Andy MacDougall (Canada)

With Luke Drodz and Jonathan Rebolloso
at FS 29 in Austin.
That's our onsite print rig,
we just finished Luke's print.
Andy MacDougall (Canada)

Unfortunatly for us, Andy is now an old guy with a weak memory and it is probably certain that we will never know the name of the band he was looking for, in which guys like Keith Richards and Ron Wood are supposed to play. Too bad, it was sounding good on the paper but it is hard to beat senility :) More seriously, I would like to thanx a lot Andy for the quality of his answers and his dedication to silkscreens.

my 'art department'. working on
a poster for Tom Pappalardo
 Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

Silence –I’m at the computer. I don’t really enjoy music when I am typing, too distracting. Earlier I was listening to Cab Calloway (Minnie the Moocher) When I’m printing, I like anything loud and fast, a range of music – the current pile of CDs by the press has on top - Who Live at Leeds, Clash, Ramones, Everybody Slides, (a collection of slide guitarists, with my #1 gittar mang Sonny Landreth in there) Manu Chao, Kinks…..I keep a few stacks of cds beside the press that go in and out of rotation. If I get a long job where I know I will be printing all day for a week or so, I always treat myself to a shopping spree at Bop City Records (local music store here in the wilderness), who maintain a really good rotating stock of music on CD and they have a big vinyl section too. Not really up on ‘new’ music too much, my daughter tries to school me or I pick bands from posters. I like it all - rock, funk, Cuban, old R&B/New Orleans, Rockabilly….

In the studio printing a job. Artist Nigel Fox.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

I live on Vancouver Island, BC Canada, in small town. I grew up in Ontario, hitchhiked to the west coast when I was 16, fell in love with the mountains and ocean, and have been here more or less since then. I learned my trade (screenprinting) working in a series of sign shops and screen shops in bigger Canadian cities, then opened my own. I finished with the commercial work (more or less, sometimes I have to eat) in the mid 90s and built a studio at my house (Squeegeeville) dedicated to art prints, poster work, and fun projects. I wrote a book (Screenprinting Today) and started teaching people screenprinting. For quite a while I was a musician too. Hung the guitars up in 2002, with the occasional benefit gig since. I have a pet motorcycle (’89 BMW RT100). I was elected to the ASPT(Academy of Screen Printing Technology) in 2007 and I remain a Vancouver Canucks hockey fan even though they lost in the final. 2012 is the year the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. And then the world ends according to the Mayans. Co-incidence?

Recent art print by Neil Havers
When did you start drawing?

As a little kid. My dad was a good cartoonist/signwriter and taught my sister and I how to letter with calligraphy pens when we were 7 or 8. I drew comics all the time. I did my first print (a linocut) when I was 6. We used to carve stamps out of old shoe heels. I did my first screenprint in highschool, an image of Jimi Hendrix, we printed that on paper, shirts, desk tops, windows.

I more or less stopped designing and doing my own art and graphics years ago. I’m content to let others design, I like to work with people and be the printer. Being a printer is kind of like being in a band vs. being a solo artist. I like jamming with others.

Flatstock print demo, artist Mirjam Dijkema
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

Ha….I got kicked out of school for the drawings in the margins and writing in the local newspaper. The teachers had saved confiscated drawings from grade 7 until grade 12…weird. I had a big confrontation with the principal and they dragged out this file. They said it was evidence of a sick mind. Everything I learned regarding graphics, screenprinting, or music was from working with others who were better, and always asking questions and learning new things from books and practice.

Flatstock print demo - artist Kunny van der Ploeg
I made a transition from music to graphic design and advertising after my daughter was born, and I had to face the fact that playing guitar in shitty bars and clubs with 3rd rate bands was not going to do it as far as supporting a family. So my lettering skills and cartooning and postermaking in the bands landed me a job running advertising for a chain of 5 retail automotive stores. There I learned graphics on the fly for 2 years – full page newspaper ads every week, along with radio and TV ads. I created sales campaigns, and then had to supply the stores with POP signage. That’s where I started screenprinting. Once I got a taste of the printing, I quit the advertising (graphics) side and went to work for a series of different companies to learn the industry. I started my own company in 1982. From 1984 until 1993 I ran a commercial screenprinting company in Vancouver, but it got too big and stupid. I had started printing art in this time, and so I made a career change and moved and built my studio.

