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This work was created for an international project and a book entitled 'Keep Delete – Turning Messages into Keepsakes'. The project was initiated by Andrea Wilkinson and her team at the Media Arts & Design Faculty, LUCA School of Arts, University of Leuven, Genk, Belgium.


Invited artists were asked to look back through personal phone text messages and select one that was important to them. The challenge was to translate an essentially transient and etherial piece of data into something tangible. I also contributed a chapter for the book.


As a teacher of typographic design I wanted this work to be reflective of the traditions of printing which hark back to pioneers like Gutenburg, Caxton and Wynken de Worde.


The piece is based on a conversation between myself and my son. At first sight my message appears to be a rather innocuous and insignificant sort of conversation, but this marked a seminal moment that occurs in most family's lives where the child becomes an independent authority and ventures into the world 'sans safety net'.

”...the Printer’s Table by Gary Gowans turns an exchange of text messages into a rather striking reversed woodblock.“


'The Scotsman', ESSA annual exhibitions review – Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh 2013



The message was sent from a rather insalubrious public bar in town and, as a 16 year old, he was not legally entitled to be there. On a normal Saturday we'd be at home together for family movie night. I couldn't chastise him because that would have been hypocritical – I'd done exactly the same thing myself at his age.


I was overjoyed when he sent the message – even more so when he arrived home safe on the last bus and we fired up Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Indy 3) on the DVD player. That night he was ‘Junior’ and I was Henry Jones Senior. Oh the joys of parenthood!

This work was selected for the Royal Glasgow Institute (RGI) Annual Exhibition at the McLelland Galleries, Glasgow and the Society of Scottish Artists Annual exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy

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