in conversation with Wayne Mcfetridge from Risofest
Wayne runs risofest. he also runs the sunshine press; VA agency, who make horizon festival look pretty; and probably a bunch of other projects we don’t know about.
But above all, he’s great fun to be around and always has time to chat — regardless of how busy he is.
Hey Wayne, what’s been happening?
Getting ready for a group art show like RISOFEST is always a mixture of fun and sheer chaos. This is our second year, so we’re trying to learn from the mistakes of last year and make sure that printing of the show is done at least a few weeks out so we can then focus on actually tidying up the studio and hanging the pieces, etc. Seems like we will get there this year.
You’re a busy man running The Various Artists Agency, and all of your other projects. Why Riso Printing and how did you land on it?
Agency life, weirdly, can easily pull you away from doing stuff that is purely creative. Right from day one 12 years ago, at the start of the agency, we always wanted one foot in things that were purely creative for creative sake. Early incarnations of the agency were known for our rowdy and under the radar “art gallery” in the old courthouse in Maroochydore. Starting the Sunshine Press and running RISOFEST is trying to keep that vibe going in a way, even as we mature as an agency.
For those a little unsure what Riso Printing is, can you quickly tell us what this vintage Japanese technology is?
A Risograph is a brand of digital duplicator manufactured by the Riso Kagaku Corporation first released in 1980. It is basically a digital screen printer but only for paper stock. It was invented to deliver cheap and fast one colour printing but creative folk saw other uses for the technology. If you have a stock of various ink colours and print one colour at a time you can deliver a striking look that has the efficiency of mechanical printing technology but the slight quirks and imperfections of some more manual printmaking techniques.
I’ve seen that some artwork doesn’t work as well when it’s transferred over to Riso. What makes some artwork work, and some not?
If you are needing perfect registration off the printer, or you wish to deliver perfect CMYK output, then Riso is not for you. Artists need to be ready to let the RISO itself be an input into the process. The registration between colours is not perfect as it wasn’t designed to print multiple colours — the ink coverage can sometimes be imperfect as well. Printing on a Risograph is a bit of an adventure and the machine itself is almost a collaborator in the piece. You need to be ready for that.
This year will be your second year of RISOFEST and we are stoked to have it part of the festival. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I am so happy to see RISOFEST is part of Horizon 2022. It’s such an honour. I really just wanted to put together a group show with artists and creatives on the coast that was a fun process for them to be a part of. To get them exposed to something they hadn’t done before and hopefully deliver cool pieces that people like enough to hang on their wall. RISO is such a fun medium and as much as I love a seriously moody art piece I was keen to create a show where each piece was well executed but did not take itself too seriously.
What’s the artist line-up looking like so far? We heard whispers that Jack MacRae will be involved in RISOFEST?
Yes Jack has dropped a piece in the show. He sent the files over and he hasn’t even seen it in the flesh yet, so I hope he likes it. We also have Evelyn Marina who was in the show last year — that RISO blue ink is well within her wheelhouse. Peta O’Hara has delivered the goods with one of her real life collages transformed into a Riso Print. Shikani Sargent (SmessyArt) is back again this year. We are really stoked to have Bryce Flaskas on board along with Adam Niven who has created a rad low brow piece that I know has pushed him a bit (in a good way). Megan Gilbert was a standout last year and she has delivered another great piece that I’m sure people are going to love. The list is long so I can’t mention everyone but there are people who are pretty well established artists and others who are at the start of their careers. I really am keen to see people involved as the medium is super accessible.
Whose work are particularly keen to see printed?
I am super excited to see Peta O’Hara’s piece. Peta is a collage artist who I had to cajole a little into being in the show. She is such a hand- on artist with scissors and a bunch of magazine, etc — and digital workflows are not her jam. The great thing though is how open to collaboration she was. She handed over some scans of some of her work and we kinda went to town on them to ensure that the Riso versions of those pieces are a nod to the original with a twist. Like a pretty solid remix or cover version of a classic song.