Big Fag Press


Archived entries for Friends in Print

Proud printers

Heya,

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.

-Victor-De-Sousa,-Narelle-Jubelin,-Fiona-MacDonald,-Maria-Madeira,-Elastic-Borracha-Elastico-

On until the 4th of July, see here for more details>

Big Fag at Bundanon

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!

wayzgoose

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>>

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Making business cards as good neighbours practice

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.

Mok with the red plate

Mok with the red plate

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Bayu Widodo Exhibition at Big Fag Press

bayu exhibition big fag press

CETAK SARANG ATTACK #1 – A travelling exhibition and printmaking event. (Cetak Sarang means “Screen-printing”!)

Click here for the Facebook event page.

During the past month, celebrated Indonesian printmaker Bayu Widodo has been artist in residence at Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne, and Megalo Print Studio in Canberra.

Now, join us at Big Fag Press in Sydney for Bayu’s last Aussie hurrah before he heads back home to Yogyakarta, “The Berlin of Asia”.

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Intern at Big Fag Press

 

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.

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New workshop available>> Share a PL8 :)

Pilot Programme $250 – Saturdays, 14 and 28 June

Have you ever wanted to print your own limited edition artist work but couldn’t afford it?

The Big Fag Press are launching a new workshop series, and in exchange for your feedback, we’re offering an exclusive start-up offer for 8 people.

The Big Fag are a group of artists who run a 4 tonne FAG-104 proofing press which is no longer commericially viable. It is however, a real boon for print-makers, artists and activists who want to print a short series of special works. Unfortunately printing on our beloved fag press can be rather pricey, which is why we’ve devised a system where 8 people get to share a lithographic printing plate (hence the “Share a PL8″) over a 2 day workshop, 2 weeks apart to create a one-colour A4 sized limited edition print.

 

Lucas Ihlein, inking the press

Lucas Ihlein, inking the press

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Would you like to volunteer with us?

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

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

Continue reading…

Printing botanical illustrations ON botanical specimens>> how post-modern :)

 

Yes indeed, I thought this to be quite a nice spin off adding yet another successful experiment to our portfolio.

The artwork in question is being printed as one of the reward for a crowd funding campaign by the team at Wild Stories.

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

News from the centre of the Universe

dafi kuhne with his fag press

Dafi Kuhne is an artist and printmaker in Switzerland – at the heart of Mordor, so to speak, in terms of the FAG corporation.

We’ve been corresponding with Dafi for a few years now. Users of FAG machines tend to look out for each other and enjoy hearing that other FAGs are still trucking along, all around the world.

Dafi uses letterpress rather than offset, and he has created a website to celebrate the letterpress side of the FAG empire.

In his blog entry, which I’ve cut and pasted below, he kindly makes a concession to us, including our FAG OP-104 offset proofing press in his canon of classic heavy metal machines.

Dafi found and used the video below – which shows Dr Greg Turner, a big fan of the Big Fag, helping to print DJ Spooky‘s print Nauru Elegies.

(More info on the print with DJ Spooky here).

Cheers to you and your letterpress children, Dafi, from your lithographic brothers in Sydney.
– – –

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…

Big Fag visits Calverts

big fag visits calverts co-op
[Sion from Calverts shows us one of their early hand-painted trade signs – apparently it was called “north star” because that was the name of the pub where they had their first meeting!]

– – –

In July, Lucas from Big Fag visited Calverts Printing Co-operative in London.

We’re always keen to link up with other printing groups – especially those who are:

(a). socially responsible and politically progressive;
and
(b). better at printing than we are.

Calvert’s has been in business for more than 30 years, amazingly running as a co-operative the entire time. The Co-op has about a dozen employees, all of whom receive exactly the same salary regardless of whether they are in marketing, accounts, prepress or at the coalface of their big multi-colour Heidelberg.

Everyone in the co-op has an equal say in how things run, and everyone shares responsibility for the success or failure of the co-op.

It’s a pretty inspiring thing to see a co-operative being able to operate so professionally (go have a look at their website and see the really beautiful things they make).

But more than that, to see that organisational structure at the heart of the operation is a reminder of the fact that to be economically successful, you don’t have to have a top-down corporate structure.

Thanks to Cath at Footprint Workers Co-op in Leeds for taking me along on the field trip to Calverts – and to Sion for showing me around!



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