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Screen Printing: Art, Ad, or Alchemy
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Screen Printing: Art, Ad, or Alchemy

Author: SmartWork Media

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Screen Printing: Art, Ad, or Alchemy? covers the wide variety of uses of the world’s oldest printing technology in its modern form. The podcast introduces listeners to the people and the magic behind the squeegee. From leading-edge medical devices fighting COVID, to fine art and rock posters, the clothes you wear and the teams you cheer for, the electronic devices and new energy sources that will guide our future – it’s a screen printed world out there, and host Andy MacDougall will take you into it.
20 Episodes
In Episode 20, Andy MacDougall interviews Dan Gilsdorf, of Sefar USA about the hidden and lucrative world of functional and industrial screen printing. The world of functional and industrial (F&I) printing is hiding around us in plain sight. Since first appearing in the 1940’s, F&I has managed to avoid the U.S. and Canadian governments, who still consider print as predominately on paper. The average person wouldn’t know about F&I printing and, I have to say it, the average T-shirt or poster printer is blind to it as well. That’s even though we collectively use the products that rely on this category of printing in their manufacturing process hundreds and thousands of times every day. You’re reading this on a device full of print. How big is this market? Massive. And growing. Imagine we stack up every cell phone and tablet ever made. Next, add all of your consumer electronics and appliances. Then we throw every car windshield on the pile. Dashboards and touchscreens. And we add all the solar cells. Include hydrogen fuel cells and let’s scrape the inside of every Boeing airliner. The wallpaper technically is graphic screen printing, but its function is fire-resistance. Next, we dump on all the Covid rapid tests, diabetic test strips, and a bunch of nicotine patches. Pretty big pile? We’re only getting started. All this and more on this episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion column from the March/April 2024 digital edition.
In episode #19, Andy MacDougall interviews legendary flatstock poster printer Tuffy Tuffington, VP of the American Poster Institute, the non-profit that runs the Flatstock Exhibitions of rock poster art. For 20-plus years, the exhibition has taken place at major music festivals around the world. With the rise in popularity of attending music and other events that need merch such as posters, Tuffington expects the flatstock poster shows will grow locations. With a pent-up demand from the Covid Blues, live music performances and touring are way up, attendance at events is up, and he says most bands have finally twigged to the economic and logistical advantages having a cool poster available at the merch table brings. Mr. T has seen personal demand for poster design and production more than double in the past year, exceeding pre-Covid numbers.All this and more on this episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion article from the January/February 2024 digital edition.
In episode 18, Andy MacDougall reflects on the history and the future of an industry more diverse than many realize. From control panels and electronic interfaces to batteries and biomedical devices – even contributions to Allied victory in WWII – screen printing has always been so much more than decorated apparel. Moving forward, opportunities abound in active clothing, the Internet of Things, clean energy, and beyond. Linked by a common process, our community of squeegee draggers is often underappreciated, but just as influential as everAll this and more on this episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion column from the November/December digital edition.
In episode 17, Andy MacDougall interviews Richie Goodtimes, a textile and poster production artist who suddenly went blind. Richie’s story is one of coming back from the edge. In the course of diving into his background, we also dive into a parallel story that is less personal, but also relevant. That’s the story of GP, or, a legendary forum that begat the Flatstock show prior to becoming a shell of its former self.All this and more on this episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion column from the September/October digital edition.
In Episode 16, Andy MacDougall interviews Nick Rhodes. Nick’s story illuminates why it could be a mistake for anyone (particularly North American politicians, educational institutions, and trade associations) to essentially write off screen printing for anything other than decorating apparel. In this case, print – in a few different forms, not just screen – is a potential solution to yet another 21st-century problem created by humans: declining bee populations. All this and more on this episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion column from the July/August digital edition.
In Episode 15, Andy MacDougall interviews Julia Murphy, a founding member of Pedal Press ( She believes screen printing can offer kids who maybe don’t fit into high school academics (or even high school) an opportunity not only to learn, but eventually, to earn,as well.Although Julia’s work and story are unique, this edition of “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” touches on a theme from previous podcasts: attracting new talent to the screen printing industry.All this and more on the latest episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion column from the May/June digital edition.
In Episode 14, Andy MacDougall interviews industry vet Rick Roth. Rick and his wife, Pam, run the ongoing “Shop Talk” interview program at Impressions Expos under the banner of the Ink Kitchen ( Rick chats with players in the garment decorating industry. They share insights into all aspects of the trade. Through YouTube and their website and social media, this advice is free (altruism – what a concept).Andy and Rick discuss the live-printed poster that raised more than $15k during Impressions Expo Long Beach for Care Closet, a local nonprofit.
