EYE ON ALUMNI
Sara Gates, M.F.A. Painting ’06
For Pratt alumna Sara Gates (M.F.A. Painting ’06) life and work are inseparable. As the owner and operator of Kingsland Printing, she runs a full-scale custom screen-printing and design studio out of her spacious loft apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The company got its start in 2006 making T-shirts for Troubleman Records. But Gates was more interested in fashion and art than in T-shirts, and her business quickly began specializing in large-scale screen printing, owing in part to taking on projects with artists such as Gates’s thesis advisor, Fine Arts Adjunct Professor Linda Francis, who sought her help incorporating photographic imagery into her work via screen-printing.
Today, Kingsland Printing occupies 2,000 of the loft’s 2,700-square-foot space. The company is named for Kingsland Avenue, the street on which Gates has lived since 2006, when she completed her final year at Pratt while starting her business. Nowadays, she heads a five-person print team that includes an in-house graphic designer, a master printer, and an ever-changing group of interns.
“Kingsland Printing is about using our creative knowledge to collaborate with local artists and designers on diverse projects,” says Gates, who hails from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Kingsland Printing, launched during Gates’s second year at Pratt, is already known in New York for being able to screen-print designs on yards of fabric to fulfill large orders.
“Most of our yardage work is for fashion designers who will cut up the rolls of printed fabric to make into high-end fashion,” explains Gates. “We use eco-friendly, water-based inks when we can, though we don’t rule out oil-based or plastisol inks if a project calls for them.”
Gates earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting at Syracuse University. Afterwards she painted independently for several years in Arizona and California, where she took her first screen-printing course at California College of the Arts in Oakland. She then spent a year in London at the Chelsea School of Art and Design, where she earned a postgraduate diploma. Having heard good things about Pratt’s M.F.A. program, facilities, and faculty, and eager to return to New York, Gates transferred to Pratt.
Gates attributes her success in the large-scale fabric printing business to approaching every project as an artistic collaboration rather than as a commercial venture. “Every job is treated as a creative collaboration between friends and tackled with the gusto and passion expected of such an alliance,” she says.
Photo: Stephanie Levy