Some of you may be thinking that there is no need to learn about the history of screen printing, however, understanding this rich history can be a valuable asset as it will give you an increased appreciation for your art work. As well, knowing the vast history of this art form will help you stay ahead of the game. As they say, you don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
A Brief History of Screen Printing
Song Dynasty: 960-1270 AD
The earliest evidence of screen printing can be traced back to the infamous Song Dynasty. The Japanese and other Asian cultures utilized some incredibly crude methods to develop and refine screen printing.
Welcome to Europe: Late 1700’s
Incredibly the art of screen printing stayed with the Asian culture for hundreds of years before it was finally brought to Europe. Although, this technique was introduced to Europe in the 1700’s, it would still take some time before it became fully accepted.
Samuel Simon: 1907
It wasn’t until 1907 that an Englishman by the name of Samuel Simon saw the power of screen printing and patented his own technique. Mr. Simon used his new screen printing patent to sell high quality wallpaper and stunning silk printed garments to the wealthy.
Screen Printing and Chemistry: 1910
As 1910 rolled around, more people such as Charles Peter, Roy Beck and Edward Owens began experimenting with chromic acid salt sensitized emulsions to create photo-reactive stencils (say that 3 times fast).
It turned out that their experiments were a success as these three pioneers revolutionized the screen printing process with their introduction of photo-imaged stencils
It was during the thirties that a group of artists, led by Guy Maccoy, decided to coin their own phrase, serigraphy, to differentiate between commercial screen printing and artistic screen printing.
Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe: 1962
Serigraphy became popular in the United States when Andy Warhol created a stunning depiction of Marilyn Monroe using screen printing techniques.
The Future of Screen Printing
The future is unknown but today, screen printing is widely used to create posters, t-shirts and other works of art.
As we have seen in the past, all it takes is one idea to spark a generation of artists. So what is the next big idea for screen printing?