h e x studio interview in CHIMPAN, by Zé Monteiro
h e x studio interview in CHIMPAN, by Zé Monteiro

Meet'em: H E X


H E X is a new London-based screen print studio, managed by Lucie Murtagh.

Former member of Luma Studio, Lucie has agreed to tell us all about how to scale, revise and proceed with a project.

CHIMPAN: Your shared Luma Studio met an end and it was time for a revision in your printmaking project. Talk us through your decision and why.

Lucie: I had a baby five years ago and it was time for Luma to move in different directions. I wanted to stay in the same Bethnal Green studio and working on my own allows me to be more flexible and work in a streamlined way. It means I can keep my own hours (the dream) and really concentrate on the bit I love – printing.

h e x studio in CHIMPAN, by Zé Monteiro
H E X studio, the printing bed

C: Were you ever scared of the transition? Or was it something that just happened naturally?

L: Change is always a bit scary! Things have to change and grow to stay interesting though, so after a bit of an overhaul of the equipment and think about direction, I was ready to set off again.

C: Any advice to creatives that are not so certain about where to take their next steps?

L: I helped a painter / printmaker friend to set up his new Devon based print studio recently, and he told me these zen-like words of wisdom: You can make a small print on a big screen, but you can’t make a big print on a small screen. I think this means go for it, aim for what you want and keep aiming for it.

C: Revising involves a lot of looking back and assessment. Was there anything you did at the start that is helpful now? Or any mistakes that you’ve learned from?

L: From a printmaking process point of view, I’ve learned from so many mistakes. The main thing is that you can’t take shortcuts, so don’t bother trying. From a business perspective, talk to people, make connections and try to help people wherever you can. It’s about building a community.

Icarus I colour tests in CHIMPAN zine
Icarus I colour tests

C: I’m curious about your new studio’s name. Is it related to the hexadecimal colour system? Let us in on this secret.

L: It IS a little nod to Hexadecimal. But, I was mainly thinking about H E X in the witchy / magic sense. Hex is an old word for witch (Hexe in German means witch) and also means spell or magic. Printmaking is like magic and alchemy to me; you take some things, put them together and create a completely new, better thing. I still have a little rush of amazement each time I print a new stencil. I think the moment when you lift the screen and reveal what you have printed is a bit addictive, I never get bored of it.

C: You are steering H E X in a new direction now. What is your new approach?

L: I’m working in a more collaborative way with artists, using the proofing process to turn their ideas into printworks and then editioning. People often spend time with me in the studio, which I love, so that together we can work out the best translation of their work into screen print.

C: Do you have a favourite new print you’ve done recently?

L: John Karbon and I worked closely to make a pair of editions, Icarus I and Icarus II. We’ve been using inks to create glowing optical effects and also screen printing with glue and guilding with 23.5 carat gold. They look amazing.

guiliding tools for screen printing

C: What’s next for H E X?

L: In the next year I’m hoping to become a publishing house. The aim is to set up a structure to financially support young artists and illustrators in having an edition made. It’ll provide people with a way of making art and give them somewhere to sell it. All will become clear when I get the new website up and running, until then you can see what I’m up to on Instagram @hex_prints.

icarus I print, black and yellow, falling man figure lost in center, in CHIMPAN zine
Icarus I, by John Karborn, printed by H E X
Icarus II, in CHIMPAN zine
Icarus II, by John Karborn, printed by H E X