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Paul Cleden - Printmaker

Printmaker Paul Cleden works on a sheet of lino within his studio.

In the lead up to the release of his new print, Jake Kennedy talks to printmaker Paul Cleden about his studio practice, his working relationship with the Penfold Press and how the lockdown led to a creative partnership. 

 

Screenprint, for Dorset printmaker Paul Cleden, was very much a breakaway form of working compared to his easily recognisable, almost vorticist, relief linocuts. Usually featuring the human form on the move – and each buzzing with life and a real fizz, he found he could expand on themes and ideas via screenprint – and ones that just might not have been possible before. 

To give a little history, Paul says he has been making prints for many years. “I’ve been printing since I was at school, but I’ve been a printmaker properly since 2012,” he recalls. Today, he is in an enviable position “Yes, it’s a full-time thing now! It’s lovely, I’m really lucky to be able to do that as I can really focus on it. I used to teach as well, which again was really lucky because I could experiment while working.”

Paul’s relationship with the Penfold Press began after a chance chat one day on Instagram, he says. “I obviously knew them and loved what they were doing, and the work they were producing. But it was during lockdown when I first struck up a conversation with Dan on Instagram,” he says. “He asked if I’d be interested in doing some larger prints with him. I’d done a few screenprints a few years ago and had a great time so knew I’d like to do it more.

Now on to his second screenprint with Penfold Press, following on from last year’s beautifully fairground-tastic ‘Clouds Of Candyfloss’, Paul’s new piece promises the same celebratory atmosphere, albeit with a focus less on the people in it, and more on the sky above. “I really enjoy the process of making the positives for the print, and I love the fact that I can be a bit more exploratory in what I do and can play with texture,” he says.

The experience of collaboration – again something new for Paul – was also an element that was enjoyable, he says. “I really like the collaboration actually, and the experience Dan can bring to it. I like the speed of making them too, compared to lino."

Perhaps most amazingly, the work Paul has created for Penfold in this ‘new’ medium for him is still instantly recognisable as his own. Nothing has been lost from the carefully considered relief work he makes, but there is a new sense of scale and texture to his lively pieces that perhaps only the medium of screenprinting can bring.

 

Written by Jake Kennedy. 

Jake Kennedy is a Brighton based artist and writer. 

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