Jasper & Els – Screen printing in symbiosis
Belgium 12 May, 2021. Photos by Evenbeeld & Kimberley Dhollander.
The graphic designers and screen printers Jasper van Grunsven and Els Baeten are a design duo under the name PrintMakingMoneygang. Together they run their screen printing studio called Gezeever, in Antwerp, Belgium. With a united passion for printing, especially in bright colors, the couple does all their work in the studio together. – Ever since we started printing together rather than separately, work has gotten a lot more fun. We really are a great team, says Els.
Jasper and Els grew up in different countries but with a similar creative mind. Jasper describes that while growing up in the southern part of the Netherlands he would always keep himself busy by drawing. Jasper’s parents were librarians and had a specific section in their bookshelf at home devoted to art books which Jasper repeatedly would go through and engage in - luckily the section was on the low shelf and easy for a child to reach. Over a hundred miles south Els grew up in a small town in Belgium – also keeping herself busy drawing. Els was strongly encouraged by her mother to pursue her art dreams. At first she decided to study fashion design but during the studies she realized that working in 3D just wasn’t for her.
– I realized that I prefer working with flat material such as paper. It's what I’d always loved so I quit my fashion studies and began studying graphic design. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, says Els.
"We printed in our bedroom, and in the cellar even in the garden too."
From co-workers to business-owners
A few years after finishing their studies in separate ways, Jasper within illustration, the couple found themselves working for the same company. As they both lived in Antwerp they would carpool together and get along quite well. Their relationship evolved as well as their curiosity for screen printing. The couple signed up for a workshop in Rotterdam and after finishing they both agreed that they should start up something similar in Antwerp.
– At first we started printing all over our home. We printed in our bedroom, and in the cellar even in the garden too. We basically used the entire house to set up our screen printing studio. But as you can imagine it wasn’t very practical and we wanted a more professional style. So we bought some equipment and searched for a studio with the aim to bring people together and print, says Jasper.
PrintMakingMoneygang – graphic addicts and type fanatics
Today, Jasper and Els work as a design duo called PrintMakingMoneygang and run a studio called Gezeever in Antwerp. The idea behind the studio is to bring people who have an interest in screen printing together. Jasper and Els both love the fact that printing by hand leads to unique results and they have a special love for working with bright colors. The couple enjoys hosting workshops that lets people work “hands on” with screen printing. The studio is also open for people to become members and use the workspace as their own – just like the studio they got inspiration from in Rotterdam. The couple underlines the necessity of having an eye for details when printing.
– Technically anything can go wrong when you screen print. You know, the basics are very simple, but you have to keep track of everything. For example, there are a lot of steps learning curves. It definitely takes time to get a hang of it, you also have to learn how each different paper can swell from the inc. To summarize: printing perfectly is pretty much impossible, Jasper concludes.