Over 30 years ago Gisborne-based artist Tony Ogle was drawn to screen printing to express his vibrant vision of New Zealand. The medium suited his love of strong lines and clear, crisp colour – graphic qualities he feels remain essential in his work to this day. Ogle learned the techniques of screen printing from the ground up with the majority of his knowledge gleaned from books. It was then a clear case of diving in. With his initial inexperience of exposure times, focus, and colour mixing, there were inevitable and monumental mistakes and restarts. With a fervour to learn from his missteps, his novice period was short-lived and he soon mastered the medium that was to become his primary focus for over three decades.

Ogle first creates a painting of his composition before translating it onto screens for the printing process. Following multiple checks that all elements are present, the first screen is laid down and the underlying layer of colour is applied, a process that is then repeated for each individual screen and colour. He says he still gets a rush when the first colour of a new print is transferred to paper under a smoothly guided and steady squeegee blade.

Above: a series of photos that show the different stages of the screen print process for ‘Kakariki Cove’. Below: The completed screenprint.

Printing is a dynamic process that demands a high level of attention to pick up any irregularities in each press. Any non-recoverable works are consigned to the reject bin and excluded from the edition. For this reason Artist’s Proofs (A/Ps) – sheets cut over and above the edition number – are created, so that should there be any rejects the edition number is not affected. Ogle lives by the ethos that a maximum number of 10% of the total edition is allowable for sale, and that his prints are strictly limited to the edition and no one image will be repeated in another edition.

Ogle says he continues to work in screen printing as it allows for an integrity that only comes from an artist’s energy and effort – the artist’s hand is apparent and it offers great satisfaction when an image is successfully completed. To date the artist estimates he has completed over 120 works that have been offered as limited edition screen prints.