John Phillips, Director
425 Harrow Road
London, W10 4RE, United Kingdom
Telephone: 020-8969-3247

John Phillips has also been selected to be a Discussant for Final Session of Conference.

Paper: “Prostitution and Indulgence: Public and Private Sensibilities in the Graphic Arts”

This paper explores the allied problems of how and why we distinguish “prints” (more specifically limited-editioned prints) from posters. Superficially, there is a clear, and immediately identifiable difference between these two types of product. Posters make a public address, they rarely use abstraction, exploit accidents, or seduce by means of surface texture. Frequently, ‘artists’ prints’ are otherwise inclined. They are made in limited numbers, in order (it could be argued) to maximize profit, while posters are made in unlimited numbers, for (it could be argued) the same purpose. Close inspection of prints and posters reveals a further blurring of their boundaries.

To understand their differences we must dip beneath the visual surface to explore their histories and attributes. Print technology remained virtually static from the late fifteenth, until the early nineteenth century, when industrialization and lithography brought radical changes to the craft. One consequence of this development was the invasion of urban public space by brightly colored posters. Another was the migration of obsolete presses to domestic settings, and the emergence of monochrome printing as a fashionable hobby.

Public and private realms and scales remain hallmarks distinguishing artists’ prints from posters, but, it is suggested, it is the inscription of social and private sensibilities within these visual products, which most distinctly mark their divergence. As for prostitution and indulgence, not everything can be included in an abstract!

JOHN PHILLIPS was born in 1951, and studied Fine Art at the Sheffield School of Art and Design 1968 -72 and worked as a free-lance graphic designer before co-founding the Paddington Printshop in 1974. The Printshop became a model for community based studios and Phillips became a key figure in the community arts movement in the United Kingdom. Phillips has led the studio for the past thirty years, transforming it from a local resource (Paddington Printshop), which was involved in community development into the internationally acclaimed London Print Studio. During his stewardship, the studio has led major inner city regeneration programs, set up a number of independent community centers and developed into a center of excellence. The studio runs a broad range of accredited and informal educational programs and services. He has recently completed a PhD, which among other related issues, explores the contribution that independent open-access print studios can make within contemporary education.  For more on the Londprintstudio, see their website at: