Seeing all the fresh street art from the likes of Berlin to Barcelona to Brighton, has inspired me to produce a whole new canvas Stencil section for WHoArtNow.co.uk totally devoted to stencil art. It's been around for years, but the emergence of street art, using stencil art has recently got a hell of a lot of publicity, since certain subversive and guerilla artists, namely Banksy, have got their names all over the news, the papers & even the Tate gallery.
So how does a graffiti artist, that effectively vandalises buildings get his work up in the Tate gallery? Massive exhibitions like Warhol vs Banksy with canvases, prints and silk screens are now a big thing. So, when did street art suddenly become accepted? In Brighton recently, I was pleased to see that Banksy has been invited back to produce a new version of his "Kissing Policeman" as the old one was vandalised. The Tate are even telling Camden City Council not to remove his work from the streets. Could Street Art and stencil art now be seen as a pleasant, accepted form of artwork?
[Warhol vs Banksy] left -Banksy's version of Warhol's Pop Art Marilyn print, which went for over £50 grand at auction. For both of these artists, Money has had the last word for them, with their art fetching huge somes of money with recent collectors.
Street art & artists have been doing their thing for years. I have been a personal fan of SWOON for as long as I can remember. To see something so beautiful & fully appreciate the effort & time that has gone in to making such a complex stencil is a very personal experience, as most people will tell you. This really explains the recent shift in opinions for stencil art - it is, at the end of the day - fantastic artwork. Powerful, personal, and extremely unique artwork that uses the street as a giant art gallery for the word to see.
[left and above] - Swoon's meticulous life-size hand cut stencils in NY City.
So where did stencil art all start? Stencil art is effectively a form of Street Art, which is Art created in public spaces, i.e. the streets. As it is in the public domain, as a result, it is a totally free form of art, intended solely for the general public. As a result, it has become a backlash against corporate society, and commercial art (i.e. advertising) , and so is usually subversive, and often of an illicit nature.
Stencil graffiti involves using paper, cardboard, or other special medias to create an image that is quickly reproduceable. The design is cut out of the medium, & the image is transferred to a surface through the use of spray paint/ roll-on paint. Stencilling basically involves applying paint on a stencil to form an image on any surface underneath. Often, multiple layers of stencils are used on the same image to add colour or create the illusion of depth.
An example of things to come in the future for WHoArtNow canvas designs [above] Madonna Stencil (click to enlarge) by Mike Walker hand stenciled on canvas exclusively for WHoArtNow.co.uk (2007) ETA: 2008. Visit the stencil section for more info/