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Art, Ad, or Alchemy

Talented Young Creatives

Why we should attract students with art training to build the industry.

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In Episode 13, Andy MacDougall interviews Edward Cook, recently retired head of ECI Technologies, past chair of SGIA/PU, Screen Printing Editorial Advisory Board member, and a screen printer who sees one of the main challenges to the ongoing health of our print industry is the lack of talented young creatives coming in.

Ed has an idea to solve this and viewpoints on a number of other issues around screen printing. We get into it during the interview. He’s also an art lover and has donated his business skills to bettering his hometown of Torrington, Connecticut, by working with community non-profits. Starting with a renovation of an abandoned storefront into 5 Points Gallery, they’ve literally revitalized their downtown core through championing creativity and art. Ed is a local boy who stayed, building up a tech business that’s a textbook example of how to compete with multinational offshore operations, creating good paying jobs in your own backyard, and bringing work back onshore, inventing new products and application techniques using screen printing, and producing them in North America. “We never said no to a customer with a crazy idea,” Ed told me in the interview. That attitude spilled over. They didn’t stop with the downtown gallery. A gutsy bid for a surplus University of Connecticut 80-acre satellite campus is now on its way to becoming a regional art center.

All this and more on this episode of the “Art, Ad, or Alchemy?” podcast and companion column from the January/February digital edition.

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ABOUT THIS PODCAST: Screen Printing: Art, Ad, or Alchemy? covers the wide variety of uses of the world’s oldest printing technology in its modern form. The podcast introduces listeners to the people and the magic behind the squeegee. From leading-edge medical devices fighting COVID, to fine art and rock posters, the clothes you wear and the teams you cheer for, the electronic devices and new energy sources that will guide our future – it’s a screen printed world out there, and host Andy MacDougall will take you into it.

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