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.
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.
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.
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.
Date: 6th Dec. 2019
Author: Zé Monteiro