What was your role at the workshop, and can you tell us a little about what that role entailed?

I was hired as a production assistant and after a short apprenticeship took over responsibility for all screenprinting operations at TGL. This involved mixing inks, creating screens with a variety of methods (handcut, photo, painted) and printing of editions. The workshop was fairly collaborative, so some of my time was spent in other areas – some curating, some paper making, litho stone grinding, assisting other printers.

Can you outline some of the technical processes involved in your work?

The screenprinting operation was fairly conventional in many ways, but the level of accuracy required was unusual – very tight registration, with colors butting instead of overlapping. And color itself was a challenge – very accurate mixing of large batches of ink. The biggest challenges involved working with very large prints. Ken Tyler developed a special screen press for a Frank Stella series – the pieces were 5’ x 7’ – figuring out how to print this big was uncharted territory.

Can you tell us about the atmosphere at the studio? What did you enjoy most about working there?

The atmosphere was mostly good, while being very demanding. Hours were long, weekend work was not unusual, and there was often a lot of pressure to produce to tight schedules. But mostly there was a feeling of people collaborating on work they enjoyed. Because the artists often visited for a week or two at a time, we had the opportunity to see various creative approaches and working methods – some very well planned, and some seeming to be conjured up on the fly. This was very valuable for me.

Do you still work in the arts? How did your time with TGL affect your career path?

In college I studied design and printmaking. Shortly after leaving TGL in 1980 I moved to Boston and began working as a graphic designer, and have stayed in this field. My interest, unsurprisingly, tends toward print, rather than interactive. I am a dedicated entrepreneur, having been self-employed for the past 26 years, and I attribute some of that to the entrepreneurial spirit at TGL. Ken simply had a way of getting things done, which I think about often. My experience as a printer has also given me insight into the manufacturing aspects of the design profession, which has been a great help.

Do you have a favourite project from TGL, or did you have a particularly memorable experience with a specific artist? Can you explain a little about what made that project or person special?

I most enjoyed working with the artist Alan Shields. His working method, which involved a recycling and rebirth of materials from one project to the next, was a revelation. He was also just a very unconventional and friendly guy. Printing and fabricating his paper constructions was a lot of fun.

Can you share your favourite memory of the workshop with us?

Not really one specific moment. There was a feeling of camaraderie with printers Rodney Konopaki, John Hutcheson, Betty Cotton, Steve Reeves (and others) that is my strongest memory from my years at TGL.

Image:

Steve Reeves and Kim Halliday screen printing Frank Stella's 'Bonin Night Heron' from the 'Exotic birds' series, Tyler Graphics screen room, Bedford Village, New York, 1978. Photographer: Lindsay Green

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated July 2014