From internet to paper: printing with Vincent Hulme

A snow man is breathing glitch fire next to a naked couple having an intimate moment in bed; there are flowers everywhere. Pink letters are forming the words “I loved you for too long” above them. Artist Vincent Hulme’s Tumblr feed is as ironic as it is aesthetically pleasing; it’s also his biggest source of inspiration. His contemporary style can easily be recognised in the feed. He’s a lithographer, serigrapher, writer and performer or as he explains on his website: He’s doing his best to spread the word of Vince.

Vincent lets us into his apartment with a shy smile; it’s a Monday morning and we’re all tired. The colours of his prints, hanging in his room, immediately energises us though. They are perfectly printed in purple and green. When making a print the first step for Vincent is always to create a prototype by playing around with different images, colours or shapes in Photoshop. The printing can finally begin after he’d gotten it back as an offset plate from the plate maker. “I always go back to printing. That’s the one thing I do recurrently”, he explains.

Before moving to Berlin six years ago Vincent was studying Fine Arts at Concordia in Montreal, specialising in screen printing. Now he spends his days working as an art teacher, scrolling Tumblr for inspiration and practicing his own art. Which means, spending a lot of time by the offset printing press in his studio.

A tiny lift is taking us down to the underground floor in the impressive Kunstquartier Bethanien where Vincent makes his prints. With its big machines and small paint stains the studio’s atmosphere is both industrial and creative. Seeing him move in the space makes it seem like we’ve stepped into his second home.  

The print he’s working on at the moment was inspired by the idea of printing the colour brown. The prototype image shows an intriguing pattern of lines in purple and orange surrounded by a background in different shades of brown. To reach this result he’s printing multiple layers on top of each other. All with a different colour and shape. Since every layer needs to dry before a new one can be printed it takes Vincent several days to finish the artwork. He usually makes 10 versions of it and then chooses the best ones as his selection of limited prints, all though this particular piece will be in a maximum edition of 4.

While systematically moving the big canvases between the printer and the drying rack Vincent tells us that the bigger you make a print the more room there are for mistakes. This used to make him nervous but not anymore. As his confidence has grown so has his canvases. “I just keep wanting to print bigger and bigger”, he says laughingly.  

For a long time, printing was the only medium Vincent used. “I could only think: I’m gonna make that print, and that print and that print. I was in training and therefore had a narrowed field of view”, he explains and continues: “But in the last years I’ve started to do other things as well, besides printing”. These days he explores everything from writing to performing – choosing the medium that fits the idea and not the idea that fits the medium.

When we claim to see a lot of sexual themes in his art, Vincent looks surprised. We pull the same face when he states that it was never his intent. “I really like things that look nice and pleasing, and maybe in the attempt to make things nice and pleasing they become sexual”, he says.

Years ago, after coming home after a bad date, feeling disappointed, Vincent decided to write down what had happened. This quick idea grew into a bigger project which culminated in a book. “Loner4ever” is filled with funny and sad short poems about his failed attempts to find romance. Most of us would probably deal with a bad date by eating some ice cream, drinking a bottle of wine or trying to swipe the pain away. Instead, Vincent turned his experience into art.

A need to create, an ability to see potential in sometimes crazy ideas and a fearless use of different mediums seem to be the recipe behind Vincent’s multifaceted portfolio. Not to mention crucial parts of his persona.

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