My first exposure to printing was when I was three years old. I remember doing a crude kind of block printing, as many kids do. You know, dipping sponges in paint, that kind of thing. I was always an arty kid, and I soon tried my hand at printing at home, much to the delight of my mother!
I didn't even recognise what I was doing as printing to begin with. For me it was just another way of expressing myself creatively and experimenting with different artistic techniques. After block printing I moved on to other forms of printing. By the age of ten I had tried just about every style of printing possible from one's home, without the need for expensive equipment.
In my early teens I realised that I didn't just have a passion for printing, I had a full blown addiction. It totally consumed my life. You might not believe it but printing was occupying my every waking thought. Around this time my attention was turning towards screen printing, something about it really appealed to me. I loved that you could produce really intricate prints with a process that seemed very intuitive and physical.
I attempted to build a screen printing press as I had decided this was the method in which I really wanted to push myself. I say attempted because it took me two or three tries to get a set up I was happy with. My first screen printer and silk screens were far from perfect, but I worked with what I had and eventually was able to produce prints I was happy with. Admittedly, it took probably a hundred attempts to get something I was happy with. That's not to say I perfected the craft! That would take many more years. This is where the story really begins for Tyson Printers.
I had a few good friends from college who were avid artists and who were starting to make some waves in the local art community. I offered to make some prints of their work to sell. They gladly obliged and that was really where everything took off. That was the point I realised I could make money from printing and perhaps it could even be my career, not just a hobby.
I was excited, but also aware that if I were to make a career out of printing it might take out some of my enjoyment from it. I pondered this for a while and decided it was worth a go. After all, if I ended up disliking working in the printing industry I could always quit and do something else!
So that's exactly what I did. I left school at sixteen and started looking for an entry level job with a local printer. Within a month I was offered a position with an upcoming firm looking to expand (it was a lot easier to get a job in those days!). I was incredibly excited and very eager to start work and absorb as much knowledge as I could. Far from turning me against my love of printing, I found working in the industry actually if anything only intensified my love.
The initial attraction did wear off though eventually. I had a growing feeling inside me that I needed to be my own boss. I had to try going it alone even if I did fail. So that's exactly what I did. I saved up some money to buy a decent printer, and to improve my existing screen printing set up and planned the beginnings of my own business.
I capitalised on my connections with local artists and in the beginning screen printing prints made up the majority of my work. I new there was a lot of money to be made in other printing methods so I really pushed that side of the business, approaching local companies and networking to get print jobs for everything from business cards to flyers and large posters.
Things grew from there really, within a year I was totally self sufficient on my business, and within three years I had my first employee!