‘From the first Andy Warhol canvases I saw,’ begins Dean Stockton, better known as street artist D*Face, ‘to the moment I walked into Surrey Skateboards and was hit by the heady smell of screen-printed decks, to the first envelope that arrived from Shepard Fairey stuffed full of OBEY stickers, or the first time I got all the magic ingredients right in the witch’s cauldron of home screen printing, and printing my first sticker sheet.’
For a man whose most famous canvases are city walls, Stockton is a man in awe of a basic printing process that just won’t go away. He’s reverential of its beauty in ‘misprints and repetition’, its imperfections, its attainability and primitive nature. ‘I have always been fascinated by the process,’ he continues, ‘which in its simplest form is a very basic method of mass print production, practically the lowest rung on the ladder of printing (just after potato printing), and achievable to anyone willing to invest in the small amount of money and time needed to learn the dark art.’
In his latest show, Misprints & Misfits at London’s StolenSpace Gallery, D*Face explores his printing archives; presenting a series of one-off paper pieces that expose the workings of a man fixated. Proofs, misprints, and editions show the processes behind the artist’s work, the experimentation and trials and errors that oft comprise a completed work. ‘It can be deeply frustrating to people trying to achieve print perfection,’ the London-based artist spells out — confirming that, whilst accessible, screen printing is a skill for what he calls master printers.
It’s refreshing to see a misfit artist looking to a medium with wonder and reverence, a welcome reminder of the importance of tools to a creative, and a heartfelt appreciation of masters in their craft. D*Face, Misprints & Misfits, continues at StolenSpace Gallery until 1 May.