History of Screen Printing

History of Screen Printing

HISTORY
Credit is generally given to the artist Andy Warhol for popularising screen printing identified as serigraphy, in the United States. Warhol is particularly identified with his 1962 depiction of actress Marilyn Monroe screen printed in garish colours.

American entrepreneur, artist and inventor Michael Vasilantone started to use, develop, and sell a rotary multicolour garment screen printing machine in 1960. Vasilantone later filed for patent on his invention in 1967 granted number 3,427,964 on February 18, 1969. The original rotary machine was manufactured to print logos and team information on bowling garments but soon directed to the new fad of printing on t-shirts. The Vasilantone patent was licensed by multiple manufacturers, the resulting production and boom in printed t-shirts made the rotary garment screen printing machine the most popular device for screen printing in the industry. Screen printing on garments currently accounts for over half of the screen printing activity in the United States.

In June 1986, Marc Tartaglia, Marc Tartaglia Jr. and Michael Tartaglia created a silk screening device which is defined in its US Patent Document as, “Multi-coloured designs are applied on a plurality of textile fabric or sheet materials with a silk screen printer having seven platens arranged in two horizontal rows below a longitudinal heater which is movable across either row.” This invention received the patent number 4,671,174 on June 9, 1987, however the patent no longer exists.

Graphic screenprinting is widely used today to create many mass or large batch produced graphics, such as posters or display stands. Full colour prints can be created by printing in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black (‘key’)).

Screen printing lends itself well to printing on canvas. Andy Warhol, Rob Ryan, Blexbolex, Arthur Okamura, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Harry Gottlieb, and many other artists have used screen printing as an expression of creativity and artistic vision.