Our last Prints & Inks profile is not on an artist but the Montreal-based creative print shop and studio Station 16. The shop + studio offers limited edition prints from some of the best street and graffiti artists in North America and Europe (including Prints & Inks exhibiting artists Antoine Tavaglione, whatisadam, En Masse, Martine Frossard, Labrona and Niko). Originally just a family textile screenprinting business, owner Carlo De Luca decided 18 months ago to offer free screenprinting space to artists in the city to create and print their works, uniquely partnering his family business with his love of art.
Here’s Carlo’s story on setting up a screenprinting studio, having silkscreening in his blood, and being inspired by the artists who work at and collaborate with Station16.
1. Telll us a bit about Station16. What was your motivation to start this print shop/studio? How did you get started?
Station16 was/is primarily a textile screen print business. I’ve been doing this for twenty years (the last 10 on my own). About 18 months ago I wanted to diversify my business and since I love art, the natural progression was to start up a fine art studio within my shop. I reached out to artists in the city and offered them the opportunity of free space within my shop to see how we can take their art and combine it with my medium. This is when I met whatisadam. He was screen printing these amazing and awesome edition prints at home using a light bulb and one screen that he kept reclaiming. I was so impressed with his skill and passion that I immediately knew that we would produce a wonderful product together. His passion for art with my resources and equipment produced his first successful solo art exhibit in Montreal, April 2011. Later in the year, I realized that I could offer this to other artists and give them an opportunity as well. This is when www.station16shop.com was created.
2. How did you become interested in silkscreening?
My family has always been in the textile (needle trade) Growing up, my summer jobs were in the print shop. At the age of 21, I decided to work full time and I started managing a print shop. By age 31, I started up my own business. I guess you can say it’s in my blood.
3. How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers?
My influence whether printing on paper, fabric or wood has always quality. I look at master printers and compare my work to theirs. I am constantly looking to improve, invent and explore. I often ask myself, if Andy Warhol would walk into my shop and view my quality of work…would he choose Station16 as his print house ? He’d better!
4. How many artists are involved with Station16? How do you go about selecting whose work you will feature?
Presently we have 9 artists onboard. I love street , graffiti, pop , modern and contemporary art. I love wheat paste artist and muralists as well. Artists selected would definitely fall into these categories.
5. Is there a collaborative aspect to your studio and your enterprise? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?
Station16 fine art department is based on collaborations between printer and artist. Station16 absorbs all the development costs and remits a fair percentage to the artist based on the sells of their works. We provide them an online shop platform and take care of all the shipping.
Working with different artists and collectively showcasing their works on one online screen print shop enables the magic of strength in numbers to work. Emerging and established artists directing their fans to our shop, enables people to view their works and introduces them to the works of other artists they were unfamiliar with.
Recently we collaborated with Montreal art collective En Masse, and produced for them their first ever serigraph print . En Masse is a collective of artists that produce these large scale handpainted murals with black/white imagery. This original drawing was a collaborative of six different artists. The edition is signed and numbered by all six artists involved. En Masse is gaining much deserved recognition for their works. Recently they were part of the Bing Bang exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
6. What are some of the challenges of running your own print shop/studio? What are the opportunities?
The textile screen print challenges are competition with overseas production.
Surround yourself with good people. Get the employees involved with the process. Make them understand that whether they are printing a t-shirt or fine art print, the impression once on the medium is there forever. Be proud of what you put out there!
My textile screen print business has given me the opportunity to explore other interests and to feed my soul with the fine art program I have developed.
7. What’s next for Station16 in terms of creative projects?
We recently completed a collaboration with CEASE for ArtTV at Montreal Nuit Blanche.
We were also at Armory Week in New York City from March 9-11. We also had a booth at Fountain Fair, where we showcased prints produced at Station16.
8. Anything else we should know about?
Station 16 is named after my MHM screen print machine that has 16 stations…small editions made at station16 are sometimes developed in editions of 16.
Surround yourself with things that make you happy ! Hang up some art !
Thanks Carlo! To see some of the work from artists at Station16, and to find out more about the print studio/shop, check out Station 16′s website. You can also visit the studio in Montreal at 111 Avenue de Louvaine West.