In Venice, during the last fifty years, a screen painting studio has been turning artistic works from all over the world into graphics

28 December 2021

Venice, December 17, 2021- Ink jars, brushes, frames, and colors scattered everywhere. Paper sheets clustered in every corner, prints hanging from the walls, huge work tables. Set squares, brushes, and chisels. Getting into the Fallani screen printing workshop in Venice means joining a little hidden treasure, where day by day arts become alive to impress a paper sheet, keeping bearing witness of the history of a city that has 1600 years on its back. Behind this place is a man, a true Venetian, who breathes art every day, and that expresses himself through out colors and shapes rather than with words. He is Gianpaolo Fallani, the business owner and head of the workshop that daily produces art pieces by printing on any kind of material. A place hidden within a small calle overlooking the lagoon on the side of the Fondamente Nove, that let the Venetians art printing excellence constantly grow, bringing it into the world by following the steps of those who, before him, bring to life this craft. 

It all started several years ago, when a young boy from Florence, with a passion for printing decided to move on to Venice, at the request of the San Lazzaro Island’ Armenian Fathers, to work in the heart of the Venetian lagoon. When he gained enough experience he decided to start his own zincography business, starting to produce printing presses before moving to photolithography. However, it was only in 1968 during a trade fair that he met, for the first time, silk-screen painting. Since then he has not been able to part with it, completely in love with the infinite potential uses of this printing technique. 

This young boy will eventually become the father of Gianpaolo Fallani, today owner of the Venetians workshop that will pass on that same passion for colors and printing, that led him to pick out this job. 

“I grew up in my father’s workshop and there I spent my whole afternoons and days during the summer holidays- say Gianpaolo Fallani- since I was so amazed by the colors, manual and artistic skills of my father I immediately loved this world. Once I grew up I then decided to focus on something different, even if still related to digital printing, but about ten years ago I finally decided to take over the business because I didn’t want it to get lost”.

The workshop had always dealt with artists, creating for them reproductions for books and posters reserved for art exhibitions and still today, 50 years later, it keeps doing it, turning amazing artistic works into graphics. This technique, however, hasn’t changed and so are the tools of the trade. 

It all starts with a nylon fabric frame, which was once made of silk, which is stretched on a wooden or metal frame. It is exactly through the meshes of this fabric that the ink is absorbed to be printed on the surface. To impress the image on the frame, a photomechanical process is used, which requires to set a light-sensitive jelly on the surface, let it dry and then expose it to light with a clear film, for a few minutes. The sections hit by the light eventually become solid and are used as the outline of the drawing. Once the setting is ready you just need to put some pressure on the surface with a specific tool and the ink will move to the sections of the frame that haven't been in touch with the emulsion, creating the desired design. 

“Screen printing is a very interesting, though little-known, technique. The funny thing is that it allows you to print on any surface and material- says Fallani- setting no limits on creativity. This is why my father chose to take up this craft and, after him, I keep doing it”. 

It has been ten years now since Gianpaolo Fallini has chosen to stay in Venice. The Venetian owner of the screen printing workshop has worked with his father, side by side, until his recent passing, and he’s so in love with this city that he is able to enjoy the good sides as well as the bad ones. And so, that young boy so fond of art, keeps living in that human dimension that you can only find between those streets filled with history, traditions and art, helping artists from all over the world to express their emotions, through his colors, papers, and experience.