In Episode 13, Andy MacDougall interviews Edward Cook, recently retired head of ECI Technologies, past chair of SGIA/PU, SCREEN PRINTING Editorial Advisory Board member, and a screen printer who sees one of the main challenges to the ongoing health of our print industry is the lack of talented young creatives coming in.
Episode 12 continues the exploration of the fascinating world of functional print, where screen printing still rules. Our two guests represent the creators of the specialized materials being printed, and the companies who turn these materials into the Human Machine Interfaces, sensors, and control systems that are everywhere in every appliance or vehicle. Join host Andy MacDougall, Dr. Julie Ferrigno of, and Brian Violette of as they try to make this hidden-in-plain-sight sector of printing a bit more visible and understandable. All this and more on this episode of "Art, Ad, or Alchemy?" podcast and companion column from the November/December digital edition.
In this podcast, Printing United returns, some hosers in Canadia get lit and loud, I take exception to a misleading image in a rival publication, and we launch a new series of interviews on industrial and functional print with industry veteran Ron Hayden of RH Solutions. We move past Art and Ad, onto Alchemy. The size and scope of the industrial and functional usage touches every segment of society and the electronics that run them. All this and more on this month’s Art, Ad, or Alchemy podcast and companion column from the September/October digital edition.
Squeegeerama 2022’s guest host, Dan Stiles, details his unique and impressive poster making methods. Only he could intertwine conductive materials and lights into his screen printed posters. Listen to learn more about the Portland, Oregon-based designer who has worked with an impressive list of clients from many entertainment industries, and check out the accompanying column here.
Screen making is arguably the most important job in any shop, and it deserves to be respected as such. Dave Dennings of Kiwo gives the lowdown on the screen making process and explains how he ended up as an authority on the subject.
Andy MacDougall’s guests this episode are Billy Perkins, an Austin-based artist, and Dan MacAdam, an artist/printer from Chicago. Billy is a classic illustrator, inspired by comic book artists from his youth. Dan uses his own photographs of decrepit post-industrial buildings and machines scattered around Chicago as the basis of his unique work. They look gritty, but the technique he has evolved is anything but; it incorporates a mix of digital manipulation in prepress to separate colors and add elements like type and band names that fit the overall vibe. Both design posters for a variety of bands and performers, many you might recognize. Listen to their stories as they prepare for Flatstock 77 at the famed SXSW festival and conference in Austin, Texas. Read the accompanying column with images of Perkins’ and MacAdam’s artwork here.
Manolis Angelakis runs, a long-running Athens, Greece, screen printing shop that does graphic and textile printing, as well as experimental graphics with exotic inks, art prints, and displays for a range of clients in Europe. But it’s his unique live screen printing adventures Andy MacDougall explores in this episode. Formulating special skin-friendly inks, and printing - printing - yes printing, food at an annual charity event. Learn how the Greeks bring squeegees – and chocolate covered crepes – to the people. And see images discussed in the podcast here.
Today’s entrepreneurs are growing their operations and looking for tech help, automation information, and innovation in the apparel and fashion industries. Brett Bowden and Tom Davenport have made commitments outside their day-to-day businesses conceiving, promoting, and running education-oriented activities, including their latest venture MADELab. In the midst of a continuously changing industry, instead of abandoning it for greener pastures, MADElab has stuck with screen printing, continuing to embrace the process in production, and creating hands-on opportunities for learning and experimenting as screen printing morphs once again into new areas.
In the third of three Mitography, Manufacturing, and Makerspaces episodes, Adrian Granchelli, an engineer turned screen printer, joins Andy MacDougall to discuss his clothing line, his unique perspective in the industry, and the importance of makerspaces.
In the second of three Mitography, Manufacturing, and Makerspaces episodes, Luther Davis join Andy MacDougall to discuss the importance of welcoming, inspiring makerspaces as they bridge the gap between academic, creative and production worlds.
In the first of three Mitography, Manufacturing, and Makerspaces episodes, Graham Hayward and Linn Horntvedt join Andy MacDougall to discuss a five year renovation of an 1800s factory, equipment purchasing, and the importance of harvesting ideas.
Gemma Monostereo, a vivacious, do-it-all screen printer, and Andy MacDougall discuss trends and topics from Barcelona. They cover a lot of ground, from her first taste of screen printing, starting and growing Serigrafia Monostereo, the death of live music and the rock poster during COVID, and the new sources of print jobs. They talk favorite artists, women kicking it in the gig poster world, and the Brexit bonus.
Andy MacDougall dives into the world of biosensors and electrochemistry with guest Dr. Martin Peacock. Find out how screen printing revolutionized diabetes treatment worldwide, and is now on the frontlines of the battle with COVID.
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