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Dave Gardner Receives Impressions Lifetime Achievement Award

Long considered one of the industry’s leading innovators, screen-printing pioneer Dave Gardner was recently recognized for his decades of outstanding work

By Adam Cort, Content Director

February 2, 2024

Long considered one of the industry’s leading innovators, screen-printing pioneer Dave Gardner was recently recognized for his decades of outstanding work with an Impressions Lifetime Achievement Award, an effort spearheaded by the Ink Kitchen.

An awards ceremony, including a montage of pre-recorded video congratulations from loved ones around the county, took place during the recent Impressions Expo in Long Beach, California, in front of a capacity crowd of friends, family and fans.

Dave Gardner Screen Printing Impression Achievement Award

From left: Dave Gardner, Michelle Moxley-Hruby and Rick Roth. Photo courtesy of Impressions Expo

Gardner, whose many titles have included his current role as Director of Creative Embellishment at Gildan, has been a passionate and hugely creative screen printer since decorating his first T-shirt as a teenager.

In the years since, his contributions to the industry have included the invention of simulated process printing, and the further development of underbase printing and color separation, all with an eye toward creating a level of detail and subtlety never seen before.

The iconic Harley Davidson line of T-shirts of the 1980s was also his brainchild. Suffice it to say, much of what is now taken for granted in the world of T-shirt screen-printing comes as a direct result of Gardner’s efforts.

“He paints with a press like no one else on this planet, and then he changed the way we printed,” awards ceremony co-host and head of the award’s selection committee, Michelle Moxley-Hruby, said of Gardner’s efforts.

“The [selection] committee really looks hard at this and picks someone that really has done amazing work over a long period of time, and that is certainly Dave Gardner,” agreed fellow co-host, Ink Kitchen co-founder and Mirror Image Screenprinting & Embroidery president, Rick Roth.

“In America we tell people they can be anything they want, and to a certain degree that’s true. But I think there’s the thing that you want to be, the thing that you’re supposed to be and then there’s the rare case of the thing that you were born to be,” Gardner said. “I happen to have been blessed enough to be in the right place at the right time with the right skill set to pioneer what came to be called simulated process, and for that I’m grateful.”

Gardner joins previous award winners Andy Anderson of Anderson Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and screen-printing innovator Mike Beckman, now with M&R (mrprint.com), in this this third year of the awards. To see a video of a conversation between Roth and Gardner addressing the nuts and bolts of some of the advance Gardner has made in screen printing, click here. For more on all three award winners, visit the Ink Kitchen at inkkitchen.com.