A retro Renault in the middle of the street can remind us a classic ice-cream van at first. But take a second look! There's no ice-creams but it's full of yummy t-shirts, tote bags and posters you can print while you get your hands dirty. The project, started in 2014 has an amazing selection of limited edition designs by international illustrators. Oschon and Simon explain us about the printing adventure on the road.
How did you discovered the handmade printing world and why did you choose it as your profession? How did you launch Print van Paris?
I discovered screenprinting during my studies at London College of Communication in London. After graduating I continued working part time in a screenprinting studio in East London. I chose to keep screenprinting as a hobby, as it is something I really enjoy and I feared that sometimes when you make your hobby a full time job you can lose the passion and fun for it.
As a full time graphic designer I really enjoy the handmade aspect of screenprinting: Physically choosing your paper, mixing the inks and the printing itself. I find the repetitive printing process very relaxing (if all goes well). Then, of course, you have the artworking side of preparing your design for screenprinting, the technical aspects of choosing the colours, overlaying and using the colour of the paper, that it also gives you a good constraint to work with. Basically it's about get as much out with as little work as possible!
The idea of setting up a mobile screenprint studio came when I was working in London. I had a little studio next to an italian icecream van. The fun, poppy graphics and the joyful memories people have with ice cream vans really appealed to me and I wanted to create a similiar experience with screenprinting. I've always loved the reaction of people who are unfamiliar with the technique, when they pull their first print and lift up the screen. They are amazed by how easy it (can) be.
I let the idea grew in my head for a bit and I used the time to work hard and save some money to get the project rolling. After 10 years in London I was happy for a change of scene and when I moved to Paris the time seemed perfect to start with this new adventure.
In Paris I was lucky enough to get the support of Imprimerie du Marais, a prestigeous printing house in central Paris. It was there where I met Simon, the screenprinter of L'imprimerie du Marais who loved the idea and is my partner in the Print Van since then.
What are you working on in your studio right now?
At the moment we are working a new concept on mobile screenprinting which will hopefully be launched at the end of October. Alongside this, we continue working on updating the van or on new illustrations to print.
Could you explain us more about your latest collaborations?
The basic concept of the Print Van is that we collaborate with a new artist or illustrator for each new event. So we print a new design for each event, making a limited edition. So far we are extremely happy with all of our collaborations with artists, illustrators and designers from all over Europe. Our recent collaborations included the artist and tattooist Elobo, the architecture and edition publishers PLI, and we have an upcoming collaboration with Element Skateboards and the illustrator Chad Eaton aka Timber
Can you describe your working routine and your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
The Print Van is a side project between me and Simon. We meet up in the evenings after work to discuss further plans and get the van out on the road on weekends and in the evenings. At the moment we only have the van and we don't have a fixed studio so sometimes it's a little bit tricky to produce big amounts of work. The biggest challenge definitely is combine our full time jobs with the growing demand of the Print Van.
The Print Van Paris weekly routine is mainly based around giving people the chance to know more about our events, getting frames exposed, and searching for new collaborations. Furthermore, we dedicate the little time we have left to push the Van project and see how could we improve the mobile screenprinting.
Have you had problems to make some of the projects? How do you solve them?
We have been running for just over a year now and it has been very interesting to see how different events play out. I think the biggest challenge for us is definetely the business side of the project, how to quote the right amount for an event, the prices etc. We also have had events where we didn't sell much, so the key is to carefully choose our events and evolve the project continually.
The van is not the latest Renault model so we sometimes encounter little shaky moments when the engine decides it has had enough, but it's all forgotten when people gives us encouragement when they see the project live.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
We started just printing on t-shirts and quickly found out that we were limiting ourselves too much, so we started up printing on posters too. Now we stock a little selection of screenprinted goodies such as postcards, notebooks, posters and paper boxes.
We limit ourselves to one color prints but we try and push the outcome by using multicolored gradients, fluor inks or nice paper stock.
Tell me about your influences in the handmade printing range or in other ranges (music, cinema, etc)
We base our branding on the visual language of ice cream vans but giving it a twist of our own. Besides, we are heavily influenced by our outdoor activities such as skateboarding, and graffiti.