LIFE ON THE BIG SCREEN
Broadside Print are an independent screen printer local to us in Exeter, Devon. Specialising in fashion and leisurewear garments Broadside’s attention to detail and passion for experimentation has brought us together on numerous occasions to produce Chapeau! apparel. With a new range of t-shirts coming soon, we took the opportunity to have a chat with Dan about how it all started.
"Hours of meticulous stripping, cleaning, coating, drying, exposing, washing and taping."
What is your creative background, did you study graphic design or illustration?
I guess the creative process started with ream upon ream of the old dot matrix computer paper (yeah that long ago). I did the classic art student route of A level, foundation studies specialising in photography then on to Plymouth Uni, based here in Exeter, to continue in the Design Photography field. I’m no photographer at heart or by hand but the processes learned, especially in the darkroom have been invaluable for screen production.
When did you first get into screen printing, and at what point did you start investing in your own gear?
I’ve been printing for 4 years, as long as Broadside has been operating. It was thanks to a close friend, Kevin Pallett, that the screen printing started. We met at university, he studied visual arts and used screen printing regularly in his work. Kevin worked as a commercial printer and in education as a technician and always believed it could be done better, for better reasons and for better scenes, groups and people. Through our shared love of music, cycling, skating, art and a mutual belief in those fundamental ideals that Broadside started up.
What is your technical set up now?
Our first studio was actually in the old university dark room that we had both used 10 years previously! Funny how things all come round again. We had some really cheap, beat up second hand kit that with some TLC and determination got us through the first 3 years of printing.
I’m still well pleased with the level of work we were able to produce on that old setup. Unfortunately, due to family commitments, Kevin left for pastures new and it’s been a solo effort for coming up 2 years in the summer.
What’s your favourite part of the process of printing?
Coming from a photographic background I find the screen exposing process to be the most satisfying. A good print is made or ruined by the quality of the screen prep and stencil production. Hours of meticulous stripping, cleaning, coating, drying, exposing, washing and taping of screens goes on before any ink comes anywhere near being involved.
Do you like to experiment with techniques and colours?
I’ve actually really enjoyed working with the bamboo shirts, the weave of the material is very close and the smoothness allows for such a crisp defined print.
The ink mixing and colour matching area is a great place for honing techniques and trying new formulas to get the most out of the finished article. The ratios and percentages of additives and pigments are so precise it becomes almost a lab rather than a print shop.
Are you a fan of cycling yourself?
I’m really lucky to be working in and around the scenes that I enjoy in my personal life. I am a big cycling fan so it’s great to be working with such a great and enthusiastic bunch of like minded people like you at Chapeau! We’re doing some CX soon — get those jerseys filthy!
How diverse is the work you do, are there common themes?
The studio is slap bang in the middle of Exeter’s independent business, retail and cafe/bar district. Fore Street is an amazing place with so many great people all doing what they love and are passionate about. Places Like No Guts No Glory, The Bike Shed, Sandyman’s Chop Shop and Chapeau!. It’s got such a fantastic vibe and I’m so pleased to be a part of it.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
Just before the Chapeau order I was working on the merchandice for Jeff Rosenstock’s euro tour and coming up I’ll be working with the Muncie Girls after the successful launch of their amazing first album.
We’re really excited about the new products coming out of Broadside, both our own and the rest of the output. Huge thanks to Dan for his constant enthusiasm, attention to detail and will to experiment.