Grafica News - May 2009

Inspiring Success story of an artist-turned printer

“Through screen printing business I made a Water-Park” says Akbar Momin

“When I came to Bombay from Sidhdhpur in Mehsana district of Gujarat, I had no money to eat properly, but I still managed to join J J School of Art to study the foundation course in art. I could not study further due to financial problems, though I wanted to become a successful artist. As I had to 'earn to live', I got involved in banners and posters making for film industry. Later I started screen printing in a small way. Rest is history. Today, I am proud to say that I have earned so much from printing business that I even set up a mini water park at Sidhdhpur in Gujarat.”

This is the success story of Akbar J. Momin, the founder-director of PRINTINDIA, Mumbai. The printing house is specialized in graphic 4- color designing, barcode printing {from number 1 to unlimited}, screen-printing, digital printing, Flex-Vinyl, Offset printing, and Roto Gravures. It has a UV unit to undertake print finish jobs/special effects such as Gloss, Bubble, Crystal, Glitter and many more. The business is now being handled mostly by his son while he is concentrating on art printing.

Art printing, his dream project
'Akbar' in Arabic means 'the great'. So, Akbar Momin is not only a successful in printing (screen printing included), but also set to become 'great' in 'art printing'. He has now deployed 20” x 30” Camshell and a 30” UV curing machine - both from Grafica specifically for art printing. “Art was suppressed inside me for all these years as I was busy in printing business”, he says.

Grafica has a name in the market
Being a knowledgeable in screenprinting, Mr. Momin bought the entire screen printing set up from Graifca after finding it to be the best and well suited for his requirement (art printing). “I am happy with Grafica. Their machine is not only good, the company has a name in the market and their service is trustworthy. For me, just one phone call is enough to solve the problem, if any. There is no complaint as far as machine's performance is concerned”.

The Dawn of a new life
“I started my screen printing in a small 10' x 10' room with 2 people. I then commenced my operations in the 120 sq ft bedroom of my flat in Jogeshwari, a western suburb ofMumbai. Later, I acquired another 200 sq ft in the ground floor of the same building. Finally, my big business in screen printing started with 5-6 tables”, Mr. Momin recalls his early days.

He also set up a digital set up and he outsources his clients' offset printing needs. Mr. Momin also started print finish jobs such as UV spot varnishing, special effects varnish, glitters, UV pearl, etc. Print India also produces stickers, labels, tags. Its sister concern – Print Pack – produces bags, pouches, rapping papers. For the last 18-20 years, his main clients are from airlines and export houses. I entered bar-coding segment, which requires special software, after learning it in Canada. India being a large country with so much of population bar coding will have a big market”, Mr. Momin says.

Why reprint art?
Mr. Momin admits that art is time consuming (an artist has to try his hands at work for several days on one piece). There are millions of art lovers but they can see art in galleries to satisfy themselves without buying it as it is costly. “Only millionaires can afford to buy art. But if art is made cheaper like printing it exactly like original in bulk quantities through screen printing process, many people /small businessmen can buy it. This way art can make a big entry in the market and can be popularized”. With the increased awareness of interior decoration, there could be more and more buyers of art. According to him, the only way to make it cheaper is to print it through screen process.

Helping art students
He has big plans to take art +printing to a greater heights. Interestingly, Mr. Momin has taken one step forward by helping art students of JJ School of Art where he himself learnt the art. He gives them chance to practice and learn art further, provides them material and if required helps them financially (as he himself suffered when he wanted to become an artist). He is now all set to showcase his and his students' painting capabilities.

R&D in art printing
He is currently experimenting, carrying out lot of trial and errors, R&D as a pre cursor to his a big business in art printing. The whole plan is in the drawing board now. “I spend some lakhs on experiments and R&D in art printing through screen process; working 6-8 hours on trials. Once I complete my experiments successfully on canvas, I shall roll out my art prints”.

Key to success
“In the last 28 years, I earned money only because of screen printing and even set up a water park in Gujarat … success comes from 'khoob mehanat' (lot of efforts). I am very happy with screen printing that is why I remained in this field for so many years whereas many others who entered this field either abandoned or not making progress because they have not gone beyond printing visiting cards, letter heads.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Momin is all set to become a Baadshah of art printing – the energy derived from his art education and experience in screenprinting.

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