We recently caught up with Aisle6ix Industries founder and screen printing virtuoso Shannon McKinnon to talk industry hustle, influences in music and art, and why printing by hand is always key. The Aisle6ix crew is all about creative collaboration and are one of the most sought after screen printing studios in Sydney. It’s no wonder – they’ll print on just about anything.
How did you get started in the industry?
I’ve always been interested in screen printing as an art form so I studied screen printing at Tafe one night a week in my 20’s. I moved to London a few years later and worked in a print shop called Photofit. That was such an important learning experience for me, and so much of what I learnt in that print shop I use in my business today. I stayed in London for two years then moved to Melbourne and worked in a print shop called Screenplay. I later moved to Sydney and participated in the Australian Government run NEIS program. Instead of getting the dole you do a small business course, write a business plan and then you put that into action. So Aisle6ix Industries was born. I shared a studio with a couple of mates and the business has grown from there. Seven years later and Aisle6ix is busier than ever.
Do you have any particular influences?
I’m a huge fan of Mambo, Morning Breath, Fail, Marks of The Beast, Juxtapoz Magazine, VNA Magazine and I love a wide variety of music, including anything Giles Peterson broadcasts, LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead and everything in between.
What are some of the more interesting items you’ve printed on?
Over the past seven years we’ve printed onto perspex, timber, yoga mats, book covers, pennants, hessian sacks, guitar pedals, flags, pencil boxes, tablecloths, leather, MDF menu holders and bandanas. We had a saying that if we can get it flat we’ll have a go at printing on it.
You’re an avid hand printer — why is hand printing superior?
Hand printing gives us complete control and the flexibility to make changes as we go. If we start printing a colour that you’ve asked for and then you decide it’s not actually what you want, we can stop, adjust the colour, and then start printing again. It’s all about producing the best possible product.
All photography by Billy Zammit