We visited Dave Buonaguidi AKA Real Hackney Dave in his Dalston studio where he creates his infamous screen printed artworks using Screentec Aqua Art Water-Based Screen Ink. Watch his process below and find out why the Screentec Inks are so integral to his practice.
Real Hackney Dave’s Screen Printing Process
Q & A with Real Hackney Dave about Using Screentec Inks in His Practice
How did you come to use Screentec Aqua Art Water-Based Screen Printing Ink?
Real Hackney Dave: I was working out of Print Club London and going through the process of working out my style, and was leaning towards fluorescent colours. I had tried all the various straight colours but wasn’t really feeling it. I borrowed some Fluorescent Pink off someone and loved the translucent quality but also the vibrancy, then I did what you have to do, just asked someone what the best one was! The great thing about artists and studio dwellers is they always seem willing to help and advise. Once my fellow artist told me about Screentec Aqua Art Water-Based Screen Printing Ink, I got in touch immediately and bish, bash, bosh, lots of lovely fluorescent colours arrived and I’ve never looked back.
What are the characteristics of the Screentec Ink that stand out compared to other screen printing inks?
Real Hackney Dave: Screen printing can be very scientific, too many different colours, too many different processes and often different colours behave in different ways and for me, that just makes everything way too complicated. With Screentec Aqua Art Water-Based Screen Inks, I love bright colours and I really like the transparency to be able to see through the colour to what’s below when I print onto things like maps and vintage love letters. It fits into my ‘universe’. I print onto things I find and use words to react and play with that subject matter, and the translucency helps that relationship.
Talk us through the colours in your collection of inks. What colours can you not do without?
Real Hackney Dave: If I don’t have Fluorescent Pink or Fluorescent Red I die. It’s dramatic, but true. I have lots and lots of other colours, but the main ones I use are red and pink. Any other colour I can do without, but not those two, they are like water and oxygen to me. Every single piece I create I judge it by saying to myself if I put this in a gallery with 200 other artists’ work, how would people know that this one is mine? Pink helps.
Do you experiment a lot with colour mixing, layering etc?
Real Hackney Dave: Not really, I’m a bit lazy like that. I spent a lot of time discovering what I’m not good at and what I’m ok at, and also spent time creating pieces that allowed me to feel comfortable about what my “universe” is… the colours, the style, the personality, the fonts etc. Now I know this, I have an area to play and experiment within, but I am also aware that changing what I do will be jarring. So when I come up with new ideas, I make sure they still feel like something that I would do. It keeps the challenge element of all artists under control and focussed. We all get bored too easily and look for new things, and having the discipline of a brand universe keeps you honest and also stops you doing stuff that confuses people.
Do you have any top tips for using the inks? Any working methods you would like to share?
Real Hackney Dave: I use A LOT of fluorescent inks. I get 5 kilo pots I go through so much. The main thing I have learned is that the best results are when the ink is not too thick. I spray my stencil with a plastic plant waterer and wipe it down (especially on hot days) to stop the ink drying in the stencil. This occasionally happens when the ink is thick, so I add water to make sure it’s a good consistency.
And depending on how you print and what you print onto, sometimes putting a layer of opaque white down first really helps the colour to pop. When I print onto maps, I love being able to see the map through the ink, but sometimes it’s good to get 100% pink power.
The Real Hackney Dave in His Own Words
I came to screen printing pretty late in life and have now become totally possessed by it. Anytime that I’m not in the studio printing, you will find me trawling around auction sites and flea markets looking for interesting found images and ephemera that I can try and print onto. In a past life, I spent over 35 years working in advertising, so I print onto things I find and use the techniques of mass communication and propaganda to create evocative pieces that connect in an emotive and humorous way.
I work with found images and materials, experimenting with the practice of screen printing to push the boundaries of what it is and can be. I have printed onto copper plates, I’ve printed with pheromones, sprinkles, glitter and gold leaf. My work aims to cause a reaction in the viewer, the juxtaposition of familiar images with overlaid text or a smattering of controversy or the odd swear word to accentuate. I love to use the techniques of mass communication and advertising, pairing with found imagery and objects and assertive text that challenges the viewer.
Note: The Fluorescent Pink Ink that appears above will be available from jacksonsart.com very soon