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Makes, designs and prints: student Zé Monteiro talks Screen Printing and his process

Published date
20 May 2019
Megan St Clair Morgan
Ze monteiro portrait.

Zé Monteiro joined us for Experimental Screen Printing late last year. Now a screen printing technician, we caught up with the South East London local to hear about his favourite techniques, next steps and how he plans to expand his knowledge further.

Interested predominately in screen printing, graphic design and illustration, Zé moved to London to hone his skills in Screen Printing around a year ago. He has now worked on several projects, including one with RUDE Studio who Zé notes “are wonderful… they are one of my future studio aspirations.” His favourite part of the course he took at LCC was Florence the technician teaching him how to "cook" a natural kind of ink, using beetroot.

This has given Zé the motivation to work freelance aiming to surround himself with other creatives and to make, design and print. Recently working on screen printed t-shirts, he has produced a colour range of prints called ‘Banana Mas Sab Ka A’, which in English means “There’s no tastier banana”.

You created some great work whilst on the course, tell us about your sources of inspiration for these pieces?

For my most recent screen print – Heart, I drew inspiration from the reasons I do certain things – for the Heart print, it was the expression of love. On the course I drew inspiration from my hunger for print experimentation. I’m inspired by the experimentation of textures and shapes created by an artist I admire, POSE. I’m very much looking forward to playing around under his art’s influence some more now.

Printing with inks and beetroot

As part of the course you created work with organic ink using beetroot – how was this process? Is sustainable practice important to you?

Surprisingly, this is a very simple process! It really made me wonder why artists and printers don’t do it more often. I am very grateful to Florence (the technician) who was patient enough to teach me how to do it. Sustainable practice is important; however, it is difficult to do sustainable screen printing and you can only go so far. I worked with beetroot purely to experiment and learn. It certainly opens a new door and who knows what can I do with this knowledge.

So, you teach too – how did the confidence you built on the course help you with your teaching?

Yes! Although I already had confidence from my public speaking experience, it definitely gave me a push and an example to follow on how to structure a course. Since the course I have started my own line of workshops, and I recognise how much I still have to learn when it comes to teaching.

After the course, you’ve continued your practice in Screen Printing at Print Club London, tell us about that?

I continued in my pursuit of screen print projects and Print Club London (PCL) has been a very good place to print at. I started by printing my Diwali Print project and I could not have asked for better help and friendly advice around the studio! Perhaps recognising my efforts and considering past experiences, PCL has recently offered me the role of studio technician!

Congratulations on the role! Tell us more about the community-led print workshop you teach?

I taught at East Street Market, and it’s a busy one. Although I might love the constant buzz of the bargaining on a market, I’d love fewer plastic bags to be used even more! I even made a point of holding the workshop right at East Street. It was a class teaching how to print a tote bag (to your taste) using the traditional technique of screen printing. Printing colour by colour, participants walked out of the workshop with their own personalised tote bag, ready to rock some responsible shopping!

Tell us, what comes next?

I feel it’s time now to explore London as a world creative powerhouse. Attending the course made me “go back to school” for a little while and I loved the creative spark I got from it. I’ll be playing more around with illustration next and how to incorporate it onto my prints. Plus, I’ve been wanting to do another food related piece in so long! It has been amazing getting to know creative people here in this city, I am looking forward to seeing whom and what will I be introduced next to. I always encourage getting in contact with any crazy idea, it’s usually so much fun, and at the end of the day, isn’t that the point?