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Posters from Paddington Printshop 1975-1990

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londonprintstudio

425 Harrow Road

London

W10 4RE

United Kingdom

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Paddington Printshop

Posters from Paddington Printshop 1975 -90

'Paddington Printshop produced posters for the burgeoning squatters rights movement, for community resources, and for acts of social and political activism in the center of London in the mid-1970’s for over a decade.... The posters are visually striking examples of silkscreen and stencil printing at its most vibrant.' Boo Hooray, New York 2017


Paddington Printshop produced some of the most vibrant activist posters of 1970's and '80's London. Their posters and prints had a social and often political dimension, and many were intended as aesthetic objects. The Printshop became a model for community arts /activist print studios across the UK. This exhibition traces the work of the Printshop, working in central West London, from its launch in 1975
. It concludes with the huge late '80's poster campaign about public housing in Westminster, the most successful London housing campaign in living memory. Working with everyone - from community groups to local musicians like the Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer- Paddington Printshop grew to develop a special style. Its relationship with the local community extended the impact of socially engaged art in the UK.

Unlike many political poster makers of the time, the John Phillips and Printshop team engaged directly with different social causes. As unemployed artists, they were members of a mixed and bohemian community in a run down area. Poor housing, poverty, racial confrontation and harsh policing were experienced locally, and the Printshop team worked to produce art and design as part of the community. This was an attractive position for young artists at the time - many were rebelling against the 'commodification' of art, and arguing for art's interpretative independence from commodification. Many residents tried their hand at designing posters and announcements, helped by the Printshop.

Without patronage, secure arts funding and powerful clients, there was freedom to produce work often more akin to fine art than commercial design, and at times painterly rather than graphic. Like Polish film poster artists - who were an influence- many of the Paddington Printshop posters were artist-driven. Paradoxically, some of the posters and prints produced by the Printshop have now become collectors items.




Paddington Printshop was founded by (then) 23 year old John Phillips, a sculptor from Sheffield, and his girlfriend Pippa Smith, a young teacher. For the first few months they operated from their kitchen table. In 1975, the Printshop moved to Marylands Road and started serving the local community. Poster designers included Jay Talbot, Simon Fell, and Annie

In the 1970's Ladbroke Grove / North Kensington / Westbourne Park / Harrow Road were delapidated, relatively central areas of West London. Rachmanism, planning blight and the recession meant that there were streets full of semi derelict houses available for squatting - or cheap rentals. The area attracted social activists, artists, and musicians. It was already home to many people of Caribbean origin who had settled since the late 1940's. This meant that the Printshop was working in a highly creative, relatively lawless area in which people found it difficult to assert their rights.

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londonprintstudio

425 Harrow Road

London

W10 4RE

United Kingdom

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