and showing him some other simple graphics I have been working on. I have been thinking about designs which would work well as Cafe Press items, but the conversation with Sky caused me to realize that I oughtta try screenprinting them myself. Or at least producing some by hand for more local, impromptu sales.

Anyway, so all this had me looking back through my previous DIY posts, and through an older post on cheap and easy screenprinting, found this post on DIY silkscreening, which is probably how I will approach some of my latest graphic designs. I end up browsing over craftgrrl for other cheap, punk rock visual techniques and came across this discussion about achieving greater control and results from the use of freezer paper stencils. This was a hack that was entirely new to me.

Basically you trace the stencil on plastic or wax coated freezer paper, and lightly iron all the edges. Then you dab fabric paint through the stencil. Certainly a one time stencil, but I can think of times in which it be cool to do a one-off piece this way. For airbrushing textiles, and perhaps even other suraces, this could be a really could be a really cool inexpensive friskett or masking film. And really up until now, I hadn't heard of any real satisfactory masking materials for say airbrushing t-shirts. Most pros just use low-tack spray adhesive on stencil board, or hand shields, both solutions which are more suited to cranked out production designs, instead of one of a kind works of art.

Personally, I think a production model based on publishing might be the most satisfying, cost-effective, and profit-generating. This would consist of one orginal work, a very small edition of hand-painted shirts, a limited run of hand-printed shirts, and then an open run of mass-produced shirts. Seems like a pretty good low start-up cost, business model for a visual artist. The concept of doing prints of the piece on t-shirts has a nice WPA-era populist-era vibe to it. 'Cause almost everybody likes a really cool t-shirt.

Anyway, I picked up a 100' by 18" roll of one sided plastic coated freezer paper for about $6. Nothing compared to normal airbrush frisket, which really isn't suitable for most textile projects and frequently costs ten times as much. I should be mucking about with it in the next few days. If anyone out there has experience, tips, or links related to this process, I'd love to see some comments on this. I'm especially curious if anyone has tried this on leather or primed artist's canvas.

No comments: