Chris Murphy, 33, founder of The Positive Press
How did you get into screen printing?
‘It came about through playing in various bands, initially. I was living in Brighton, working full-time and screen printing more as a hobby. When it came time to getting some T-shirts made for my band, Sauna Youth, I thought I’d have a go myself. After I moved to London, I decided to try and take it a bit more seriously. I started The Positive Press and became a member of Print Club, which is a 24-hour open-access members’ screen printing studio. I went full-time almost a year ago.’
So what exactly is screen printing?
‘It’s a stencil-based printing medium. It involves a screen that’s essentially an aluminium or wooden frame with a very fine nylon mesh stretched over it. On to that mesh you make a stencil by applying light-sensitive emulsion which, when dried, is exposed to the image using UV light. The unexposed areas of the image then wash away, and the exposed areas harden, so you’re left with a stencil that you can force ink through with a squeegee. Basically, if it’s flat, then I can print on it. That includes paper, posters and T-shirts.’
Who are your typical clients?
‘A lot of the people that I work for are people I know or have a vague connection to, which is nice. I guess it’s an equal split between bands, record labels, illustrators, designers and small brands.’
Ever encountered any unfortunate print-based issues?
‘I once printed some T-shirts for a record label called Italian Beach Babes. That is still consistently the biggest hit on my Google Analytics from people searching for Italian beach babes… not the label. I get a lot of traffic on my website from that.’
What are the best parts of your job?
‘I suppose because of the scale that I work at, and the jobs that I do, I get a great sense of satisfaction from completing the work. I can go into the studio at 10am with a box of blank T-shirts, and by 4pm or 5pm they’ll all be printed and ready to sell or ready to wear. I work well having that sense of completion.’
By Sammy Robson
Or why not become a firefighter?