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Shop Tour: Anderson Studios

The Nashville ISS show is this week, I hope to see some of you there.

Last year I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Andy Anderson and seeing his shop in Nashville. He is a real renaissance man, with three distinct areas of expertise: motorcycle design and painting, underwater photography, and then to top it all off he is probably the best printer of four color process photographs on t-shirts who has ever lived. He has been painting motorcycles and printing shirts since he was a teenager in the early 70’s. He seems to only get better and better at both.

He is a humble guy and it was great talking shop with him. We had many stories to swap of customers that haven’t appreciated us, customers asking the impossible, and probably our biggest gripe which is that folks don’t want to pay us a few more cents per shirt for the very top quality available.

We have some similar approaches to printing in that both use Newman roller frames and that we both believe in doing the bulk of our work prepress not on press. We have some differences in that he uses M & R presses and we use MHM’s, he works mostly from traditional CMYK four color separations and we do mostly simulated process separations, and he sharpens and I only replace my squeegees (and he might have at least half persuaded me on that last one.)

I leave the rest of this for photos of his shop, his incredible work on shirts, his incredible work on motorcycles, and some stunning underwater photography.

One of Andy’s earliest award winning prints.
The transitions on this Taylor Swift print (and most of Andy’s prints of famous human beings) are phenomenal. He avoids posterization and the difficult quarter and three quarter tones are amazing. This is an extremely difficult print, really a tour de force of full color printing.
Again, incredible work on the flesh tones and hair detail as well as capturing the subtle detail on the background.

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For you youngsters out there, this is a room full of history. It is also a room of once expensive equipment, now utterly useless. That is a Stat Camera on the left and an imagesetter in the center. While they gave folks like Andy a better understanding of the separating and printing process, they are relics, never to be used again.
One of Andy's early "art prints."
One of Andy’s early “art prints.”
One of Andy's beautiful bike paintings. He has incredible attention to details with all the parts fitting seamlessly together.
One of Andy’s beautiful bike paintings. He has incredible attention to details with all the parts fitting seamlessly together.
The Master at work.
The Master at work.


He sharpens squeegees (carefully) and we don't but after talking to him I might have slightly changed my mind.
He sharpens squeegees (carefully) and we don’t but after talking to him I might have (slightly) changed my mind.


We both use roller frames, you've got to have good screens, it is after all called "screen" printing.
We both use roller frames, you’ve got to have good screens, it is after all called “screen” printing.
Some of Andy's breathtaking underwater photography.
Some of Andy’s breathtaking underwater photography. He really is a renaissance man.








  1. He is the master! Most people don’t really understand the difficulty of doing 4 color process on a garment. Basically you shouldn’t be able to and the reason being is that part of the substrate is missing. You can’t print on air! Offset printers have the luxury of printing on a SOLID and WHITE substrate paper (no air!). This is why screen printers of 4CP seek out the best made garments to print on. Now making the customer understand the more expensive garment is a must is not an easy task, but the more material the better the print. I found and I’m sure others that the learning curve was how to make an eye pleasing print on a substrate that’s not solid, flat etc. Anyone that is familiar with Andy Anderson work knows that he has that down pat! Thanks for a nice article about a true and humble craftsman that I’ve been honored to know and befriend a long time….

  2. Andy is a true pioneer of our craft.
    I admire him most for his love of Screen Printing and his giving spirit of helping others to aspire to higher achievement. Congrats on all of your successes and notoriety!

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