‘Life’ Screen Print Poster Exhibition by ‘Heaps Good’ a group of Aussie designers in conjunction with London Print Club.
Heaps Good started as a way of putting out an Aussie presence in the UK that was leaning more towards creative stuff rather than the Walkabout vibe. So we made a little blog in September last year and started just putting up Aussie gigs or things we noticed around town and tried to get our friends involved. Pretty sporadic and inconsistent in nature but we did what we felt like when we heard about something coming up. We ended up getting to a lot of gigs and promoted a few which was a great side-benefit. We also did some quick interviews with designers, artist and even a coupe of make-up designers to find out what people do here and why. Among the guys we’ve had design our header are Kareena Zerefos and Timba Smits who are two great Aussie artists doing there thing over here. We have met some great artists over here and some great connections we wouldnt have otherwise and decided we should pool it together and have an exhibition to bring Heaps Good into the world physically.
So ‘Life’ was born to promote Aussie art in the UK and to raise some money for charity in the process. Having an exhibition of Aussie artwork away from Aus is very tricky to pull off and at about the same time we were considering putting something together I met the guys at the Print Club. We came up with the idea of screenprinting all the works here in the UK so the artists only had to submit their work over the interweb and cut out the logisitcs, so we had our medium. The next couple of months we spent gathering artists from around the globe who were interested and organising the bugger bit by bit, with only a vague idea of how to do it and a vision for the end result that kept us going.
To cut costs and to tie in with the charity RED we made it that all artists create a two-screen artwork, with one of the colours used being red. We ended up with an ink, paper and alcohol sponsorship and it was all set to be a low-cost show so we booked in East Gallery on Brick Lane instead of having it somewhere free, figuring that foot traffic would account for big sales and a successful show for the charity.
After all the planning in the world, aiming to do five works a week for a month we ended up beginning printing two weeks out from the show. Our inks were shipped really late and ended up being held in customs for weeks so three weeks out we had to fork out for inks and get on with it, so there went a few hundred quid. 21 works, 30 prints of each, only 10 sheets for mistakes each, 2 colours, no positives yet, two new screens just arrived, half the paper ordered and some artworks not decided on yet left us in a very shit position with only 15 days to print 630 prints and with no experience in printing whatsoever. I went to the Print Club everyday for two and a half weeks and we ended up getting it done, even if it meant leaving two very important artworks by Reg Mombassa and Timba Smits up to chance while I went to Glastonbury the week before the show.
The guys at the Print Club very kindly donated their help and expertise and together we got it done with amazing results, but it was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. And it ended up costing a packet with the paper being not free, but cost price, the inks not showing up (until the last day of printing!) the gallery fee and screenprinting bits we had no idea about like emulsions, positives and medium. But we went ahead with everything and the opening night went amazingly. Even just seeing the first print being completed, the first artwork being framed, the room of artworks hung and people purchasing them was just so rewarding at every step. My shoes were green from spilt emulsion and my fingers stunk for most of the time.
A day consisted usually of 10 hours spent up at the Print Club, starting at 10-ish with a ‘what-the-fuck-did-we-get-done-yesterday’ to quickly figuring out what we had ink for, which positives needed ordering and where the hell the screens are in the warehouse. Starting one colour and taking two hours with it because it would keep drying in, fixing bleed holes and registration (bits of card with masking tape on them) and ending the day on a roll with no idea how we go there and two two-colour artworks down. Sometimes three. I ate once a day at the kebab shop around the corner and last a bit of weight just because I was so into it I wouldnt dare leave the warehouse half way through any task. At the end though, we had this collection of works that look amazing sitting on the drying racks, and even better framed in the gallery. We went through our wine sponsorship in one night (18 cases) and then partied on til the morning at XOYO for the afterparty. A job well done. What we are left with now is finally donating the proceeds from the first 55 artworks sold and trying to push online sales, because after we sell 75, we cover our costs and RED gets double the amount.
We aren’t doing work as a result of the show, to be honest it was the Print Club techs that produced the show, without them we would have been lost, they really came through. Me and the other two or so guys in Heaps Good that helped out had done a one day crash-course up there. It was baptism by fire, by the end of the process I knew the whole precess of screenprinting back the front and could even fix a few problems. And to put it lightly I am not planning on doing any screenprinting again any time soon haha.
One of our artists, James McNamara was involved in the process, but I printed his artwork, not him ha!
We have sold 55 artworks so far and are continuing to have them available on the Print Club website at http://www.printclublondon.com/shop/category/heaps_good/
Once we sell 75 we can donate our costs, so from most artworks £40 of the £50 goes to RED, so we want to keep them going online!
Story by James Tranter