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The Silk Screen Champions of Athens

With Nileta Kotsikou of [imatioθíki], we take a drive for a studio visit of father and son team TIND – silkscreen extraordinaire. Bustling around the studio pulling out print samples from his collection, the son Manolis Angelakis excitedly boasts: “We print everything on everything in here man, like chocolate on pancakes and phosphorescent ink on banana leaves!”

 

Finding a particular print, Manolis holds up a titanic portrait. He dares me: “Gabriel, guess who THIS is. Who?” I expect some infamous Greek revolutionist. The rakish face is actually a self portrait of his father Chrisanthos Angelakis as a young man in the 70s. It has recently been digitised from the original Agfa Ortho 25 film and finalised as a silkscreen print. Pride shines through Manolis’ bearded face: “Yeah, my dad can kick your dad’s ass!”

Part of a new generation of creatives realising that designers cannot remain isolated – a foreign concept for this culture ingrained with personal independence – Manolis has taken his projects across Greece and abroad looking for cross-disciplinary collaborators. For example, one of their most recent projects explored the use of body-paint ink on human skin for The Swink Project - ink in a world of swing dance.

To what end? TIND’s dream is to establish an open-source platform. “We have an amazing printing studio with machines that aren’t always being used. What I want to see happen is other printers and even kids to come print, learn and have fun at the same time. I want to be inspired by THEM and hopefully to inspire in return.”

But we live in a world where print orders come in three-zeroed quantities and soulless laser printers answer those demands. Why bother with antiquated methods? One of TIND’s continuing projects, Error is Superior to Art, aptly represents why these two gentlemen are exploring the unusual side of the printing business. “When a print is too prefect, it loses its appeal” believes Manolis “and we want to celebrate the magnificence of the human touch, the small intrinsic errors that gives each print its unique personality.”

 


Gabriel

: Manolis, you obviously grew up with a creative father. Do you have any childhood memories that point to what you do now?

Manolis

: Well I grew up in my dad’s silkscreen studio and for many years I didn’t want to be a printer. But life has a way of telling you things so I ended up loving it as my home. My childhood memories are of a groundhog/karate-kid routine of printing endless hours like a machine. Looking back though, that zen training made me into what I am today so, kudos Dad.

Gabriel

: Well trained! Working together with him today, how do you inspire each other on a regular basis?

Manolis

: It may seem odd but I am more analogue and he’s more digital. So yeah we inspire each other through arguing, printing and drinking beers. He is the “know how” and I am the “know why” but we also work closely with amazing artists, designers and creative people so TIND is getting bigger not only as an idea but also as a workforce.

Gabriel

: A lot of creatives define themselves by what they ARE and the work they DO. What are you NOT?

Manolis

: TIND stands for “This Is NOT Designed.” Given that as a principle, I can say that I am not a designer, I am not an artist, I am not your friend.

Gabriel

: Well since I'm not your friend yet, I'd like to know where in print world history you would go in a time machine?

Manolis

: To where it all began when the first caveman made ink by chewing flowers and then spit-stenciled his hands into the cave walls thus making the first ever silkscreen print.

Gabriel

: And traveling forward to your open-source studio dream, how would that space look like?

Manolis

: A place where you can mix and match as many things as possible. In my head it’s a Mediterranean international residency-based workshop where you can teach and study aspects of design, print and life in general. It’s still a little raw as a concept, but in my mind it is the future.


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