While studying fashion design at the École Duperré, I had to take technical classes like screen printing, something I didn’t know a lot about. I loved that class, it opened a door to an array of exciting, new possibilities!
Screen printing is a pretty new technique. It uses polyester/nylon screens (originally made out of silk) stretched across frames on which a photosensitive emulsion is spread. Then, before exposing it to a UV light, a drawing printed in black is laid out against the photosensitive emulsion on a transparent sheet of plastic . When the emulsion is exposed to UVs, it hardens the fabric and keeps ink from passing through it, becoming a sort of stencil. I’m explaining all of this since it may not be clear to everyone. You may have already seen Andy Warhol or other artists from the 60s/70s that popularised this printing technique…
Screen printing has become a hobby of mine since I was a student. After college, I kept it up in workshops in the Paris suburbs in order to print my own patterns. I’ve always thought that it was too bad that there aren’t more workshops in big cities, at least in Paris, that would make screen printing available to individuals…
One day while scrolling through Instagram, I stumbled across a little, ice cream truck-like Renault: Print Van Paris. Here’s a simple mathematical equation that works in my head:
Screenprinting + Ice Cream Truck = I go crazy <3
Digging a little deeper, I found out that besides the little van,Print Van Paris also built a lemonade stand that serves as a printing table.
Print Van Paris is a small business that offers screen printing workshops for private or professional events. You’ve gotta check out their social media to get all their updates; don’t miss out on their workshops! You can also buy colorful posters by the Print Van Paris founders and exclusive drawings made with collaborating artists! You can even choose your design to go and print it on a t-shirt!
It was all just too perfect: I had to meet the people behind this amazing concept. I met Oschon, pronounced “Ocean”, the founder. Oschon is kind, bubbly, and a great teacher: the perfect mix! Everyone at the Lemonade Studio loves him. From the beginning, we thought we should work on a project together!
Last October, we put together several beginner’s screen printing workshops at the pop-up store. It was great, but we definitely could have used a bigger space. When we get our own real store, we’d love to have weekend workshops: screen printing Saturdays, sewing Sundays to put together your own printed clothes… we have so many ideas! I wanted to make a little screen printed bandana available only through an office workshop for Bee My Baby! This workshop will take place mid-March to celebrate springtime and the end of office construction! This’ll be a 2 person workshop, for you and your best friend, or your other half, to go with the “Bee My Baby” theme. We’ll let you know more later when the tickets are available in our newsletter in the upcoming weeks!
I’ll let you get to reading about Oschon for the next chapter in our Good People series as well as the behind-the-scenes video that shows how we printed our collection’s bandanas!
- ‘Guidance Counselor’ Question: Can you tell us about your career?
After getting my high school diploma in Switzerland, I started my bachelor’s degree in graphic design at the London College of Communication. I loved the different workshops that the school offered: letterpress, bookbinding, lino cut, engraving, and especially a screen printing workshop where I spent most of my time.
Anyways, after getting my degree, I continued to screen print and I discovered the Dalston London Club. It was amazing. Kate and Fred, the founders, let me use the studio for my own personal projects in exchange for a day of work. I was able to experiment with different printing techniques, meet people and learn more about business side of a potential job thanks to Kate and Fred, who became friends and mentors.
The rest of the time, I worked with James Hurst at Cure Studio, a small graphic design atelier. James taught me the basics of print and digital graphic design. After working with him for two years, I had the opportunity to work at Burberry on the digital team. After 10 years, in early 2014, I decided to leave London for Paris. I started to work in the digital department at Chloé before starting my own business: Print Van Paris.
- ‘Juggling’ question: As a graphic designer for brands today and especially as a self-employed person, how do you balance all your projects while expanding your business?
I like the diverse aspect of my career: working on a global project with small brands or in a huge palace for a fashion show, and then washing the screen printing frames the next day in the street next to my Van.
It isn’t always easy. It’s especially difficult to take out time to expand your own business. You have to manage your time well, work passionately, and sacrifice some of your own personal free time.
- ‘Career Change’ Question: What made you want to start Print Van Paris? And why in an ice cream truck?
When I was in London, I often when to have lunch at Captain Corellis, an amazing brasserie-type restaurant, “Godfather” style, in the south of London. It has a very Sicilian feel to it; they serve huge, delicious meals and the owner looks like a real mobster. There were always lots of ice cream trucks around the place. I loved their different colors, models, designs, etc.
The magic of seeing an ice cream truck on your street made me think of the same happy feeling of screen printing for the first time. That’s when the idea came to me to put these two magical moments together!
Five years later, I had enough money to get started. I met with the teams from L’imprimerie du Marais, who helped me, and with Simon Roché, a screen printer, we started Print Van Paris in September 2014.
- ‘Globe Trotter’: Between the United States, Switzerland, England and France, what made you decide to settle down in Paris?
To put it simply: love! My girlfriend lives in Paris.
- ‘What’s Next’ Question: Today, Print Van Paris is a screen printing shop on wheels, in a beautiful truck, with quite a few special projects with different brands. What’s your next step? Renovating a vintage printing shop?
Oh wow, I’d love to renovate an old printing shop! But seriously, we’re looking for a place to settle down into. It’s the logical next step that would help us move forward with our artistic collaborations, and also democratise screen printing. Opening up the atelier for workshops while continuing our work with brands in our workshop or in the van in the streets of Paris.
- ‘Master Yoda’ Question: What are three pieces of advice for someone wanting to change careers and start their own business, in the art field?
– Put some love and passion into it !
– Don’t neglect the business side of things. To make an art project work, you have to know how to handle money.
– Don’t mix up your hobby and career.
- ‘Gourou’ Question: Who inspired you to screen print? Is there someone that you look up to?
Aida Wile (House of Brag), my first screen printing professor in college. James Hurst and Fred Higginson introduced me to their style and helped me in the beginning.
- “In Search of Lost Time” Question: What is your first memory of color?
Cotton candy, colorful theme park rides and stuffed animals at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in Australia.
- ‘Throwback’ Question: What did you dream of doing when you were little?
A mix of a professional skater, writer, freedom fighter, and construction machine driver
Thank you Oschon for your time and your answers!
Translated by Whitney Bolin