Meet the Rising Stars: Aaron Broughton 

Aaron Broughton translates his fine art degree into a successful shop.

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Aaron Broughton 
Print Master | DIY Printing  | Cincinnati | Age: 26 

How has having a fine art background impacted your work in the screen printing industry?broughton

It’s hard to put a pin in exactly how a fine art background has helped me with my career as a screen printer. To be fair, DIY Printing is composed of amazing artists of all sorts of backgrounds from sculpture, illustration, abstract painting, graphic design, and music composition, but I do think I’m the only one with a bachelor’s in printmaking. I can say it’s taken me out of apparel printing and allowed me to expand the paper printing side of DIY. My boss saw my experimentation with the CMYK process printing in my own work and allowed me to try it for a few clients to re-create water color illustrations and oil paintings. 

Your nomination form mentions you complete demonstrations of screen printing techniques for local art organizations including the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Art Academy, participate in open studio nights teaching local artists screen printing techniques, teach classes in screen printing, and work with special needs artists to teach screen printing and to develop their skills as artists. Can you talk about your involvement in these events and what they mean to you?

Live printing demos are one of my favorite parts of screen printing. Because I need so little to actually make a poster, it makes the process accessible for on-site printing. The live demos are like magic to people who haven’t really seen the process before, and they allow them to get their hands dirty at local art events. Most recently I did a poster demo at Paul Brown Stadium for the Smelt Fry, a large paper bunnyconvention hosted by Millcraft Paper Company every year. All these people who work with Millcraft in some capacity, usually digital printing, got to have the experience of actually pulling a poster with a little assistance from myself. Teaching screen printing goes back all the way to high school for me when I tried teaching my friends in my parents’ basement how to print, which eventually led to me teaching my own class at my alma mater, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, after hours for the Community Education department. This is an eight-week, 101-type class where mostly designers want a hands-on experience of screen printing or students want to brush up on their skills. Now I’ve carried that skill to DIY Printing where we teach a 101 class every other month, run open studios on Monday and Wednesday nights, and teach local special needs groups like Starfire and Collective Visions. It’s one of the more rewarding parts of my job to be able to pass on this skill set. There’s a special needs artist named Stephen who comes in once a month with his connector to work on mostly monotype prints to flesh out his portfolio. He hopes to become self-sustained through his artwork. Stephen is a brilliant and funny guy who is attracted to numbers. Not surprisingly, his work mostly involves numbers, all of it in a hand painted monotype process that is done with water-based dyes printed with extender base. 

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

My greatest professional achievements are some of the collaborations my job has allowed me, as well as getting to show my own work. Within the past three years at DIY I’ve worked with artists such as Kevin Kelly, Dalek, Buff Monster, Julia Oldham, Andrew Au, Jonpaul Smith, Aaron Kent, C.F. Payne, Jenny Ustick, and Matt Kish, to name a few. They are all wonderful artists to work with who had something to teach me through their words and their work. They all come from different media, whether that’s painting, graffiti, sculpture, illustration, or political activism, but all of them enjoy the accessibility of screen printing. I was lucky enough to be offered a solo show at Miami University where I will be showing my own CMYK collage of work. 

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