Paddington Printshop began in 1972 when Jon Philips, a recent art school graduate, used his limited knowledge of screen-printing techniques to construct a home studio, where he completed freelance assignments for anyone from Roberto Matta to small local businesses, theaters, and community organizations. In 1974, offered a space at a local community center and aided by Arts Council funding, Philips, along with Pippa Smith, formed an official print shop that ran according to the following two principles:
“That it should teach people new and useful skills. [And] That it should encourage them to use those skills in the artistic or visual interpretation of their beliefs.” (129 Philips)
Active in housing issues, squatters’ rights, anti-nuclear resistance, and radical politics, the posters of Paddington print shop drew aesthetic influence from those of the French May 68’ posters, 1960s psychedelic posters, and political propaganda posters of south America and the Soviet Union.
With a worldview steeped in late 1960s radicalism, and especially influenced by philosophers of critical pedagogy and de-schooling like Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich, the artists at Paddington actively worked with and taught embattled and marginalized people to produce posters and art as a means for social change. Whether struggling against the Westminster City Council’s decision to sell its homes to developers, advocating for squatters, the homeless, or for a woman’s right to choose, the artists’ affiliated with Paddington sought to use public posters and art as means for changing social conditions.
Collected here are 53 posters printed by the Paddington Print Shop, with the majority of them being designed and printed by Jon Philips during Paddington’s early years.
The subject of the prints includes anything from making available legal information for migrants, to promoting the people’s park (a park that included the first skatepark in England), and provide a wide cross-section of the activities of Paddington Print Shop from the mid-1970s through 1980s. Among the most compelling burst of creative energy in the realm of the political poster post-1968, the body of work created by Paddington print shop in the 1970s and 1980s is as fresh and relevant as it was 40 years ago.