To Catch Some Sleep | Fairy Tales Reimagined brings two "firsts" to dearantler: the show brings screen printing to our gallery for the first time, and it's the first-ever collaboration between E+J to be shown at dearantler.
The artists split everything about To Catch Some Sleep down the middle: selecting which fairy tales would make the cut, designing the prints, cutting the stencils, blending the inks, and finally, printing. This differs from E+J's usual creative process, where they each run with their individual ideas and pursue them alone, occasionally checking in with each other for critique or to ask for assistance along the way. I enjoy seeing what those two come up with individually for each show, but I must say that this collaboration was great fun to watch. For days and days, the dearantler studio was filled with a rainbow of ink jars, ink-stained aprons and half-finished prints rotating endlessly between the printing table and the drying rack.
E+J challenged themselves to reduce the essence of classic fairy tales to a few graphic elements. While they are not the first artists to offer a minimalist take on fairy tales (in fact, there are quite a few interesting examples on the interweb), they were inspired to create a new visual lexicon to communicate well-known children's tales using limited colors and visual cues.
This show took longer than previous shows to complete. All in all, 45 distinct print runs, each for a separate print element repeated 12 times, were necessary to produce the nine prints comprising the exhibition. I'm no mathematician, but my buckPhone calculator app tells me that adds up to doing the printing deed 540 individual times. Wowza.
Q: What is screen printing?
A: Screen printing is a printmaking method, popularized in the 1960s by artists such as Andy Warhol, that uses a stencil (in this case contact paper) applied onto woven fabric stretched to an open frame. Using a printing squeegee, ink is pressed through the open areas to print on paper, board, fabric, plastic or metal placed under the frame. Screen printing was traditionally done with a screen stretched with silk fabric, and is thus sometimes called silk screening (or serigraphy, from the Latin for "silk").
Each element of a different color, including a solid-colored background, requires a separate stencil and thus a separate print run. The print designs in To Catch Some Sleep ranged from 3 to 10 elements, requiring screen cleaning, stencil application and inking for each separate run. This lengthy and complex process contrasts with the abstract minimalism that the designs imply. The printing process certainly wasn't minimal.
We hope you enjoy the show -- and, if we may, we suggest the evening hours to do your gallery viewing. We're told this show has a rather soporific effect on viewers.
Q: I'm intrigued! Where can I see the prints in To Catch Some Sleep?
A: To Catch Some Sleep will be up in dearantler's virtual gallery from February 21 to April 4. If virtual viewing doesn't cut it for you and you're feeling like being a patron of the arts, you may purchase original (rare and limited!) prints at our Etsy shop, or shop for print reproductions or merchandise including t-shirts, phone cases and lots more at Society6. If you live in the Los Angeles area and purchase one of our original works through Etsy or directly through us, we may be able to save you the shipping costs and arrange hand (or hoof) delivery.
Q: Where can I see more of your work?
A: dearantler is venturing outside the confines of the virtual for the months of February, March and April. We are honored to be part of a the Co-LAb 2.0 Launch group show at Co-LAb Gallery in Highland Park, California. Many dearantler works that have only been seen on computer and smartphone screens will be on view, live and in the flesh. The show will be up for 3 months at 5319 York Blvd., Los Angeles, 90042.
Q: What's with the show's title?
A: Like all past dearantler shows, the title of this show is loosely borrowed from an Alfred Hitchcock film title -- in this case the 1956 classic To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.
Q: Did you listen to any music while you spent countless hours toiling, sweating and printing?
A: Lots! Here is some of what we listened to.
- David Bowie's Berlin Trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger)
- Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain
- Alt-J, This Is All Yours
- Perfume Genius, Too Bright
- Destoyer, This Night
- Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear
- Valerie June, Pushin' Against a Stone