Shapes and colors

While silkscreen (also known as serigraphy) has long been used to produce posters and reproductions of famous art pieces, its use to make original works of art is relatively recent.

Despite a few earlier cases, the medium really came of age with the american movements known as "pop art" and "op-art", who used the bright colors and sharp outlines so characteristic of silkscreens to both mock and emulate commercial illustrations, where the technique had been used for some time already.

The best-known "pop" artists to use silkscreen are undoubtedly Roy Lichtenstein (1923-) and Andy Warhol (1929-1987), who is best remembered for his famous renditions of Marilyn Monroe and of the Campbell soup can.

Warhol - Goethe
Andy Warhol - Goethe - 1982
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The technique consists of creating a number of "screens", pieces of fabric mounted on rectangular frames. The fabric must be porous enough to let paint flow through. An image is then created by "blocking" some portions of the screen, so that any paint applied to the screen will only come through where the screen is still porous. A separate screen is made for each different color to be used, each of them being successively used to add a layer of a particular color to the paper. Once each layer has been applied, the final image is completed.

Sometimes, the artist can use the same screens more than once for a single art piece, such as Warhol's Goethe, above. The same set of screens is used with a different color scheme, to produce varied repetitions of the same subject.

Often, silkscreen artists will use photographic material as their model, and now even computer-generated images can be used to produce screens. However, the actual preparation of the screens, as well as the production of each individual piece, still remain completely manual processes.

Three artist on the Rue du Trésor uses silkscreen as their main mode of production:

Arthur Aron

Gérard Lachaussée