"Stencil" is derived from the French word estencler which means to decorate or adorn with bright colors. It is very much apparent when looking at today's pop media and trends that the stencil has reached its critical mass in terms of popularity and accessibility. For instance, Comedy Central's graphics and logos emulate the street-born and hastily sprayed text that one would find on any lamp post, mailbox, or bare wall on the Bowery or Mott Street. T-shirt and skateboard graphics also include the classic "drips" and "spots" that are found in graffiti tags and murals.
The fact that stencil art and graffiti has attained mainstream appeal doesn't really shake my stance on the craft. In fact, just like any other medium, I'll keep on pushing it until the work becomes something other than just a stencil. And for those of you who think it's as easy as cutting and spraying - give it a shot and you'll find that there are many variables when it comes to creating a great graphic.
Having said all that, below are some pics of student work from our Autumn Workshops. Once again, I was really impressed with how much these kids applied themselves to their projects as well as the collective support and constructive encouragement they gave to one another.
Street Art Workshop (October 2006)
I worked with Robert previously in a "Skate to Create" class this past summer. Once he saw the challenge that comes with creating a "freehand" spray paint mural - he was ready to take it on. I showed him my library of graffiti literature, including "The Art Of Getting Over" by Stephen Powers as well as "Style:Writing From the Underground" (Stampa Alternative in association with IGTimes).
Rob's drawing skills are well-grounded, but he wanted to emulate the "Wild Style" Graff designs of the late seventies. We worked on his lettering and composition in the sketches all the while knowing that he'll have to pull this off on a 24"x48" piece of masonite.
I commend Rob on his ability to improvise as well as pay close attention to detail when it came to spray painting. I walked Rob through the process of outlines and fills, and let him go to work: