In the early 1960s Warhol began experimenting with the screenprinting process. At the same time he investigated the medium on canvas, Warhol printed works on paper. His early 1960s prints on paper were never intended to be traditional editions and were largely executed by Warhol himself. Almost exclusively black and white, the images retain the grainy qualities of the news clippings from which they derive. Particularly notable are the gradations in ink tone from the printing screen, remarkably present in Flowers. These accidental mechanical variations and their resulting unique impressions elide the difference between his works on paper and on canvas.
This slippage of the printing screen also suffuses a sense of unease. The print gives the sensation of a film still stuck and repeating itself, and the ethereal black bands of ink recall gaps on a strip of film. In the absence of Technicolor, Warhol left behind only the structure of the image and allowed the ink to bleed through the paper, creating a luminous and ghostly effect.
At once familiar and distant, the early experimental prints such as Flowers set the stage for Warhol's later printmaking, opening the door for both his standard editions and unique unpublished proofs. While the printing process for Warhol became more refined in the later years of his studio, the experimental spirit of these prints remains.