Flatstock print demo - artist Gregg Gordon
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

It’s all focused around screenprinting. I earn from printing, I earn from writing, I earn from teaching/consulting, and I sell equipment.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Screenprinting magazine in the USA, I have a regular column and do feature articles, also a couple of others in England, Brazil, India. I am involved in publishing a book on the History of Screenprinting by Guido Lengwiler a Swiss professor of screenprinting, it should be out next year.

flatstock print demo - Artist Billy Perkins
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

Ha – I love a lot of work, especially the ‘younger’ artists in the rock poster movement. I am always inspired to see quality screenprinting, and always try to achieve a perfect print – but it never happens. From my friends in the rock poster movement I get lots of inspiration – the design & print artists especially, I really like to see artists that can draw and print as it helps them squeeze new effects and direction in their art. And the printers – any time I see some tight printing, it always kicks my ass to be better. I’m not going to name names, there are too many good ones.

What are the principal steps in your work ?

flatstock print demo - Artist Gary Houston
I usually take the jobs from the artist with seps/film done. In some cases, depending on the art style, I will work with a production artist to create the seps. For instance, a ruby cut for a west coast native artist, or a 20 colour index sep where the original art comes multicolour. But mostly artists just send sepped files.

We touch up the films, then make screens.

Screens on press, inks mixed, print the job, reclaim the screen….pretty straight ahead.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

A mix. I encourage artists I work with or teach to learn a number of techniques, to fit the style of art they do. There is no ‘right way’. Many younger artists have no idea about rubylith, or drawing direct on film. Yet when I look at their art, it would be a perfect technique.

flatstock Print demo - Artist Lil' Tuffy
How long does it take you to do a poster?

A day, a week, a year. Although there are only 8 steps in the process, sometimes the time between them is the biggest part. I am usually OK with 2-3-4 runs a day depending on the amount of prints in the edition. I’m an old guy and essentially lazy.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?

I’ll print anything as long as it isn’t racist or real estate and has a 50% deposit. I charge more for jobs that are shit. I charge less if I like the artist or the work.

For which band have you already worked for?

We’ve done prints for many artists that reference a wide range of acts. From Ramones to Johnny Cash, Melvins to Kiss.

Recent print - Artist Neil Havers
For which band would you love to work?

I think it would be fun if Keith Richards or Ronnie Wood came over and we worked up some prints for that band they are in….can’t remember the name…..but they both do screenprints.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

No, they find me.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

Getting the idea to film.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

I hope I can count myself amongst the gigposter art movement – and obviously the screenprinting branch of fine art limited printmaking. I like the GP side because there is an immediacy to it, less emphasis on the ‘fine art’, more on capturing the idea and printing it. I have met very few assholes when I go to the Flastock poster shows. The fine art side is full of them.

Recent print - Artist Jon Erickson -
this image separation was hand cut using rubylith!
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life? I don’t have a lot up there, maybe check out lots more pics. I usually attend the Flatstock shows in Seattle and Austin in the USA every year. We do onsite printing demos, that’s fun. Last year we did 8 prints onsite in Austin, including ones by Luke Drozd, Gary Houston, Billy Perkins, Guy Burwell, Gregg Gordon, Jared Connor and Clay Ferguson.

I have a show coming up at the Comox Valley Art Gallery in Sept 2012 called Screenprinting: Ad, Art, or Alchemy? We want to show the interconnect screenprinting brings to the world. It will feature fine art, poster and advertising art, and also a range of products and industrial processes like solar cells, touch screens, electronic panels and controls, ceramics, skateboards, etc.

Austin Flatstock -
artists Jared Connor and Stainboy collab
The best praise you received lately?

My wife said I did a good job cutting the lawn.

What can we wish you for the future?

An interesting life. It’s been pretty good up till now. And to drop a few pounds. I’m getting too fat.

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!

You’re welcome!

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