Limited No More —
Press Matter
Brings Printmaking to the Masses

A Partnership Between Neocha & MAEKAN
Text by Taylor Shen
Video by Jia Li
Photos by Chan Qu

A Partnership Between Neocha & MAEKAN
Text by Taylor Shen
Video by Jia Li
Photos by Chan Qu

This story is presented in partnership with Neocha, a fellow creative publication based in Asia and established in 2006. It follows the story of Shanghai-based printmaking studio Press Matter.

 


 

Founded in 2012, the studio was launched by entrepreneurs Yang Mo and Chen Jie, who were dissatisfied with the inflation of prices for limited edited artwork in China.

Artwork that has been mass-produced with a machine press is seen as less valuable in the eyes of many collectors, but this drop in value doesn’t happen when the same artwork is hand printed. Printed work is also unlike artwork that was created solely for the canvas, which is very exclusive, limited, and in most cases for the average person, nearly impossible to obtain. Yang and Chen’s goal is to popularize printmaking in China and to make art something that everybody can afford.

在这情怀一词泛滥的年代,大到盖房子,小到卖冰淇淋,无不以情怀说事儿。本来以为杨默和陈捷会诉说一个坚持手工充满情怀的动人创业初衷,结果俩人非常朴实得表示最初成立印物所大部分原因只是对国内限量艺术品价格虚高的不满,而手工印刷这种方式令艺术品既不像机器印刷那样因为大量复制而失去收藏性,也不像画布作品那样因为太限量而变得遥不可及。正如版画在国外的普通家庭里是非常常见的艺术收藏品一样,他们想在中国推广手工印刷画作,让艺术品变成普罗大众也能消费得起的一种商品。

Yang Mo and Chen Jie have experienced their own fair share of challenges over the last four years. Despite facing these hardships, Press Matter maintains their devotion to creating work with sincerity, while also still holding a reverence for handcrafted artwork.

虽然杨默和陈捷成立印物所的初衷并不是一碗读者期待的鸡汤,但是在这不算顺利的创业4年中,印物所始终秉承着一种对手工和艺术的敬畏之心在创作。

Yang Mo comes from a background with professional printing experience, and through his expertise, he is able to provide invaluable feedback to his current artist clientele, whether it be the method of printing, choice of paper, or the ink ratio. His method of printing can be described as intimate with a touch of serendipity. This approach allows Press Matter to produce highly sought-after prints with great collection value.

作为正经版画专业的科班生,杨默为艺术家提供了极为专业的意见,印刷方法的选择,纸张的选择,颜料的配比,这些充满独一性、偶然性和个人性的因素交织在一起,印物所制作出了一批又一批具有高度收藏价值的画作。

On the other hand, his business partner Chen Jie comes from a background in the advertising industry. Because of that, he is able to provide all of the possible sales channels for their prints. He also has fostered a mutually beneficial link between art lovers and underappreciated artists. The whole process starts when the artist first creates their work. Press Matter then provides the artist technical assistance during the whole printing process, and also contacts art galleries and various sales channels. Art lovers are then able to purchase their favourite works more easily, allowing the artists to make money off their work.

而广告行业驰骋多年的陈捷则调用自己强大的艺术品交易渠道资源,在怀才不遇的艺术家和艺术爱好者之间建立起一个健康的链接:艺术家创作 → 印物所提供技术支持并联系展示、销售渠道 → 艺术爱好者购买到心仪的作品 → 艺术家靠自己的作品生存下去。

Nowadays, even with so many different printmaking techniques to choose from, lithography still remains one of the most trusted methods. It is capable of yielding the most impressive results by bringing out even the most minute of details from the original work in its exact likeness. Another benefit of lithographic printing is that it allows traditional artists to be able to reproduce their work without being restricted by technology, while also being able to use more traditional methods of illustration. This allows the artist to be able to infuse their own personal style into their work.

在各种手工印刷方式中,以石板印刷效果最优秀,这种在石板上创作并拓印的方法制作出来的印刷品从各种细节上都堪称可以与原作相媲美,这种方式也让传统画家不受限于技术条件,采用传统方法作画,最大程度地发挥艺术家自己的风格。

In addition to the creativity and labor put into the original artwork by the artist, in every print there is also the artistry that was instilled during the hand printing process. This is what makes hand printed artwork so fascinating, and that much more desirable for collectors.

一幅手工印刷画作制作完成的背后,除了包含艺术家的智力劳动外,也包含着手工者的个体创造性,这大概就是手工印刷的魅力吧。

To see more of Press Matter’s work, check out their Instagram or their Weibo.

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