MESH: South Korea

MESH Printing started out as a way to meet other artists and share with them. Formerly of Atlanta, I made the journey to South Korea with my wife to travel and see a part of the world I hadn’t. Before moving to Korea, I was working at Danger Press, Atlanta Printmakers Studio, and printing for Methane Studios. When I got to Korea I set out to find the materials to get started printing again, which proved difficult. However once I had all the necessary materials I began printing some work. Before long, I realized that I wanted to find other printmakers here. I started teaching classes out of my apartment and showing people how to create art in the small apartments of South Korea.

The majority of expats here, including myself, came over to teach English. Schedules vary, but a lot of them teach at night, leaving their entire day free. I wasn’t sure how much interest there would be the first time I offered a class, but the class filled so quickly that I had to offer another one the following weekend. I offered the class in an expat group on facebook, and realized that so many people here are looking for something productive to do with their time. Some had some art experience, but most were just interested in learning something new.

Through this class I met Chris Cote, who I immediately made a connection with. He’d never screenprinted before, but before long we decided to work together on these classes and our own work. We found a small apartment that we could call a studio, and started printing and teaching. We decided we’d use the space for two purposes: to print our work and to teach others how to screenprint.

In South Korea screenprinting is a still considered a very industrial medium. To my knowledge, there is only one art store in the whole country that sells water based inks. In our city, Daegu (considered a medium sized city here with 2.5 million people), finding screens and squeegees proved a difficult task for most since the materials are located in an industrial district. It took me nearly 6 months to find all of the materials needed to do the printing I want, and we are still to fine-tuning our materials all the time.

Our classes do a few different things. For one thing, we show people where they can get materials. We then cover the basics of coating, burning, and printing screens, but we tailor it specifically to those who have very little space and don’t have the perks of a studio light table and dedicated printing space. We show them how to expose a screen with the sun, how to print without hinges, using their shower as a drying/washout room, and other DIY methods. Due to the size of our studio, our classes can’t be any bigger than 8 people. This is really the perfect number though, allowing each student to get plenty of one-on-one attention.

We offer two classes, a beginners class and an advanced class. The 2 hour beginner class focuses on paper printing while the advanced class gets into fabric printing and multiple colors. The advanced class has the students leave with their own screen, with their artwork burned into it. We really want people to get started printing after they leave, and to be excited about it. The more printers in the city the better.

We’ve taught almost a dozen classes in 2+ years, and continue to see growth and interest in the classes. We charge a nominal fee for students to make it accessible to everyone, artistically inclined or not. There has been an increased diversity in who is attending our classes; we have taught students from South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Korea, and more. Bringing people from different nationalities together in the name of screenprinting feels pretty good.

As artists, we keep busy printing our own work. We have opened an online store, and participate in events around the country. All of our work goes up on our blog,

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Categories: DIY, Studio Visit

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