12 Hours of Stencil Nation Fun

Last night, at 2am, I went to bed with my mind still wandering. I spent most of the day going through my archive photos and pulling out some of the best shots for the Stencil Nation book. I’d e-mailed people from around the world about stencils and art, hopped over to Flickr to look at other photos, and checked and rechecked my working sections to see how well the photos look together. But as I tried to go to sleep, I thought that instead of not blogging about my sitting-in-front-of-a-computer life, I should blog about what I’m doing for the book. Like a diary, with short descriptions or run-on sentences, I felt I could share with everybody what I’m doing in front of my computer all day as well as hype the book. I could even let all of you in on how a book like this comes together (don’t think it has been done for a stencil book).

So I’m introducing a Stencil Nation category today for HappyFeetTravels.org and will hop on here as often as I can to let you all know what I’m working on, who I’m talking to, etc. So, on to what’s going on with the book project:

Yesterday was full of stencil photos. I went through my archives, pulling out many images for the different sections of the book. I noticed that I couldn’t find several older images and then realized that I have an “OLD Archive” folder that has even more high resolution images I’ve taken over the years. Most of the book will feature 2004-2007 because Josh MacPhee used dozens of my best photos for his book. I still had to pull out Stencil Pirates and London Street Art to check and see if I was reusing images (which I was for a few).

Got an email from John Fekner, giving me more leads on stencils in art history. He’s been a great help in developing the chronology. While I consider him the first stencil graffiti artist (from my research), he told me that Richard Artschwager inspired him and was in a show he curated in the late 1970s. Didn’t work on the book this morning, but went to the SF Public Library after lunch and looked through four books on Artschwager before I could find a solid reference to his blps graffiti. He could very well be the first stencil artist to hit the streets, spraying oval-shaped objects, indoors and outside, that grabbed attention as early as 1968.

Back at the computer today, I had an email from Ita in Oaxaca who tried to submit stencil art via the email and failed. So my roommate Ines helped me craft a message to him in Spanish with the upload information. Really looking forward to featuring the amazing stencil art that’s happening in Oaxaca, Mexico. Wonder if Peter Kuper will get around to sending some of his photos from there?

Spoke with Scott Williams a few times today to discuss his section. I wanted to use someone else’s photos but Scott is OK with mine. I need to dig out the photos of his murals to rescan and stitch together. Back in the day when memory wasn’t cheap, I chose to not keep high resolution scans of his murals. Now I have to do it all over again.

Spoke with Mr. Prvrt from Montreal today about submitting content. The sections are busting out for the most part, but I still have to develop the teachers section and beginners section or cut them. I emailed a few artists who wanted their art in the book and had emailed their interest. One from Australia stencils rotting furniture with ad-like text. The other stencils trains in creative ways. I went through Janet Bike Girl’s CDs she mailed from Toronto and pulled some images I took of her works. I also got around to pulling Chris Stain’s submissions off of his CD. Opened Hao’s and he sent stickers! Still have to get to Maya’s online submissions, and sent out a reminder email to the 10 or so folks who said they wanted to contribute but haven’t in the past few weeks. We’ll see what turns up in the next week or two.

Going through hundreds of photos yesterday, and fleshing out the sections for the book, has finally helped create the words that need to go with it all. I wanted to stay up and write last night but it got too late. I hope that the book design will take shape in Sept. so I can figure out how much to write. For now, I think I have too many photos, so will try to write small bits for everything. The Introduction is in my head and Chris said that he was going to write the Forward soon to get that started and “out of the way.” Other bits are in my head as well, just waiting to hit the page.

Hard to believe that Aug. is almost over! That means that Sept. will be intense: formatting the photos, getting the design settled, writing and editing, and making all these pieces a real damn book……..

PS: Just got an email from Swoon, with 3 photos attached for the book. She just got off the river with Miss Rockaway. Hope she can send more.