Big Fag Press

Archived entries for General

Where are we now? And how do I get there?

big fag press - new location

In preparation for our Big Fag “O” Day this weekend, we’ve prepared a map and guide to how to arrive at our new home in a timely fashion! Click on the image above for a larger size.

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

Day one: (Saturday 14 June, 2014 – 10-4pm)
An exclusive lecture by a guest artist or Big Fag partner
An explanation of how the press works and display of previous prints
Light refreshments
Discussion of participants’ artwork ideas and workshopping
Decisions on colour and paper stock for final prints
You need to bring: Ideas/ sketches/ images for discussion, and lunch

In the meantime:
You have a week to send us your final artwork

Day two: (Saturday 28 June, 2014 – 10-5pm)
Print-making workshop
Light refreshments
You need to bring: Lunch

You will come away with:
A new knowledge of offset print-making
Approximately 50 A4-size limited edition, single-colour artworks

Where we are:
We are located in the little semi-circular rooms called Viaducts directly underneath the bridge where the light rail runs, and alongside Jubilee Park Oval. We are easily accessible by light rail (Jubilee Park stop), on foot and by bike. You can also take bus 431 down to the bottom of Glebe Point Road and follow the waterline around to the bridge. Limited parking is available. Please get in touch by phone if you get lost.

Contact details:
Phone: 0411 045 221
Location: Archway 4, Jubilee Park Oval
(off Chapman Road and beneath Jubilee Park light rail way),
Annandale, NSW 2038

Jubilee Park Viaducts

The City of Sydney Supported “Viaducts”

Please note:
The Big Fag Press reserves the right to reschedule workshops due to ticket sales and unforeseeable circumstances where we will give you at least 48 hours’ notice.
Likewise 48 hours’ notice of cancellation by participants is required for an alternative workshop date.
No previous experience necessary.

Big Fag Press is committed to equal opportunities and recognises, respects and values the diversity of its partners, volunteers and participants.

We thank the City of Sydney for its generous contribution through its Creative City accommodation grants.

Artist Trent Walter printing on the Big Fag

Artist Trent Walter printing on the Big Fag


Big Fag Newsletter out now!

big fag newsletter

Our wonderful new intern Tim has spurred us to publish something we’ve been meaning to do for AGES – something which in the not-too-distant future will probably seem very old-fashioned – an “e-newsletter”…

These custom designed HTML email thingummies seem to be all the rage at the moment (notwithstanding that they may in fact be kinda evil or at the very least misguided. More discussion here).

Anyway, we’ve had lots of folks signing up to our “hear from us” page, so we figured that it was high-time we tried a bit harder to keep you informed as to our Big Fag Goings-On…

So without further ado, you can read our first newsletter, here.

Louise’s “Intern Report”

Louise Anderson has been our official “intern” at Big Fag for over a year now, and we can’t imagine life without her. In this blog post, Louise reflects on her experience of working with us.

An Unlikely “Internship”, by Louise Anderson

Now, it’s not many people who can say they know how to and have helped change the blanket on a 4 tonne printing machine (that’s the weight of 8 cars). Actually, a year ago, I thought a blanket was just the rug I use on my bed. But now I know, large offset printing machines use rubber blankets to transport ink from rollers to paper. How did I come by this information? It’s an interesting story.

A while ago in my Fashion Design degree I decided I wanted to take a more artistic route and major in the visual communication/ printwork side of things, and I was told I needed to do an internship. The desire to be part of the artworld always having been somewhere there in my subconscious I seized the opportunity when Lucas Ihlein by chance gave a lecture in a class I was taking, told him I was inspired by his presentation and would he mind if a wannabe artist hung around him for a while. At this point I had no idea he was part of a collective at the Big Fag Press, and that suddenly my degree and my artist dreams would veer down the same path.

Being an “intern” (yes I still do the “_” hand movements when I say this outloud) with a group of artists is very different to what I’ve experienced in the world of fashion where I remember steaming dresses all day long. I could have been the coffee kart chick at a larger magazine company that couldn’t afford to let an amateur like me do any actual work, instead I’ve been welcomed into a small business almost at the point where it’s just got off the ground, making artist contact one after the other and being allowed and thanked to be an integral part of every process from admin, to running the machine, to event organisation and documentation and digital design work. I even got to use my patternmaking and sewing skills to make a cover to fit the press!

