In a first for North Metropolitan TAFE Graphic Design Dept, letterpress artist Phil Gambrill of Fresh Lemon Print was invited to spend ten weeks during Term 3, 2020 in the Print & Graphic Design study area to share his passion to staff and students in the Perth Campus print workshop and studio.

This space is mainly utilised by students as part of their OHS training and has been modernised with a high precision laser cutter to set custom type high designs. Most print and graphic design students prefer these digital pursuits and are being introduced to combining modern technology with traditional printing processes. In addition, the slow pace, manual processes, and variance in vintage movable type attracts advanced diploma graphic design students and lecturers alike.

Artists’ residencies are intrinsic to many artistic careers developing into rewarding collaborations in the contemporary art scene — connecting the local with the global art world. Phil’s residency played an important role in facilitating ‘skill sharing’ in an open and experimental exchange of new ideas. It also became an invaluable adjunct to creating unique professional development opportunities for host staff and students.

Whilst undertaking the residency Phil was free to explore typographic subjects that had long-term fascinated him; one of which was the ampersand letterform. Phil looked at the ampersand ligature in all of its shapes and forms and eventually settled upon an oversized Goudy italic font iteration as the centre piece. The resulting 1000mm x 700mm print blended the vintage and modern techniques used in the workshop — a celebration of the ‘partnership and ampersand’ showcasing Phil’s trademark style of ink textures and overprints in a colourful, grungy, typographic poster. The background was created from various 30 and 40 line condensed fonts, all printed masterfully on TAFE’s 19th Century Colombian press.

Part of the conditions of the residency was the display and exhibition of Phil’s work and the acquisition of one of the editions for the permanent TAFE art collection. Phil artwork is pictured here during last week’s official handover to Predrag Delibasich (Gallery Assistant and incoming Art Curator) and Thelma John (Art Gallery Manager) out the front of Perth’s NM TAFE’s Art and Design building.