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Q&A: The Orange Street Artist on screen printing, mysterious personas

Brent+Clark+stands+with+some+of+his+prints+at+The+Orange+Street+Gallery.+Photo+credit%3A+John+Domogma
Brent Clark stands with some of his prints at The Orange Street Gallery. Photo credit: John Domogma

Brent Clark stands with some of his prints at The Orange Street Gallery. Photo credit: John Domogma

Brent Clark stands with some of his prints at The Orange Street Gallery. Photo credit: John Domogma

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Photographs by John Domogma

In the dimly lit Orange Street Gallery, the illusive Orange Street Artist, Brent Clark, has been working hard putting together his gallery and creating new works of art. It is here he is hoping to launch a new career alongside his position at The Printed Image.

You built the majority of the equipment you use yourself, correct?

I’ve always been into building stuff. Even if you buy your equipment, there is a certain amount of craftsmanship in maintaining it. That’s part of having a print shop is being able to make what you need on the fly.

How did you get into screen printing?

Touring with The Grateful Dead, actually. Selling Grateful Dead T-shirts. It was a good way to make money. Everyone would go out and sell their things and make stuff; it was just a very encouraging environment. If you didn’t tread on their copy rights, you could go and sell your shirts at their concerts.

What caused you to make the move to The Printed Image?

I went to school for art, and I was doing the Grateful Dead shirts and doing ceramics. I really wanted to get a job in the screen print field. I was doing floor covering at the time but did screen printing on the side. I’ve always maintained a studio on the side where I screen printed and did art. Then I did a major career switch where I stopped working in trade and started working over at The Printed Image. It was a great time because everything was really new. Computers were coming onto the scene. I had just started getting into CAD (computer-aided design) and then got into Photoshop.

What does it take to work in this particular field?

Doing design work is hard because you have to know what people want. You have to be able to read into what they’re saying. My secret and curse is that if I feel good about a piece, then I can pull something off. If I get into a piece and find myself really happy about it, then everyone seems to be really happy about it. If I can’t get into it, I got nothing. It’s hard when you can’t, and sometimes you just can’t.

Your daughter, Indra Clark, also does dye work here at the gallery. Is that part of your artistic influence?

Just from (her) being my daughter. When she came out here and saw what I was doing and wanted into the textile business of it. She’s always been very into cooking and making things, so it was just a natural progression for her.

On your Facebook profile, you are known as just The Orange Street Artist. Is there a reason for it not being very personal?

I kind of thought that tying it in with the studio would be good. I’m not really into putting my life on Facebook, but I wanted to show people what I’m doing here at the studio.

It adds a lot of mystery to your identity. Was it ever meant to be an alternate persona?

I like that. I’m all about mystery. A little mystery is good. All these pieces have some kind of meaning in them and I don’t feel I need to talk about it or even tell people about it. I think it’s intrinsic to the art piece. It kind of speaks for itself. That goes hand in hand with mystery. You can then find the meaning yourself.

Jake Hutchison can be reached at [email protected] or @poserpunk on Twitter.

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Q&A: The Orange Street Artist on screen printing, mysterious personas