Born in Cologne and raised in various places Daniel Gerhardt uses a multitude of stencil and screen printing techniques to create a broad spectrum of artworks. The focus of the works has ranged from portraits to sceneries. However, recently the works have evolved to shift a light on the contrast between small intricate stencil shapes and sharp, bold geometric shapes or patterns.
The works are inspired by strong gazes, vivid movements and ambivalent expressions. The idea is to produce an end result that leaves the message up to the viewers imagination.
Stencils are a popular and widely used technique in the art world, as well as every day life. When using stencils one cuts the outline of an image to create a mask, which can then be spray painted on to any surface. Stencil works are popular as they are efficient and quick to reproduce once the stencil has been created.
A wide range of acclaimed artist use stencils in their art works.
There are different techniques used when painting with stencils. The two techniques used by Daniel Gerhardt are Halftone and Multilayer stencils
Multi Layer Stencil
When painting a work with a multi layer stencil a reference picture is split into multiple color tones, cut out and painted over each other to create the final piece.
For example a four layer stencil would mean one black, one dark grey, one light grey and one white tone layer.
Each tone is then separately printed out on paper. All of the layers then get cut out by hand. Once every last detail is cut out the stencils are spray painted over top of each other. The process follows a sequence which means the painting has to be either painted from the darkest to the lightest tone or vice versa.
Different than in the multilayer stencil the halftone stencil consists of one layer. Here the depth in the painting is created through lines of varying thicknesses. These lines are cut out and spray painted onto a surface. Even though this process only uses one color an incredible amount of depth can be achieved through the differing distances between the lines. Near photorealistic results are possible.
Screenprinting is a rather old printing process in which each tone of color is printed separatley. It can be utilized on any surface from glass to textiles and is one of the main ways of printing onto tshirts or other garments.
In screen printing a screen is thinly coated with a photo emulsion. This screen is then dried. In the meantime the desired design is printed out in black onto a see through plastic sheet.
Once the screen is dried the see through film is placed onto the screen. The screen is the lit up with a special lamp. Photo emulsion is a light sensitive substance and hardens when exposed to certain lights. Since the design was printed out in black the light is not able to get through and the emulsion stays soft. After the lighting the screen is washed and all the spots where the emulsion stayed soft wash out, revealing the finished design.
The screen is then fixed into place and the desired printing surface is put below the screen. Ink is then applied to the screen and pulled across the surface. The ink only gets through the screen where the design washed out creating the print.