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From Panhead Harleys to Process Color: The Story Behind Anderson Studio

(January 2008) posted on Tue Jan 22, 2008

What happened when a passion for art, music, and motorcycles collided with an interest in screen printing? Anderson Studio was born. Learn about the shop's history and how it became known around the world for its garment work.

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By Ben P. Rosenfield

“We really started to excel in a lot of hand-cut separation back then. We worked on techniques for separating using hand-cut shading sheets, where you blend percentages of yellow, red, blue, and other colors to make secondary and tertiary colors, and we did a tremendous amount of work with that, turning the screens to get the right angles for the rosettes and making up the patterns for true secondary, tertiary, and complementary colors. It was all shooting from the hip,” Anderson says.

He eventually developed a formula that worked, learned which screen angles were productive, and determined which halftone dots would reproduce properly on press. Anderson explains that he did a lot of underlaying of white, with a wet white, with color going over it in a percentage to make two or three colors out of the same color. A 100% white in a certain area would produce a pastel blue, a 40 % or 50% white would make a medium blue, and so on. He’d then layer a 10% yellow over top to get a teal or aqua. Anderson Studio was limited to a six-color press, so the addition of lots of spot colors wasn’t the simple option it is today on 16- and 18-color machines.

“It became a challenge where you really had to think, and your artists had to know what was going on. So we spent an exorbitant amount of time really learning that technique, aside from just the process work, where we outsourced seps, we got the film back, and we’d put it on our screens and print it. That was pretty straightforward. This type of hand-cut work was so involved and so detailed and so time consuming that we didn’t do it on everything,” he says.


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