We’re excited over here at the Big Fag Press, as we managed to secure Mirra Whale for our next printing workshop in the Share a Pl8 series, so good, book your place today.
Share a plate with Mirra
Mirra is most famous for her exquisite drawings, portraiture (see here for her selection for the Archibald last year) and big scale prints of weeds, and she will join the Big Fag team for a small numbers/high attention time. Learn how to create a beautiful artwork inspired by the long standing tradition of still life. Here’s a selection of drawings, etchings and aquatints form Mirra’s hands:
The Daughters Opera is a piece of collaborative contemporary music theatre about gender violence in the 21st century. It is currently being produced by Sydney-based performance artist Tammy Brennan, between Australia and India. A powerful monodrama that spans a massive emotional terrain, the audience enter a mythic realm engulfed by fear, condemnation, sacrifice and ritual directed by acclaimed Indian theatre artist Anuradha Kapur.
right now Brenda May Gallery there’s an exhibition of prints, books, photographs and sculptural objects: Multiples.
Curated by art historian and independent curator, Akky van Ogtrop, and featuring two sets of prints produced on the Big Fag Press: Zoë Sadokierski Typewriters series -see here for the feature page on our site- and Victor De Sousa, Narelle Jubelin, Fiona MacDonald and Maria Madeira’s ‘Elastic/Borracha/Elastico’ – see here for an article by Jo Holder on the process and scope behind the suite of prints.
On until the 4th of July, see here for more details>
The Big Fag crew is a bunch of busy buddies, lost in their lives, work, practice and preoccupation. We seldom get together under the same roof for longer than a print run. Thankfully there is places that offer artist’s retreats, like Bundanon Trust, a couple of hours south of Sydney, where artists and artist collectives can take refuge from their busy lives and concentrate on one task only: catch up!
In the industry when a bunch of printmakers get together for a catch up, a print, and a feast is called a Wayzgoose, and that’s what we did. We printed, cooked for each others, went through an alarming amount of discussions and paperwork and over all enjoyed the beautiful settings>>
Here at the ‘ducts there are several organisations, and as we settling in the neighbourhood we became friends with all of them. Some are open during the day, some at night, some on weekends.
We have the local Australian Football League, the Glebe Greyhounds, the Glebe District Hockey Club , a community band rehearsal room, Glebe Music Project, the local grounds keeper for the Jubilee Park oval, and the Pyrmont Ultimo Glebe Mens Shed.
As part of my study abroad semester I’m doing an internship at a place called the Big Fag Press. An awesome networking connection got me exposed to this fabulous space, and I’m just beginning to get my hands dirty.
First, the machine itself is an offset printer. A classical Swiss printer with obscure buttons, ink rollers and dusty typed up instructions. This is the Big Fag Press. The clever owners obtained this machine when an unfortunate print company went belly up. At auction time the winning bid of $50 gave the machine new owners and a new space.
The garage of the Big Fag Press sits under the tracks of the light rail line in Glebe with doors that open out to a fabulously fresh and green cricket lawn called the Jubilee Oval. Previously the Big Fag Press was operated in another space but this new garage provides nice breathing room for the machine. The garage feels like a mix between metalhead tool shed and grandparent attic with plastic crate shelving, carts stacked with papers, and art prints stored nonchalantly in metal drawers. A series of metal shelves stack fancy dripping cans of ink colours waiting for use. You can smell a passion for print.
John Demos, Tim Barbarino, Lucas Ihlein, Kris Tito, Louise Anderson and Diego Bonetto at the end of John Demos’ Accessible Arts Residency at the Big Fag Press, The Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross
The Big Fag Press is an artist –run –initiative and much of the time, it is a labour of love rather than money. We’re always on the lookout for volunteers or people looking for long term work- placement situations about one or two days per week for several months.
It may seem like a strange organisation to come and work with, but because it is a very small operation, you will get hands-on experience in many areas.
We welcome interest from people who would like to develop skills in:
Administration and project management for the arts
Media strategy and marketing, including social media
Day to day website and online store maintenance
Graphic design, branding and promotion
Photography and short video making
Pre-press and offset lithographic print-making
Learning the operations of an Artist–Run–Initiative
You need to be:
Friendly, open-minded and willing to work as part of a team
Independent and not afraid to take on new tasks
Able to work in a collaborative environment
Driven and enthusiastic
Organised and punctual
Willing to accept our anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policy
You will get:
Hands on experience in any area of the operation you wish to
A friendly, happy team to work with
The opportunity to network within the arts community
General mentorship from people in the art world
You may like to read this blog post on her internship at the Big Fag by our now Associate Partner, Louise Kate Anderson. Her work at the Big Fag has aided her arts administration and project management skills, and led to many other opportunities such as being on the board of Runway Australian Experimental Art, working as Exhibition Assistant for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2013 and being a panellist in an Accessible Arts’ forum at the MCA about Supported Studio Networks.
If interested please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or just come to ourBig FAG O Day on June 7>9
A stock of hand made paper was produced by PaperGoRound, containing seeds of common edible weeds. The peculiarity of this paper is that effectively, if you would plant it, would GROW!
This paper was then printed with a set of 4 illustrations by Mirra Whale, depicting the plant whose seeds are imbedded in the paper.
The results are stunning, and if you think they are as worthy of appreciation as much as the campaign is worthy of support, please do head to the link here to get either a single one or the full set>> http://pozible.com/wildfoodmap
Cheers to you and your letterpress children, Dafi, from your lithographic brothers in Sydney.
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Brothers in mind in Sydney, Australia by Dafi Kuhne.
FAG did not only make letterpress cylinder proof presses but also flatbed offset proof presses. Already in 1972 (the same year they developed the Swiss Proof Presses!) they released their first offset proof press: The ‹FAG Offsetpress 7654›. In 1977 they released the bigger ‹FAG OP-104›, a 4.5 meters long, 3.5 tons heavy flatbed offset proof press in that could fit 70x100cm sheets. The press came with two interchangeable complete inking units including its motors and wash-up units. This inking system made 4 color proofs much easier and faster to handle, since the time consuming washing of there rollers is carried out outside the press. This massive press was a big success and sold to all five continents until the late 80ies.
New quality control tools and the first inkjet proof systems made the use of more expensive offset proofs obsolete and so FAG moved its efforts towards quality control in the aspect of all kinds of densitometers for offset production presses.
The point where this chapter about FAG offset proof presses ends is the point where the story of ‹Big FAG Press› in Sydney begins… In 2004 four artists from Sidney could buy an old FAG OP-104 for the nominal value of $50 at an auction.
They say on their webpage: «In 2004, one unfortunate printer in Sydenham (an inner-Sydney suburb) didn’t see this change coming, and went bust. The liquidation auction was very sad. Nobody wanted his equipment despite the large number of print professionals in the room. Instead, they just picked over the carcasses of his office furniture. Having received a tip off from our local Master Printer, Jens Hausch, Big Fag Press attended the auction and placed the winning (and only) bid on the big beautiful FAG 104 Offset Proof Press. Our bid was fifty dollars.»
You can see in the video that the offset plate is on the right side – laying flat. Then the cylinder (including the watering system and some ink rollers) rolls over the plate to the right side. With this process the rubber blanket on the cylinder picks up the ink. On its way back the rubber blanket applies the ink to the sheet laying flat on the left side. You can also see that the offset plate is not mirrored – of course, it’s offset! And even the guy in the video says: «Its magic!»
Until now, the www.proofpress.ch Webpage is limited to registrations of letterpress proof presses – but maybe soon be opened to studios/artists working with FAG flatbed offset proof presses…