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Foreground separation

The theme of my screen printed work branched out from the concept of nostalgia explored in my knitwear studio and built it into a distinct graphic aesthetic. In terms of visual imagery I was inspired by references that illustrated an outdated and distasteful style reminiscent of the 80’s and 90’s, in particular, focusing on runway fashion and interior decor. These trends, which nowadays are considered irrelevant, informed my design direction and helped build the visual vocabulary of the nostalgic style I aimed to curate. From a collection of moodboard images, I was able to design motifs relating to time period of interest which were utilised in the foreground separation of the two colour print. Motifs included furniture and objects symbolic of the 80’s and 90’s that I adapted into my own stylistic illustrations which were then exposed onto the screen.
An area of research that I stumbled upon involved watching news reports outlining various fashion shows that had taken place in the 80s and 90s. I have included screenshots taken from video footage of news reports recounting a 1998 Comme des Garcons runway show on a Tokyo news channel and a Dutch telecast. The combined effect of the reduced digital quality of the video footage and the imagery of fashion show attendees and their outfits created a rich and poignant sense of nostalgia. To channel this point of inspiration into the foreground separation design, I borrowed Dutch subtitling from one of the videos, combining the phrases of text and arranging them among the hand-drawn illustrations.

Background separation

In order to create a varied and multi-faceted design, I married the fashion and decor styles of the 80s and 90s, with abstract art, sculpture and architecture which informed line and shape development for the background separation. I was drawn to the playful and dynamic silhouettes found in sculptor and painter Jean Hans Arp’s non-representational, abstract works. The refreshing and loose approach to form is rooted in his ability to present visual information as if he is seeing it for the first time. This is an attitude I aimed to adopt during development of my own shapes and lines. The simplistic and surrealist nature of Arp’s works demonstrate his concern with purity, energy and limitless perception. Arp’s philosophy freed the conscious mind as his works were all created without a subject and the forms would only be named upon completion. The organic and lively spirit of Javier Sanosiain’s fluid architectural spaces was another avenue of inspiration that influenced the background separation shapes of my screen printed design, taking from the curvaceous, smooth lines of the moulded interior walls.


The final 2m length of screen printed silk explored the overlapping of transparent inks, doubling the background separation then displacing the overlaid duplicate to create a third colour. Ultimately the 2m length is a four colour print due to the birth of a darker blended green tone in the overlapping areas of the organic, abstract shapes. This technique contributes an additional layer of dimension to the graphic backdrop through the interplay of contrasting tones.

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