Interview with Colourcode


At Toronto Made we know that you don't need brand-new machinery to make innovative work. You just need to be innovative, like Toronto Made member Jesjit Gill of Colour Code. Using  a run-of-the mill risograph, the 80s-era copier found in school basements, @ColourCodePrint produces brilliant, cutting-edge posters and prints for some of Toronto's most talked-about artists.


Q: How did you get into printing in the first place?

A: Well I went to school for printing/painting.  I studied printmaking at school, in OCAD. When I was a teenager I worked in a print shop. I've always been interested in printing. I guess it mainly started with my art practice. Now that I am out of school, I am more interested with the craft of printing, the technical aspects

Q: Did you have mentors when you started?

A: Yup. Michael Comeau [@ComeauSlomeau]. When I first moved to Toronto, I was his intern. He gave me a lot of insights into screen printing. And that’s kind of how I started—screen printing posters. He used to do that all the time. He did all the posters for Vazaleen.

Q: When you were setting up your shop, where did you get your machinery?

A: Some of it I got used. I got this Colour Codex from another print shop in  Alberta. - Quite a bit of my equipment is vintage. There are also still dealers for some of this equipment. You won’t find them at regular copy shops, but they’re still very common in schools and churches. They're a really cheap way to make newsletters and flyers, stuff like that. The risograph’s main market, for instance, in North America is still Churches.

Q: Was or still is?

A: Still. I deal with an Ontario risograph dealer/technician , and whenever I ask him any technical questions—because I don’t know many people who use the risograph—like if he’s ever seen that problem  a lot , if he ever worked on this particular machine, and he always replies “Yeah. There are hundreds of them in Ontario.” So  they’re kind of rare—they feel rare—but they’re still around. You won’t find these at a Kinkos. 

Q: What would you say is so special about them?

A: It has a tactical quality of screen print. So it looks like an ordinary photocopier but the prints that come out of it are very exciting and tactile because it prints with oil-based inks as opposed to photocopier which prints with a toner. you can really use the inks to achieve some interesting results. It’s kind of an in-between a photocopying and offset printing. Offset printing is a very expensive process; you have to produce a large quantify to make it viable

 Q: What else do you print besides posters?

A: I print t-shirts, I screen print stuff. Most of my business is books—I do a lot of artists’ books, catalogues, comics, stuff like that.

Check out Colour Code's website!