Mark Attwood is the director of the studio and is the Master Printer. He has worked in the printing field since 1981, apprenticing in his father's print shop (The Broederstroom Press), and later trained in hand printing at Lowick House Print Workshop (UK) and at The Tamarind Institute, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (USA).
Mark elaborates: "In 1991, after completing the Master Printer Training Programme at Tamarind Institute in New Mexico, I decided that I was going to dedicate my time to working collaboratively with southern African artists. Print collaboration is when a skilled artist works with a skilled printer to create a print that neither could make in isolation. The artist has their own concepts and style of working that is uniquely theirs, but their grasp of the technical aspects of printmaking and lithography may be thin. The master printer has all the technical skills, but their artistic abilities may be limited to doodling on a notepad. The two are experts in their independent fields and come together at the press to make something greater than the two halves, to allow the artist full expression with print. Collaboration allows the artist to focus on the image while the printer ensures it is technically possible. It is a tradition that dates back many years to the lithographs of bullfights done by Goya and the theatre posters by Henri Toulouse Lautrec that were printed by the Mourlot studio in Paris.
I have had the incredible experience of working on editions with over 130 artists, mostly South Africans but also artists from Ghana, Ethiopia, the United States, Burundi and the Netherlands. Not many people get to work so closely with artists to help them realise their work; it has been an enormous privilege. Each artist has a unique approach to working in print, its my job to adapt the process to their needs; to get the best possible result."
The Artists' Press is dedicated to collaborating with artists to produce the highest quality prints possible. All work printed at the studio is done by hand. We use acid-free paper and the most light-fast inks available. We continually explore new ways to innovate and challenge what we do. All editions are carefully curated and documented. Once editions have been printed and signed, the plate or stone is defaced, thus preserving the integrity of the edition and ensuring that no second editions can be printed. Documentation sheets are available, on request, for all editions made at the studio.
The studio uses one chop: TAP, the initials of The Artists' Press. These have been assembled to reflect the form of a hand lithography press as seen from the side. All prints produced at the studio are embossed with this chop.
Listen to Mark Attwood talking about how he started The Artists' Press and the importance of printmaking in South Africa on this podcast by Hello, Print Friend recorded in 2021.
Watch Banele Khoza and Mark Attwood talk about working in collaboration.