Print City: Q&A with Scott Hudson

8 May 2017

Dundee Design Festival takes place this month and we're looking forward to being involved again. This year's theme is 'Factory Floor', acknowledging Dundee's rich industrial heritage and global shift in current design practice where designers and makers are blending craftmanship with industrial processes to create a hybrid of the very old and the very new.

A major part of this year's festival programme will be Print City, a project led by Print Festival Scotland, which is a collaboration between DCA and the University of Dundee. The project is being led by Scott Hudson of DCA, and Paul Harrison of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. We caught up with Scott for a chat about what they've got planned, and how visitors to Dundee Design Festival can get involved.

Hi Scott! Thanks for chatting to us. First of all, can you let us know a little about yourself and your general involvement in print making?

I was first introduced to printmaking when I studied Illustration and Printmaking at Duncan Of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. The course was very much hands on printmaking, hence the title, and after cutting my first lino blocks and making an etching plate, I was hooked.

"Scotland is basically one of the best places to be if you intend to have a career in printmaking, or intend to make printing central to your practice as an artist"

After studying, I left Dundee for a number of years but returned in 2001, with the intention of getting back into my art and printmaking after a few years out travelling and working abroad. Scotland is basically one of the best places to be if you intend to have a career in printmaking, or intend to make printing central to your practice as an artist. It has first class print studios in all the major cities and a rich heritage and relationship with printmaking. This is why I returned as I wanted to be part of printmaking in Scotland.

I was awarded a bursary from the then Scottish Arts Council back in 2002 and this gave me the opportunity to be part of a programme called CATS (Creative and Technical Skills) that DCA Print Studio was hosting, which focused on artists developing their professional printmaking skills. Not long after completing this course I started to work as a Print Technician in DCA Print Studio. 

So I've been employed at Dundee Contemporary Arts for around 15 years now, working primarily in the Print Studio but also as part of the Learning team. These roles have meant I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in numerous and diverse opportunities relating to these positions, for instance; making limited editions with exhibiting artists at DCA, teaching all types of printmaking courses and workshops, coordinating print based art projects and events here in Dundee and across Scotland.

I now co-coordinate Dundee Print Collective and Print Festival Scotland, which both keep me very busy. And it's about to get busier this spring with a new project called Print City...

Let us know what you've got planned for Dundee Design Festival...

"All of these shapes will be hand printed with images and drawings of peoples interpretations of city life "

As part of the Dundee Design Festival, Print Festival Scotland will be printing and constructing a huge immersive installation called Print City, which will be printed and constructed live through the duration of the Design Festival at the West Ward Works, where DC Thomson used to print the Beano and Dandy annuals. This collection of sculptures will cover a floor space of 700 m2 and will comprise of around a thousand large shapes.

All of these shapes will be hand-printed with images and drawings of people's interpretations of city life, mixed in with Dundee's rich industrial heritage of which printmaking played a huge part. What will be great about this project is that visitors to the festival will see this abstract urban landscape evolve and grow, until it fills one of the huge rooms at the West Ward Building.

Sounds exciting! What's happening just now, and what's been happening already in preparation for Print City?

Lots has already happened as we've been planning this project for months with Dundee Design Festival. We hosted two weekends of drop-in drawing workshops, where we asked the Dundee public to draw their city. They were very popular workshops which means we have loads of images to use for the printmaking aspect. We then ordered all the materials and equipment needed to make this happen, it's a lot of cardboard and ink!


At the moment we're still designing the patterns to be screen printed onto the card that will form the Print City constructions. We've had a delivery or tri-wall card to West Ward Works - two hundred 3m x 2m sheets that were all lifted off the truck by hand(!) Next stage is to get all the screens and inks on site so we're ready to do some test printing. Cutting of the card starts this weekend!


During Dundee Design Festival, how can people get involved?

"It's a lot of cardboard and ink!"

Visitors to the festival will be able to see the Print City factory production line (team of artists) print and construct the huge shapes that will make up this installation. As its being built, the public will be able to explore its building, streets and even its parks - they may also be asked to help pitch in from time to time!

There are other interesting and exciting things developing around the project but we're going to keep them secret for now. On some days however, there will be print and making activities responding to Print City, so you'll definitely get a chance to get printing sometime!

Thanks Scott for a great insight into print making and Print City! Come along for a look and to get involved, Dundee Design Festival runs from Wed 24 - Mon 29 May.

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