How it's made: Rising High II by Peter Halley

How it's made: Rising High II by Peter Halley

Anastasia Vavilova, a printmaker at Make-Ready who specialises in experimental hybrid techniques, recounts the steps involved in an elaborate collaboration with Neo-geo painter, Peter Halley.

Anastasia Vavilova

3 min read

Peter Halley


Before printing began, we had to work out the best way to separate the artwork into a series of stackable elements. We made prototypes using proofing paper, cutting the shapes out by hand with a scalpel and experimenting with how they could be assembled to create the artwork. After many iterations we found an elegant solution using 4 cut-out layers and a continuous base print.

Early experiments for silkscreen overprints on grey card

One of many job sheets used by Anastasia while printing

Foiled and finished die cut layers, ready for assembly

Colour matching

Peter’s use of colour is very particular, so we had to be precise. We printed as many as 50 swatches for each colour in the artwork and compared them with a digital reference print.

To complicate things further, the upper layers are printed on grey card. This card responds differently to colour than our standard paper types. To adjust for this and maximise saturation we underpinned every colour with white, printed as a separate layer of UV-cured ink.

Peter Halley

Silkscreen overprints

When the colours were matched we started to think about how and where we could add texture and dimension to the print. In the end we used 3 different finishes, all applied as bespoke silkscreen layers.

Gloss varnish gives an industrial sheen to areas of colour, while powdered pigment adds a pearlescent, shimmering effect. Both echo the industrial materials Peter uses in his paintings. The final panel is outlined in gold leaf. This involves applying thin sheets of 24 carat gold, by hand, to a silkscreened layer of glue.

Peter Halley

Gold leaf and shimmering powder highlight the 'conduits' in Peter's composition, connecting and separating 'cells' of solid colour.

Die cutting

Once printed, each layer is cut to shape. The forms are complex and have multiple interior windows, which makes this a very intricate process. After more testing, we decided to die cut them. This involves a bespoke blade embedded in a flat block and forced into the face of the artwork. The technique gives each layer a subtly-rounded edge, which looks beautiful when the artworks are assembled.

Layer 2

Layer 3

Layer 4

Layer 5


Once everything is printed, finished, leafed and cut to shape, assembly can begin.

First, the base layer is mounted on rigid museum board. Next, the die cut layers are added one by one. This takes two people and feels a bit like working in an operating theatre. We tried a variety of adhesive films – looking for the perfect balance of strength and precision. The complexity of each layer, and the way they fit together, leaves no room for error.

At 600gsm, the layers are thick. Once stacked they cast shadows of varying depths throughout the composition. It's a print, but at this final stage it becomes almost sculptural.

Go deeper

Rising High II builds on the techniques developed by Lamina Studios for our first collaboration with Peter, Galaxia II.

Read our guide on the art of silkscreen printing.

Visit Peter's artist page to learn more about his fluorescent, rectilinear paintings – and what inspires them.



Subscribe to the Avant Arte newsletter for the art world in your inbox.

By continuing, you’re agreeing to our terms & conditions and privacy policy.