One of the oldest forms of printing, silkscreen printing uses stenciling methods that involves printing ink through stencil designs with a screen or mesh stretched very tightly over a frame.
This can be used to print designs on T-shirts, wood, paper, tote bags, fabric, scarves, banners, cardboard, napkins, pillows, and pretty much anything that has a flat surface.
Silkscreening takes years of practice to completely master the art of lining in colour of each ink stencil in properly and with just the right amount of pressure. The more skilled and experienced you are in silkscreening, the more intricate your designs will be.
Two Illustration students wanted to share their knowledge and love for silkscreen printing, and decided to set up a company upon their graduation.
Their aim was to provide affordable printmaking facilities to the local community as well as enhance the arts scene in Malaysia. Thus, Raksasa Print was born.
“Silkscreen is a very versatile medium. It allows artists to create beautiful handmade works with vibrant colours, either in small editions or large quantities, opening possibilities to the casual hobbyist, aspiring artist, or small business owner.”
The had their grand opening in January 2015, taking up a space in Bangsar that would be used to house workshops, exhibit works of art, and hold galleries for themed-based projects.
Silkscreening projects can range from the typical t-shirt print job to a personalised pieces of art—which is what Raksasa Print wants to provide with their service.
For mass printing projects, you can request a quote from them by sending in an inquiry with your image, preview, dimensions, material and quantity.
“At Raksasa Print Studio, we are particularly aware of the importance of taking good care of this crazy planet we all live on. Hence, we go out of our way to use suppliers that share this philosophy.”
The inks they use are from Permaset Aqua which are water-based and certified eco-friendly, as they want to do their part in taking good care of the Earth. The inks are completely safe to handle and are non-toxic, yet maintaining a bright vibrancy of long-lasting colour.
They have already worked with several young local young designers in the market to produce satisfying works of art; Mora Laree, Loka Made, Miss Banana Doodle, and August Handcraft to name a few.
Additionally, they have basic how-to silkscreen workshops for those interested.
Open for all levels of expertise, including first-timers, the 6-hour course will be divided into two 3-hour classes. During the course, students will get to learn the entire process from start to finish: preparing and exposing the screen to registering and printing the image.
For those that might want to familarise themselves with the skill, they can opt to take the 3-hour Refresher Course instead.
The basic course is RM300 per person and the refresher course RM180.
“We typically hold multiple classes per week. In the past, we’ve also hosted other classes in our studio, run by other artists we frequently collaborate with; these have ranged from terrarium-building workshops to puppet-making classes.”
They have their own range of quirky merch; from pineapple pugs, durian babies, surreal postcards, depressing zines, gimp pillows, and much more.
The most difficult part of setting up—they joked—was trying to find an accountant who was willing to work for cookies.
“Other than that, it was the usual business-related issues, planning resources and workload, especially when we have a lot of commissions and students lined up in the same week.”
They shared their strenous experience trying to get their “super-large” exposure unit inside their first studio.
“It involved a crane, crowbars, and a lot of nervous laughter. It also broke down on a few occasions, at the worst time imaginable. We ended up dismantling it for scrap metal and buying a much more compact—but far more reliable exposure unit—when we moved into our new studio.”
Having recently moved into a new space at Jalan Panggong from Bangsar, they are in the midst of exhibiting their show named Curious Houses.
Beings glaring at you from dark corners, soulless puppets that look like they might move any moment, or unnatural patterns in the shadows are all part of the display.
The show is still running at the fourth floor of their studio at RAW Art Space until 28th November this year.
As a closing, we asked the duo about how they came up with their name, Raksasa Print. Their art, as you might have noticed, also incorporates a lot of bizarre monsters and weird-looking giant beings.
“Both of us are inspired by a whole host of things, quite often based on random experiences in our daily lives and then infused with a healthy dose of craziness from things like horror shows, cult movies and the like.”
“Our art styles are quite different, but we both like the odd, the morbid and the macabre.”
Feature Image Credit: Raksasa Print