Printing Apprenticeship Update: A Word from Alex Gilbert

A lot has happened since beginning Spudnik’s Printing Apprenticeship in February.

Through the Publishing Program I’ve been able to hone my screen printing, letterpress and relief printing skills. I’ve printed work for some talented artists and designers, including Nate Beaty, Alex Fuller, Keith Herzik, and Strand Design, as well as for some great local organizations, such as the Dill Pickle Food Co-op, the Center for Conflict Resolution, and the Read/Write Library.

I came into Spudnik a novice printer, lacking confidence about working through the process of screen printing, but have since learned how to problem solve and think on my feet to produce consistent, successful prints. These new skills truly reinforce my belief that all work should have a high level of craftsmanship and intentionality. The only thing I enjoy more than the work is the people I interact with on a regular basis. Whether it’s in the studio printing, or helping out at a community event, the Spudnik staff and the local printing community have never ceased to amaze me with their level of support and encouragement.

Throughout the past eight months, in addition to Publishing work, I’ve been researching, sketching, concepting, testing, printing, and producing a personal project that works to bridge my formal education in communication design and my personal passion for printmaking into something that utilizes and compliments one another. The final project will be a series of prints inspired by Chicago’s graphic design and typographic history. The content of the pieces includes found and reappropriated imagery, illustrations inspired by my research, and quoted text from relevant figures. I hope the project, having originated in a historical design setting, will prompt discussions of history’s influence, permanence, and relevance in our current culture.

Ultimately, I will be displaying the completed print series in a gallery show next year. Following my apprenticeship, I hope to catalog this completed work, my process materials, and contextual historical information in a book format. All in all, through this project I’m looking to add my personal and professional voice to the evolving narrative of Chicago’s art and design community.

If you’re interested to see more of what I’m working on, please stop by the studio and say hi!