I’ve met and worked with artists Michael Stevenson, Jason Wing, Kate Sweetapple, Keg de Souza, Ian Milliss, Fiona McDonald, and many more, not to mention collaborating with Artspace, the MCA, Fremantle Arts Centre, The CrossArt Projects, Firstdraft Gallery and Performance Space, The Paper Mill and of course Mickie Quick, Diego Bonetto and Pat Armstrong. Lucas even paid for a workshop I attended at the Rizzeria. Our big project last year Green Bans Art Walks saw me designing the project logo and T-shirt, and one of my photographs of the event ended up by chance in the City News newspaper which subsequently got me a few freelance photography jobs.

I’m on the brink of being able to run the Big Fag Press by myself (apart from perhaps the weight of some of the parts!), and I’ve learnt so much, as well as being able to consolidate skills I already had in photography and digital design. The opportunities I’ve encountered, not to mention the mentoring, inspiration and (dare I say) friendships I’ve made have been invaluable to me. I’m currently simultaneously doing a few of my own prints on the press, and beginning my final year and major work for my degree, altogether happy to have ended up at this point, in a place I feel I’ve helped, and has helped me.

Our new dust-jacket!

big fag dust jacket

Since last October, Louise Anderson has been working with Big Fag Lucas as an “intern”, helping out with print and design related tasks on whatever project happens to be on the go.

We’ve loved having Louise around. She helps us to organise ourselves a bit better, and she doesn’t hesitate to tell us we’re crazy when we explain our “normal” methods of doing things. Needless to say, we’ve improved our methods a bit thanks to her.

But one of the most satisfying things Louise has done for us is to design and sew the handsome navy blue dust jacket you see in the picture above. The press needs to be protected from dust, and even though it sits in its own sealed garage, leaves and dust inevitably make their way into the workshop, where they wreak havoc on our desire to “get it right” when printing. So a dust jacket like this is essential.

The jacket rolls up on the broomstick which slots through the end nearest to us in the photo: one person can roll it off at the start of a printing day, and pop it back on again afterwards. Note the crisp white overlocked seams. Louise is actually a refugee from fashion design school, and we’re proudly introducing her to the chaos of working within an art context. Sometimes, like in the fabrication of our new dust jacket, the two worlds collide, quite nicely.

looking around


Well well, there is a lot of big names, big galleries and big projects around here.

We manage to take turns to be able to see the rest of this art-economy kermesse, Mick going to listen to a talk by Paul McCarthy, introducing himself as the guy who graffitied his work, but i’ll let him brag about that on his own blog.

I myself slowly working my way around, a little at a the time, in digestible doses, through out the enormity of the fair.

I’d like to feature down here one of the works I pulled out from the crowd, by Lara Almarcegui, Spanish artist who I met last year, and with whom I shared a joint exhibition in Torino.

This work might be of great interest to another fellow BigFagger, Lucas, but will let him brag about that in his own blog too.

As far as our (BigFag) art then we keep talking to amazing people. Mentionable are the rest of the exhibitors of OffPress (see list previous post) and other print enthusiats, like this guy who approached by saying that he just had to sell off his own FAG the other day, because his small scale printing venture could not afford anymore the real eastate it occupied, he was very glad to know we keep our machine going, and he said lots of great things about the press he owned and the mechanical mastery behind it. So good, so passionate about a machine that unfortunately just became industry-redundant..

More to come


A practical way to sell prints


We arrived in Basel and realised we didnt organize ourselves for packaging the prints we’d like to sell and subsidise our Swiss venture with.

So Mick went off to Die Post to get some solutions, practical ones!

So far not much to say about the ‘biggest Art Fair in the world’, we just went through the A list invitation-only opening yesterday, with a few people stopping by between a drinking networking section and another to be puzzled by our rather loud shirts “BIG FAG”, which incidentally turned up to be our best viral marketing strategy yet!

Anyway, the second day is starting, media preview day, so back behind the desk!


More to come, more images on this flickr.

Big Fag Press at Art Basel

the boss at the fair
[The Boss at the Art Fair, day one…]

Big Fag Press is off to Switzerland for the Basel Art Fair.
Yes, it’s (strange but) true!

Today, our Big Fags (Diego and Mickie) arrived in Europe. Tonight they will slick their hair back and press the flesh at the world’s fanciest zine fair.

