It started with Djohan’s obsession with screen-printing. After completing his National service, he flew to the Big Apple, New York. There he came across Risograph printed materials at the New York Art Book Fair and was intrigued by the vibrant colours and the quality of it. It was the start of his new obsession. He was searching for a Risograph press in Singapore and soon found out that there weren’t any. He roped in Marilyn to start a press focused on printed materials. It took 2 years of on and off research while we were both still working full-time. We decided to proceed with the vision we had towards the end of 2013. The rest is history.
What is Risograph?
Risograph is a stencil duplicating machine derived from a mimeograph duplicator. Imagine a mini offset machine with limitations. It’s not perfect but it gives a lot of character to the print. It was used as a high volume to other small run print jobs like your test papers in schools or Sunday church flyers.
I want to ask about the process of risograph because it’s a little mysterious to me, and I’m not entirely sure what goes into it.
Once we’re done with the design, we’ll hook the computer up to the machine. A thermo master which is the stencil will be created for each colour for the artwork, will then be wrapped around the drum automatically. The paper will feed the cylinder drum and it will turn and stamp onto the paper. Each print is unique as every impression can be slightly different from the rest of the prints in terms of the darkness of the colours and registrations. That’s what makes risograph such full of surprises.
Could you take us through your creative process?
Djohan will pace around thinking and be playing the same music on his vinyl record player and start sketching with his Wacom. He enjoys some humour and messing around with people’s mind when they look at his works. Once he’s satisfied with the final draft, he’ll go to the Risograph machine and work his magic.
Who is your art/illustration hero at the moment?
Yoshitaka Amano, Sam Keith, Stanley Donwood and Vincent Van Gogh
Where is the best place for inspiration?
The dream world.
How did the name ‘Knuckles & Notch’ come about?
Knuckles pound (fist bumps) between us and our collaborators and Notch (meaning top notch). Just had it in our minds when we were thinking of names…..maybe it doesn’t really mean anything ...
Could you please describe your idea of a perfect day?
When we can get to sleep.
What are your days like?
Some days are peaceful and the rest are just chaos. It’s like the calm before the storm. Are you creatively satisfied?
Maybe, maybe not? There’s always room for improvement.
What are the challenges you guys have faced so far?
Perfecting the prints. It may look easy but it isn’t. In the other hand the machine can be a bitch. Sometimes it has a mind of its own and not follow orders. We learned through mistakes and reprinting them over and over again till we get it right. What are you working on next?
Marilyn is printing her photos for her upcoming book. Djohan is working on some illustrations and experimenting his ideas.
Finally, Do you have a life motto or a motto that you live by?
Find pleasure in what you do and channel emotions and energies into creating something.