How does a man leave the
glamourous delicious life of being a baker and pastry chef to chase a dream he’s always known burned deep within? What kind of ardour is needed to strip away the marzipan, ditch the kitchen apron and don the printers’…apron? I wouldn’t know personally because I can’t cook toast, but Steve Woods from Arcade Screen Printing in Sydney does. Because he did it.
“After years of baking I wanted to solve this art thing within me so I put myself through Billy Blue.” Woods, a 30 year old bloke from Bathurst, says. After following his intuition and graduating from the college, armed with his fresh design chops, he started a studio called Brandzoo. The studio focused on design for surf stores, CD covers, fashion and design for documentaries, even scoring him a credit or two on a few docos that run regularly on Foxtel with AFI and TV Week Logie nominations. Mid way through what Steve refers to as “the fashion thing” he ended up buying Screenhaus – a studio that works on custom hand printing for textiles, fashion and furnishings. It was from this location and his love for working with other designers that Arcade Screen Printing, and along with it The Arcade Start-Up Print Classes and Arcade Print Club, was born.
Launched with “The Great Arcade T-shirt Party” of 2010, the shop has hosted a few talks and events since and now sees growth happening rather “organically”. Since then Steve and his team have taught over 200 people how to screen print, with the majority of students going on to join the shop’s own creative community “Arcade Print Club”. A few students even go on to start their own T-shirt labels. “It’s a pretty rewarding space to be working in and I just love teaching.” Steve says of the successes Arcade has had. He continues, “We start with enthusiastic people from all walks of life and they walk out after a day with us pumped, and more importantly, ready to print and explore more.”
There never seems to be a specific type of student, and that’s the unpretentious glory of Arcade. “We have architects printing beside stay at home mums and frustrated graphic designers with 500 designs in their heads and then we get people starting their own home wares ranges or printing their own labels for markets. Then we have people who literally just come for fun. The classes always sell out well ahead of time and it’s a really good social outlet.”
Steve describes the workshop as being “Pretty Radical… Our space itself is very old school screen printing – very real.” Located on Hutchison Street, St. Peters, Arcade takes part in the Ambient Street Party ‘In The Night garden’, put on every year for the Sydney Fringe Festival, which sees the studio covered wall to wall with works from local designers and artists of all sorts. Steve cites the importance of creative neighbours, noting “there are always exhibitions at Tortuga Studios, The Hutch and Index… It’s a pretty happening area with Mays Lane 50 metres away and the whole Newtown / Marrickville art thing very much alive and on the edge.”
So what exactly is involved in changing a career and printing a customised t-shirt? According to Steve Woods it’s, “A good idea, water based inks (so you can actually print at home and not swim in chemicals), attitude and a need to create something real.”
If you’re interested in screen-printing with Arcade you will find more info here. 2013 is set to be another busy year for Steve and his team with UNSW and USYD O’ Days on the hit list with on campus illustration talks warming the team up for their “Big Arcade Yardage for Tees Night” which will see them print 20m of yardage print live and then cutting and making 20 limited edition, once-only tees on the spot. “All with a cider in hand.”
Thanks to Steve and Arcade we’ve got TWO TICKETS to the Arcade Screen Printing class on Saturday February 16th. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page (don’t worry, we won’t spam you! We’ll have your email address to get in touch if you win!). Closes FEBRUARY 9TH 5pm.