Portrait: Trent Mackley of Papermill Print House

Trent Mackley is the owner and operator of Papermill Print House in Toronto who produce Giclée Archival prints for artists all over the world. Trent stumbled into the new business venture while trapped in lockdown in Australia in 2020.

How did you get stuck in Oz?

I was visiting Melbourne for a wedding and a winter break in late 2019 when suddenly Covid had us locked down and I couldn't get a flight back to Toronto for an unknown amount of time. In the end, a two month trip resulted in me returning to Canada seven months later.

So how did you pass the time?

My longtime close friend, and now business partner, Marcus (@marcus.gillot.tattoo), had an idea to create high-quality museum-grade prints of his drawings while he couldn't work as a tattoo artist. Fortunately, a close family friend gave him the opportunity to learn the ropes at their office with his wide format printer.

While he was learning about printing I was trying to stay busy so I came down to lend him a hand and I got really into it. The building blocks of Papermill were forming, and our first client together was an Aussie artist who had just come back from living in Toronto for four years. We both saw it as a massive sign to explore further and build the business together.

 Had you had much to do with printing before then?

I took a serious interest in photography in 2014 and it had become my side hustle, but there was something about the printing process that spoke to me. 

Tell us about your printer and your paper stock; what makes it special?

We print with a HP Designjet Z9 44” Inkjet printer and our papers are from Canson (Annonay, France), Hahnemuhle (Dassel, Germany), and HP (Canada).

Canson and Hahnemuhle are two paper mills really leading the industry for quality, their papers can’t be matched at all plus their environmental impact and sustainability practices are something that really speaks to us as a company too.

Who's your biggest influence?

Our print mentor, Les Walking, is someone who Marcus and I have  fortunately been able to work with closely. Honestly, there isn’t anything Les doesn’t know when it comes to print and reproduction, not to mention he’s the most humble person too. If you pick up a textbook to do with wide format printing, there’s a good chance Les has taught the author.

Who are some of your favourite artists right now?

I could go on for days, so I’m just going to narrow it down to two.

An artist we’ve been fortunate enough to work with is David Legoon (@davidlegoon). His work is stunning, I'm a huge fan of his line work and original style.

An artist we haven’t worked with, yet, is Nick Thomm (@nickthomm) I was fortunate to purchase a print of one of his spectral paintings a few years back. The colours and quality of his work are bar none. Upon receiving his work it for sure sparked a curiosity into art and prints for me.

I can’t start work without…

A double shot coffee and an organized office in the morning.

What’s on the stereo when you’re working?

Currently the Growlers (@losgrowlers) and Badbadnotgood (@badbadnotgood).

Your 2021 prediction?

The Jays (@bluejays) will win the World Series.

A final shout out to another artist doing cool things…

@chloeshao for her stunning illustrations. Keep an eye on her work!

Learn more about Papermill Print House and connect with Trent Mackley on Instagram (@papermill.print.house) and visit www.papermillprinthouse.com.