With Nileta Kotsikou of [imatioθíki], we take a drive for a studio visit of father and son team TIND – silkscreen extraordinaire. Their description makes sense the longer one spends in their studio. Machines and lighting systems are custom constructed, recreated da Vinci inventions pepper the space, a metal ferrule of a former paint brush serves as a cigarette holder, and of course their projects are eyebrow raisers. Bustling around the studio pulling out print samples from his collection, Manolis Angelakis excitedly boasts: “We print everything on everything in here man, like chocolate on pancakes and phosphorescent ink on banana leaves!”
Eventually finding the print he was looking for, Manolis holds up a massive human sized portrait. He dares me: “Gabriel, guess who THIS is, Who?” I expect the image to be of some infamous Greek revolutionist. The rakish face is actually a self portrait of his father – Chrisanthos Angelakis – in the 70s, digitised from the original Agfa Ortho 25 film and finalized as a silkscreen print. A youthful vigor shines through Manolis’s bearded face, obviously proud of this print: “yeah, my dad can kick your dad’s ass!”
Part of a new generation of creatives realizing that designers cannot remain isolated – a concept foreign to a culture ingrained with personal independence – Manolis has taken his projects across Greece and abroad looking for cross-disciplinary collaborators. For example, one of their most recent silkscreen projects explored the use of body-paint ink on human skin for The Swink Project splashing ink into a world of swing dance.
To what end? TIND’s dream: to establish an open-source platform. “We have an amazing printing studio with machines that aren’t always being used. What I WANT to see happen is for other printers and even kids to come in and print something, learn and have fun at the same time. I want to be inspired by THEM and hopefully to inspire in return.”
But we live in a world where print orders come in three-zeroed quantities and soulless laser printers answer those demands. Why bother with antiquated methods? One of TIND’s continuing projects, Error is Superior to Art, aptly represents why these two gentlemen are exploring the unusual side of the printing business. “When a print is too prefect, it loses its appeal I believe” says Manolis “and we want to celebrate the magnificence of the human touch, the small intrinsic errors that gives each print its unique personality.”
+ Manolis you obviously grew up with a creative father. Do you have any childhood memories that point to what you do now?
– Manolis | Well I grew up in my dad’s silkscreen studio and for many years I didn’t want to be a printer. But life has a way of telling you things so I ended up loving it as my home. My childhood memories are of a groundhog/karate-kid routine printing endless hours like a machine. Looking back though, that was my zen training that made me into what I am today so kudos Dad.
+ Working together with him, how do you inspire each other on a regular basis?
– Manolis | It may seem odd but I am more analogue and he’s more digital. So yeah we inspire each other through arguing, printing and drinking beers. He is the “know how” and I am the “know why” but we also work closely with amazing artists, designers and creative people so TIND is getting bigger not only as an idea but also as a workforce.
+ A lot of creatives define themselves by what they ARE and the work they DO. Tell me what you’re NOT.
– Manolis | TIND stands for “This Is NOT Designed.” Given that as a principle, I can say that I am not a designer, I am not an artist, I am not your friend.
+ If you could travel back in print world history, where would you go?
– Manolis | Where it all begun, to the time when the first caveman made ink by chewing flowers and then spit-stenciled his hands into the cave walls thus making the first ever silkscreen print.
+ And traveling forward to your dream of an open-source platform/studio, what does that space LOOK like in your imagination?
– Manolis | I always had in my mind a place where you can mix and match as many things as possible. In my head it’s a Mediterranean international residency-based workshop where you can teach and study aspects of design, print and life in general. It’s still a little raw as a concept, but in my mind it is the future.
+ All the best in that endeavor!