Interview: Yuck Print House

Yuck Print House is a Manchester-based gallery space and workshop peddling a vibrant array of top notch eye-candy for printaholics everywhere.

Having been on the scene for a number of years through pop-up shops and exhibitions, Yuck finally took shape as a permanent space back in Summer 2014. Now, with the launch of their latest exhibition Spring Spring Spring we thought it was high time to say hello and find out more about this exciting Northern venture.

Hello, thanks for chatting with us today. So, Yuck Print House, what’s it all about then?

Yuck Print House is a behemoth of ink and paper, established to rid the world of boring, generic and twee art and replace it with original, bodacious, beautiful works of art that will bring wonder and joy to your eyeballs!

Tell us a bit about yourself, who is the face behind Yuck Print House?

Mark: My main background is in curating exhibitions. In Manchester the most noticeable has been the Invasion of Manchester by Parisian artist Space Invader and the Ill Communication series of exhibitions at Urbis, which brought together a large number of prominent street artists at that time. As part of these projects I would release prints, and over time I became more passionate about printed works so made that my focus. I’ve been commissioning, printing, distributing and selling for myself and on behalf of others for a long time now.

We know Yuck Print House had an earlier incarnation as a series of pop-up shops around Manchester. How did this all come about and what made you decide to set up a permanent home in Chorlton?

The city centre pop-ups were a starting point of having a physical space beyond selling online. It was a good way to test ideas around what work to sell and how to display it. While hosting the temporary shops a large number of people coming along were from South Manchester so that made me think about setting up there… Also the fact there’s plenty of places to have good food and booze in these parts!

Chorlton is a base, a home where we display some of the work, but it also allows us go and do other projects in different spaces and cities.

When it comes to exhibitions, how do you go about selecting work? Do you focus on local artists, or are you international?

It all depends on the idea behind the exhibition. With group shows sometimes the work needs to be complementary, other times they can be contrasting.

I look for work that is modern and contemporary, but tend not to be concerned about it being illustration, fine art or anything else.

Rather than limit our selection I appreciate all genres and look at the overall beauty of each print. I work with artists from all over; a number are local and others are from New York, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Bueno Aires, Copenhagen…

What’s the balance as far as commissioned versus existing work on show? And since Yuck got up and running, have you had any particularly successful collaborations or commission pieces?

It’s a mix but commissioning and publishing new prints is the most exciting part for me. At the moment I have a number of Risograph prints and limited edition screen printed releases coming up. When I do sell existing work they are always low editions and tend not to be available from anywhere else in the UK. In the near future I can see that all the work is exclusive to Yuck.

I recently organised an exhibition at Islington Mill in Salford based around collaboration, called ‘Team Building’. Marion Jdanoff and Damien Tran from Berlin spent one week in residency at the Mill working with people based there; including DR.ME, John Savwo & Steve Hockett. A number of risos and screen printed work (on paper and fabric), some by all six, some in pairs and a few works individually.  It was a real challenge in terms of time and process but also making sure everyone was happy with what was being produced – thankfully everyone was positive and supporting of each other, if they hadn’t been it would have been a very different show!

Whose work are you exhibiting at the moment?

Our Spring exhibition recently opened with Jay Cover, Aliyah Hussain, Sarah Mazzetti, Ronny Hunger and Leah Stewart. It’s a simple concept for an exhibition but very interesting to see the different approaches and what ideas they came up with. The next exhibition will be based on collage and forms part of the Chorlton Arts Festival in May.

Can you tell us a little bit about the print workshops you run and why you decided to set these up?

The printing workshops are so fun! It’s a way to interact with people and get them involved in the space as well as introducing them to printing. Over two evenings they learn about screen printing and risograph and make their own edition merging both techniques together. We show that you can start printing at home so we teach participants the basics, what the materials they need and where to get them.

In recent years there seems to have been resurgence in the popularity of particular (somewhat DIY) print styles like risograph. Why do you think this is?

Risograph is a relatively inexpensive way to make a large volume of work and it’s more accessible than ever. I think people enjoy simple ways of creating and the risograph feels more organic and hands on than digital. Beginners are welcome to book on one of our workshops and anyone already familiar with using a riso can contact us about printing their own work.

And finally, do you have any advice for illustrators or artists looking to approach gallery spaces or stockists with their work?

It probably helps if you have an awareness of what they do and consider if your work would fit. Engage with the seller and most importantly just be nice. I usually don’t have a certain criteria and predominantly rely on my spidey senses to tingle.


Posted on Apr 14th, 15 by

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