Art Term


A variety of stencil printing, using a screen made from fabric (silk or synthetic) stretched tightly over a frame

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, ‘Bash’ 1971
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
Bash 1971
© The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation

The non-printing areas on the fabric are blocked out by a stencil. This can be created by painting on glue or lacquer, by applying adhesive film or paper, or painting a light-sensitive resist onto the screen which is then developed as a photograph (photo-screenprint). Ink or paint is then forced through the (non-blocked areas of) open fabric with a rubber blade, known as a squeegee, onto the paper.

Screenprinting has been used commercially since the 1920s. It first began to be used by artists in 1930s America and the term ‘serigraph’ was initially used to denote an artist’s print, as opposed to commercial work. It has been widely used by artists as a printmaking technique since the 1950s.

The term ‘silkscreen’ (silk was originally used for the mesh) is also commonly used to describe the technique, particularly in America.

related terms and concepts

explore this term

Tate Papers

From the Green Box to Typo/Topography: Duchamp and Hamilton’s Dialogue in Print

Paul Thirkell

This paper examines Marcel Duchamp's use of the collotype printing process for publishing the contents of his Green Box ...


Anthony Burrill: To the Letter

Graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill speaks to us about his creative career, fascination with fonts and wondering around ...

Tate Papers

Richard Hamilton’s The annunciation

Fanny Singer

This article traces Richard Hamilton’s use of photography and digital technologies to subtly undermine verisimilitude in his print The ...

Tate Papers

Paolozzi’s Pop New Brutalist World: Rothenstein Lecture

Alex Potts

In its engagement with mass media and modern industry, the work of Eduardo Paolozzi combined pop tendencies with the logic ...

selected artists in the collection

selected artworks in the collection