The James Gleeson oral history collection
James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists
Boxed grader 1971
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Print, stencil. Technique: screenprint, printed in colour, from multiple stencils
printed image 91.3 h x 66.5 w cm
25 September 1979
James Gleeson: Well, as long as we’ve got it on record, we’ll be able to look back at it. Well, the only other one we have are Boxed grader 1971, screenprint.
Ken Reinhard: Yes, that’s one of four silkscreen prints that I did at the time. It’s dated ‘71. Now, they were done for that same exhibition, were they? No, ‘71. They were done for—dear, oh dear, it’s all confusing, isn’t it? It’s dated ‘71 so they must have been done in ‘71. But there are only four of them, Boxed grader, a thing called E type stripe, Body stripe, and Double stripe.
James Gleeson: I see.
Ken Reinhard: There were 50 in each edition, and they’re the only prints that I’ve ever done. There was another print that I did before that which was a terrible thing, which fortunately I didn’t let too many out of my sight.
James Gleeson: Where did you do these? Did you have your own equipment to do them?
Ken Reinhard: No, no. I did the original art work for them and then I supervised their printing.
James Gleeson: When you say ‘they’?
Ken Reinhard: Well, the four of them. It was done by a firm in Oxford Street, Rowell Screenprints, I think they were called. I don’t think they’re there anymore.
James Gleeson: I see.
Ken Reinhard: But they were done on a fairly large manually operated screenprinting machine because they’re about—well, it’s got a size on there, hasn’t it, which is in centimetres? Which throws me totally; I still think in inches. Ninety-one point four by sixty-six point six. Is that the size of the image or the size of the paper, would that be?
James Gleeson: I think it would probably be the size of the paper.
Ken Reinhard: Size of the paper. Yes, I’ve got them over in the studio. I’ve got other copies of them. But it was a fairly simple three-colour. I think there’s black, green and blue in that. I think this part’s green and there’s blue behind that, using in this case a photograph of a road grader, which is earth-moving equipment, which I took near where I used to live.
James Gleeson: You’ve never done any other screenprinting since then?
Ken Reinhard: No. Primarily because the imagery and the technology that produced that is so close to the imagery of the one only objects.
James Gleeson: Yes.
Ken Reinhard: That there seemed little reason to do it other than commercial reasons. I must admit that up until quite recently commercial motives were absolutely non-existent in my attitude to my work. In fact, I recall having said to somebody that I’d be very upset if my work sold because it would mean I was producing work at the level of public understanding which meant I wasn’t extending myself. I do recall quite deliberately following the one show that did sell of saying to myself ‘I’m not going to do any more pencil drawings because people will buy them’. Now, of course, being a little older, a little wiser, a little more mature, I’ll do anything that people will buy.
James Gleeson: Oh, yes.