Demone Carter on the Screenprint Showdown

Last year, Demone Carter, Program Director of FutureArtsNow! (, kicked off his organization's first ImagineSJ event with a tremendously salient question: "What needs to happen to make this city take off?" 

Through FutureArtsNow!, Demone and his team fill the void left by vanishing school arts and programming giving youth an opportunity to learn the mediums of art, dance, music and video production. They recruit and train some of the most accomplished and dynamic dancers, visual artists, and media arts professionals in the south bay and give them the opportunity to work with at-risk youth in after and during their school settings.

We recommend checking out what he and his organization are doing because what they are doing is both brilliant and highly necessary. 

As the lead on the Screenprint Showdown Event's program, Demone has conceptualized a day for celebrating screenprinting in San Jose that will both embolden the existing arts community--who already loves our city's screenprinting culture--and ecstatically invite those new to San Jose's screenprinting culture to further engage it. 

Part of this has been thinking about how to make the act of live screenprinting visually interesting to an audience. To do this, the Screenprint Showdown Event will feature three competitions amongst the four Screenprint Showdown Screen Teams:


1. The "Fastest Printing" Competition

-Each of 4 teams is given a screen that is already burned into
-Each team is given a stack of paper, ink (each team is a different ink color), clamps, and the screen
-A representative from each team must screen on paper as quickly as possible
-The winner is whoever has the most qualifying prints at the end of a proposed time frame

2. The "Mystery Box" Competition

-A team is given the following items in a mystery box: mesh, pencil, paper, mini crafters frame (circular), 3 ink colors, vinyl, scissors, sharpies, tape, mini squeegee, bin of water, and a surprise 3D item that can be printed on.
-A representative from each team must transform that 3D item with screenprinted imagery.
-The winners are awarded based on categories set by the judges AFTER the contest is completed. i.e. "Team that used the most tape." or "Team with brightest design" etc.

3. The "Build a Design" Competition

-Each team is given a pre-burned screen that has a series of shapes/designs
-Other tools given are: mini squeegee, vinyl, inks, clamp, paper, tape, pencil
-The substrate is paper
-The best design created is winner


In working with Demone on conceptualizing these competitions as well as programming the other exciting elements of the Event, it has been evident that his own question, "What needs to happen to make this city take off?", is still very much on his mind but with the answer increasingly closer within his grasp. 

We recently connected with Demone to get his thoughts on San Jose, screenprinting and the Screenprint Showdown. 

Q: Someone asks you, 'Why do you love SJ?'. What do you say?

I love San Jose because of the diversity. There are so many different cultures which makes for great food, music, art

Q: Based on your role in the project, describe the desired experience for someone to have when they attend the Screenprint Showdown?

For San Jose residents, I want them to come to the Screenprint Showdown and experience San Jose in a whole new way. The logos collected through our graphic design contest will help locals re-imagine their city. For the tourist who will be in town for the Super Bowl, I want this to be a coming-out party for a newly rebranded San Jose. 

Q: What does screenprinting mean to you?

in this digital age, there is something classic and timeless about about applying ink to a medium this way. 

Q: Let's say you're officially tasked to create a logo for the city of San Jose. What does it look like? What's the prevailing idea behind it? 

First of all my visual art skills are terrible so I should not be involved in creation of any logo whatsoever. With that said I tend to like logos that are clean simple and imply action or feeling. Kooltura came up with a great symbol set for this event. 

Q: What is something people from outside of San Jose need to know or should know about San Jose?

We are a city! Not merely a suburb of SF. We have our own unique flavor! 

Q: What are your thoughts on the Screenprint Showdown? What do you hope to see? What are your goals for the event?

I see the Screenprint Showdown as the beginning of new conversation about what San Jose is. This is an opportunity for long-time local and newer transplants to imagine what the city will look like 20 years from now.  


Screenprint Showdown Event Info

Day: Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016
Time: 11 AM to 5 PM
Location: Blanco Square, 12 N. San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA 95110
What's going on? 
Live screenprinting + the birth of the city's new branded identity and logo + competitions, music and performances celebrating San Jose's deeply beloved screenprinting and art culture + LIMITED EDITION shirts and goods by Cukui, Silicon Valley De-Bug, School of Visual Philosophy and Authentic Imprints.

Brought to you by SJMADE, FutureArtsNow!, Content and Kooltura Marketing. Funded by Knight Foundation. Sponsored by Adobe, KQED and City of San Jose.