During Hard Times: Adam5100 Adds Stencilada PS

While getting in touch recently, I asked Adam5100 if he’d like to paint his amazing, 6-foot-long hand stencil at CELLspace. His reply: “as long as the hands are coming out from under the building.” No problem. So we made plans to do it this morning around 10am. That ended up being about 11:30am but timing didn’t matter. Adam showed up with his stencils in a roll, I opened up CELL to use the gallery as a staging area, and we went to work sweeping the sidewalk and then putting up the stencils. While Adam rolled the black layer, I had to pick up the leaves and trash that kept blowing into the paint. We were talking about how hard it is to be an artist right now, especially on the “nickel and dime” level as Adam put it. But, during these hard times, those of us used to starving are knocking out amazing works and deeds. Adam was well into the second hand (make the right hand by simply flipping the stencil over) when CUBA stopped by to talk about painting murals on the Florida St. side of CELL.

Things slowly move forward on the Florida St. mural project, but that’s how it is when there’s NO MONEY involved. I’m paying artists for their supplies out of my pocket. Tony and I helped with postage and supplies for Stencilada, and Skot and I are fronting money for the Florida St. project (mostly Skot at the moment). Chris stopped by to say that he had to take work to pay bills so hasn’t been able to finish his mural reworking of the old Negative Space mural artifacts. DIA has had two skateboard injuries so hasn’t been able to start his second mural at the ATC prop shop entrance. He now has to make art for an exhibit to make money to pay bills. And once Adam left, photographer and author Steve Rotman stopped by to do a book trade. CUBA soon left and Steve and I shared stories about going into debt to make our books! If ever there was a WPA-type bail out for artists, NOW would be good time (local artist Sirron Norris and the Wooster Collective folks seem to be lobbying the White House for just such a thing.)

Good to visit with Steve. We discussed our projects, tried to identify artists in his books, and I helped him think about how to promote his books outside the Bay Area (he has two books on SF and Bay Area street art/graff). We both promised to see each other down the road and hopefully continue to collaborate on projects and our shared love of street art/graff and photographing it all. Before I left CELL, I managed to get up on the roof to take a great shot of Adam’s final work. Then I headed off to Pegasus in Berkeley for one of the last California appearances. Had a medium-sized but enthusiastic crowd and especially enjoyed meeting the parents who are teaching their 10-year-old son to cut and paint stencils.

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