Why am I in Barcelona?

There has been a lot of news about Spain and Catalonia this autumn.

You can do the googling when it comes to the subject. My reason to mention these news and events is that I was a bit concerned about coming here. I had mixed feelings about traveling to Barcelona when the city seemed restless and the whole situation was quite difficult to understand as an outsider.

I haven’t seen any violence concerning this dispute. I am not saying that it does not happen but every time I’ve seen protesting it has been peaceful, not something scary. Some of these people here seem to be very patriotic and they have clear idea about what would be the right thing to happen. This is a place where whole families may carry their own flags and they look like it’s a daily habit. These people look like patriotic super heroes wearing those flags like capes and being anything but scary.

Politics and the whole situation is not the point of my blog. I am not local and I am just visiting so I have no real truths about what is actually happening between people but I felt like sharing that I feel safe here. It’s not a scary place.

 

So now we all know that Barcelona is molding itself and that I am here.

My reason to be in this city is to learn to work with serigraphy. I am working at Oslo Graphic Barceloneta which is a studio in the area called Barceloneta. This studio is near to the tourist beach which was built for the Summer Olympics 1992. It is actually a very poor area, Barceloneta, has its tourist sprinkles mixed with cripples and people who keep searching for food from garbage cans.

The studio itself is nice and I’ve met at least 6 people who use it as their workspace. Usually when I am at the studio there are max 4 people at the same time. I have two people teaching and guiding me during the evening. Otherwise I have to schedule and work pretty much alone.

 

This is what I’ll do here:

I’ll learn the method and technique -> I’ll plan my own exhibition -> I’ll schedule everything -> I’ll produce everything -> I’ll put up an exhibition here in Barcelona for one week

 

Why print by hand when there are printers?

Here! This picture was my first test print. It is my black & white film photo turned into a printable serigraphy version.

If you use a photo as the basis in with this technique it has to be turned into a bitmap (some quick work with Photoshop) and when you look closer you will see dots like this in your picture. These dots will also be visible in the final piece.

 

This is what serigraphy can look like. It is only one variation to use photos and if you’re using color pictures it becomes more difficult. If you are doing like I did, using just black ink on white paper, you need to print only one picture. If you use color pictures you will need more than one color and printing has more steps.

In any case the whole thing has quite many steps so I only scratched the surface of this technique. I will get back to it later.

I feel like I should give some kind of answer to my own for the question “Why not use a printer?”.

  • It is a lot more interesting to work manually. You can even work quicker than a printer.
  • Colors can look deep and vibrant.
  • It is physical and your body for example needs to learn to control the pressure while printing. Meaning: How much should you push to turn it into a great print? You’re not a machine so it’s just trial and error. Finding a good a flow and a good touch feels rewarding.
  • I really enjoy producing things manually because you know every stage of the process. I find it pleasing just like knitting or cooking.