Stenciling is the most adult of the vandal arts. It even has a respectable name. Grandparents surely walk by them every day, unaware, having no idea theyre overlooking prime examples of societys ruination they could share with a bank teller. Stenciling is also democratic: An artist can produce the same piece, time and again, with none being original. They barely need talent, unlike your graffiti kid with a long name and a train coming. Warhol would like stencils. Warhol did like stencils. What do you think silkscreening is? Mission District stencil archivist Russell Howze
, creator of the vast www.stencilarchive.org, has been championing the form for years. The more than 500 photos in his new book, Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art
, are in direct contrast to the statement we just made that you dont need talent to be a stenciler because these images are incredibly impressive, spanning 28 countries and 350 artists. Although we still appreciate freehand lettering, this book offers a strong rebuttal: Its not 1985 anymore.
Today, learn the trade as Howze presents a stencil workshop.
Sat., May 16, 3 p.m., 2009