We’ve brought some terrific prints with us to show and sell, and we’ll be looking to meet and some excellent artists and talk about the prospect of printing even more lithographic editions!

The opportunity to exhibit in Basel came about earlier this year at a meeting we had with Lionel Bovier, a Swiss art book publishing maven.

Lionel was so impressed by the absurd story of our adaptive re-use of our 4 tonne machine that he invited us to participate in a special exhibition entitled “OFF PRESS” at the Basel Art Fair.

Our meeting with Lionel Bovier was organised by Artspace, Sydney. In turn, Artspace was kind enough to sponsor our visit to Switzerland by covering an airfare and freight.

Here’s some more info about OFF PRESS:

The first Off Press presentation focuses on publishers and structures that literally or conceptually re-appropriate their means of production, i.e. acquiring small press facilities or devices, developing programs using new and old technological possibilities and defining a new zeitgeist in contemporary publishing. These presses are often small, artist or designer-run, and marked by a new take on the DIY aesthetics.

(From Art Basel‘s website)

The participants in the OFF PRESS exhibition include:

Incidentally, the Big Fag Press itself is originally Swiss, a fact celebrated in this print.

We’re hoping while he’s in that most neutral of nations, our man Mickie will get the chance to visit the FAG HQ in Lausanne (near Geneva), where our precious monster was born all those years ago…

Fag Mag #1 Callout

toecutter poster

The following message comes through from Dave, one of the FagPress Mavens. Above is a photo of him with his amazing lo-fi 2 colour poster, which we printed up a few weeks back. The great thing about this poster was that we made the plates ourselves, from transparencies Dave got made up during a recent trip to Indonesia. Anyway, read on, you could participate in our first ever magazine project, and thus be part of BIG FAG history! But remember, to contribute, artwork deadline is Friday, the 3rd of August.

Dear FAGs and Friends,

We are compiling a project which requires the input of a bunch of you “artist” types.

Myself and H. Shimada are co-editing a collection of work to be included in a print run of a small booklet (much the same format as a classic comic book) to be printed on the FAGpress in August.

We are offering (22) places, each a page of it’s own, of the dimensions 170mm wide by 260mm high. There is also one double-page in the centre (available by request).

Your contribution can be writings, drawings, collage, photograph, an advirtisement, a blank page with a
sticker or panel you provide us with 100 of…

Please, use your imagination!

We want this to be FABULOUS!

There will be two catagories, with one being printed in black (monochrome) and the other in red and blue (duo-tone). Blue and Red produces an excellent “fake” full-colour, and together mimic black quite well: very handsome.

There are an equal number of Mono and Duo pages, but once One fills up, you’re submission is stuck in The Other. People who wish to have their work printed in
Duotone will need to consult with me unless they are able to do the separations themselves.

There is a tutorial for colour separation on the website

Shortly there will be an FAQ, examples of work and a downloadable template. [ download template from:


The cover will be a four-colour screenprint, with an introduction inside the front cover and credits, etc. inside the back cover. There also will be a sash around the book and a three-colour pull-out centrefold.

The places are strictly limited, and will be accepted in order of receipt, with prefrences going to those who’ve slogged under the FAG. Just so it is implicitly stated, decisions regarding the booklet will be made by the editors.

The cost of inclusion is $25. This will cover the cost of the plate and printing (hopefully!). We are going to do an edition on 100 and each “artist” will recieve 2 copies of the finished work. The rest will be sold to raise money for future endevours on the FAG. This could be for you!

BIG FAG #01 is (hopefully) the first of a series of similar works to be produced on the press, with the possibility of being designed and compiled by an individual artist, or small groups, or like this one again! So set your thinking-caps to STUN!

This is a test, in many respects, so you should be aware that it may not ALL come out as you (and we!) expect it to. You understanding in this regard is greatly appreciated.

Please post original artwork, or a compact disc of your shit to:

The Barn
11 Collins St
NSW 2015

Artwork Deadline is the Friday, the 3rd of August.

Looking forward to hear from youse.

David Harris

P.S. Please feel free to forward this to any interested parties, however, this is a Sydney based project so Jeff Koons and co. can go and get fucked.
(sorry, read that as “Did I forget anyone?”)

First beer label design posted here to spur ye all on!

A draft of my first design is here! (40KB)
…hopefully it will spur you all on to get designing!

and here is one by The Toecutter! (56 KB)

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