Michel Caza was born on 2 August 1935, in Lion, France. He is an innovator in the screenprinting industry. Author of numerous technical articles and books for the screen printing industry. His, Techniques of Screenprinting, covers a wide spectrum of techniques on screenprinting.
After attending university studying journalism and sociology in Stockholm, Sweden, where he worked in design, window decoration, drawing caricatures, and singing in jazz bands, Caza entered the graphic arts working in an offset print shop.
First Entry into Screenprinting
In 1954 he entered into the screenprinting field at the “Ateljé BMJ” in Stockholm.
The shop had a McCormick press, the first automatic press designed for screenprinting, as well as two automatic presses that Ake Svantesson, the future founder of Svecia, built in his garage.
Caza returned to France in 1956, to fulfill his military obligations and after two years he returned to screenprinting in partnership with Atelier Castelli in 1958.
In 1959, he was given the editorship of the magazine “Le Sérigraphe” which he changed to Décoration – PLV – Sérigraphie” in 1963. Caza gave up the publication in 1969, as he became too busy with the printing side of the screenprinting.
FSA and FESPA
In 1959, he became a member of the European Chapter of the Screen Printing Association International, which is now the Specialty Graphic and Imaging Association. Also, in 1959, Caza created the Association Francaise de la Sérigraphie.
Casa was a co-founder and later President of the Federation of European Screen Printing Association (FESPA), founded in 1962 by 8 European Associations: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.
He was also honored with the FESPA Merit Award awarded for outstanding services to screen-printing or to FESPA
The Innovation of Stochastic Technique
In 1963, Caza founded Stellascreen Michel Caza, LTD in La Garenne-Colombes, in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France.
It was here that Caza began his study into what was thought to be impossible at the time, taking screenprinting from flat-field, lines and halftones to achieving fine works of art with midtones and subtle graduations of tonalities, all without the use of halftone dots, which would eventually become the “stochastic technique” of printing.
The Stochastic Technique is a printing process based on the pseudo-random distribution of grains. The grains are given a fixed size per film but can be altered with exposure or in the instance of a computer-generated film the size can be changed using postscript coding. The distribution density of the grains varies and is selected by the artist to match the color’s tone. The process is sometimes referred to as frequency modulation (FM) screening, in comparison to the traditional amplitude modulation (AM) halftone screening, which is based on a geometric and fixed spacing of halftone dots, which vary in size depending on the tone color represented. The true difference is quite visible in the finished print, where halftones present a pattern that is easily visible, whereas stochastic, with its random pattern is more pleasing to the viewer.
Using the high quality of indirect films by Autotype, Caza was able to reproduce prints with up to 175 lines per inch. Of course, that did not stop him from experimenting with direct stenciling.
He quickly became the Guru of Fine Art Serigraphs, working with the greatest artists of the time, who came to the studio from around the world to have the master reproduce their work.
Superposition of Transparent Flat Tones
His studies into what could be done led Caza to develop his, “Superposition of Transparent Flat Tones” in 1963, with the mathematical principle of using 3 printed colors to produce 7 tones. This was taken to the extreme by adding additional colors, which exponentially grew the number of tones possible, i.e., 6 colors = 63 tones, 14 colors = 16,383 tones.
His work would again change in 1967 when the ancestor of capillary films the direct/indirect, “Cut 67” was developed and forever changed the future of producing stencils capable of holding even finer detail. Caza was one of the first to accept this new innovation.
As a specialist and pioneer of UV technologies since 1976 for screenprinting, he was also the very first to screenprint 300 lines/inch (120/cm) halftones. He was involved in several other improvements of the screen printing technology such as the thixotropy of inks, very high tension of the screens, yellow coloration and calendaring of mesh, creation of several special effects, control of files, Certified PDF for screenprinting, creation of ICC profiles, and more.
Sérigraphie Michel Caza
In 1969, Caza decided to set on his own without partners. He created a new company, Sérigraphie Michel Caza, in a 500 M2 building in Franconville, in the Val-d’Oise, a suburb of northwest Paris, France.
Even though farther from the center of Paris, the artists continued to arrive. They came from France of course, but the rest of the world had found about the Guru of Fine Art Screenprint. Now his clients were from the far corners of the world, America, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Israel, South America, and Spain. The artists, both known and upcoming were constantly in the shop; Ronald Abram, Yaacov Agam, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Gérard le Cloarec, Salvador Dali, Sonia Delaunay, Leonor Fini, Earnst Fuchs, Roy Lichenstein, Joan Miro, Richard Motensen, Taro Okamoto, Guy de Rougemont, Niky de Saint-Phalle, Pierre Soulages, Kumi Sugai, and Victor Vasarely have been just a few of the 738 artists that Caza has worked with.
Atelier d’Art Michel Caza
By 1979, Caza has developed his own companies; Atelier d’Art Michel Caza (1979) devoted to art screen printing, and Graficaza (1983) devoted to industrial graphic screen printing and POP/POS.
Because of the high quality of his work, Caza won 350 Awards in North America and European Awards Competitions, in all the fields of application of graphic screen printing technology… A world record!
Caza is a regular speaker at seminars, conferences and shows, and other activities in the industry and academic organizations the world over. He is one of the top judges for international awards such as FESPA and SGIA.
Recipient of the Swormstedt Award for excellence in technical writing, 1981
Member of the Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technology (ASDPT), since 1982
Past Chairman of the Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technology (ASDPT)
Member of the Board of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA)
Co-founder of the Federation of European Screen Printers and Digital Imagers Association (FESPA) (1992)
Past President FESPA from June 1996 to June 1999 and October 2000 to June 2002
President of the French Screen & Digital Printers Association (GPSF) since October 2000
Recipient of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) Howard Parmele Award in 2010
Michel is also a technical writer (books, CDs in several languages, hundreds of articles in technical magazines). His published books include:
Craft and Art Silk Screen Printing, 1973, ISBN 0-442-29992-3
Techniques of Screenprinting, 1963
Michel Caza: The Chameleon of Contemporary Art, 2018, https://en.cazamichel-artedition.com/
The Theory and Practice of UV Screen Printing, 2021
On April, 2018, Caza published a large art book, “Michel Caza: The Chameleon of Contemporary Art: 55 years of Art Screenprinting” which contains 3000 Illustrations, photos of 1660 screenprints by 700 artists, and 530 art posters. In the text, Michel includes anecdotes, portraits of the artists, and discusses the rich and complex relationships with the artists.
The book is many things. It is a book of serigraph art, a collector’s object, the discoveries of an inventor, an engineer, a technician, a screenprinter, an art screenprinter, a discussion of Michel’s memories of 55 years in the production of fine art serigraphs.