Interview with Marcroy Smith (Director @ People of Print)

Published Mar, 2015

Marcroy what is your background? What is the path that led you to People of Print?

I studied illustration at Brighton University and graduated in 2008. At that point I had a keen interest in print rooms and screen printing. I did an internship in New York for a company called Urban Inks at this point I already set up the website called People of Print which at that stage was to document people I liked and the services I used, it was almost like a personal list of book marks.

When I got back from America, where I met a lot of printmakers and designers, there were prints waiting for me in London, I started exhibiting prints. I had to stop because the small commission we took was not enough to cover the costs of exhibiting — it wasn’t a viable business.

I went back to New York and worked as a graphic designer for an advertising agency, however I did not enjoy being a small part of a big machine. I thought that I could run a company myself in a away that I would like to do it and thats what I did when I moved back to London. We registered the company as a limited, turned the website into a daily updated blog and started focusing on events.

So what is People of Print?

It is a community of printmakers around the world, and we have a team who work on the publishing side of things, alongside events, workshops and brand collaborations.

What does People of Print do, you have the website which is a great resource, and the magazine, but is it part of a bigger operation?

People come to us for print management and design, advice on how to print, where to print, and what paper stock to use. We are also commissioned to do live printing events in various locations where we can demonstrate and teach printmaking. We run workshops and teach at various universities around the United Kingdom.

We also have the blog, directory, Department Store which sells work by various vendors a book published by Thames and Hudson and self-published magazines and posterzines.

We work closely with other print orientated organisations like Hewlett Packard, Heidelberg, Pureprint, Pressision, ELP and LCC to create meaningful relationships and interesting projects.

Why did you decide to go with Kickstarter to crowdfund your magazine?

We wanted to check if there was a need for it and if people wanted the publication.

What are you working on now?

We are in talks with KK Outlet to do a print fair during Christmas at their venue from the 1 to the 23rd. There will be loads of prints to look at, some live printing and books, maybe some talks and events.

What is the state of print in London?

I think people are starting to appreciate what an art print is. People are starting to understand the difference between a screen print and a cheap digital print. I don’t know how its come about maybe it’s because art schools and universities integrate print into design and illustration, and creative courses in general. So people coming out of universities who did a creative course will have an understanding of print. Thus there are more people understanding the process and using it more and there are more products created in that particular medium and therefore its raising awareness for it. Its a knock on effect.

In terms of there being more studios, it might be because it is a fun thing to do, and its really rewarding. You have guys like Peckham Print Studio who did it on a small budget, then Sonsoles who came out of RCA. East London Printmakers have been there for donkeys years. People are setting up their own screen print studios all you need is some screens, hinges, a piece of wood, and a halogen light.

There are a lot of screen printers but there is not a massive resurgence of relief or intaglio printmaking. I think that’s because screen printing is designing in layers and its flat aesthetic that cannot be achieved on a screen is appealing to designers and illustrators so they come out of uni and they want to do it.

So to answer your question the current state of print — there is a lot of stuff happening.

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