What is a serigraph?
Serigraph prints are original works of art made individually by hand.
Not be confused with commercially published reproduction
prints which (even though they may be signed and numbered) are merely
copies of existing artwork. Nor should they be confused with "giclée" prints
which are computer-generated copies of existing artwork: "giclée" is simply
a French word for "inkjet".
Traditionally, an original print involves the artist preparing a plate, block, stone
or stencil from which to take a number of impressions on to high quality paper.
This is called an edition; the prints are then individually titled and signed by the
artist. They are also usually numbered (eg "5/20" identifies the fifth print in an
edition of 20 prints) before the plate, block or stencil is finally destroyed.
Silkscreen printing is a sophisticated version of stencilling. For each colour, a
stencil is applied to a tightly stretched screen of fine mesh (usually a polyester
fabric rather than silk these days). Thick ink is poured onto the screen and pressed
with a "squeegee" through the open areas of the screen onto the paper beneath.
The whole edition is printed in the first colour and then, when dry, overprinted with
the next colour.
Stencils can be made with cut or torn paper, masking fluid painted directly onto
the screen, or by using a photo-sensitive stencil film which can reproduce a
photographic image (such as Andy Warhol's "marilyn") or any drawn or painted
lines and shapes.
Aside from the obvious benefit of producing an edition of prints, making the
artist's work more available and affordable, this technique of silkscreen printing
has its own special qualities. One of its beauties is the ability to produce pure,
crisp areas of colour.