Last Saturday afternoon turned out to be hot and sunny, so I thought I’d have about 3 or 4 people attend the scheduled skillshare at Modern Times books here in the Mission. I had the table moved out into the store, thinking that I’d end up sitting alone, cutting out my own stencil, but I only got to make about five cuts. 10 people showed up (on time), tipped to the event by the SF Weekly listing, so they helped me move the table into the back area of the store. Then about 7 more people showed up, so I had the MT people set up two more tables to work on. Like a kindergarten class, we had to share pencils and Xacto knives, and MT gave me some cardboard for everyone to cut on. I had enough paper to go around, and one attendee cut up his piece of mylar to share.
I began with a 5-10 minute introduction about making a stencil. Several people had made stencils before, so I asked them to sit next to those who hadn’t made one. Some people showed up with no idea to draw and cut, so they went to the free papers, magazines, and info section of MT and cut images based upon photos and art that they found interesting. I spent the rest of the skillshare walking around, answering questions, and giving tips. Scott Williams showed up with a bag full of his stencil journals, so people took breaks to sit with him, ask questions, and flip through his art. He also brought cut out stencils, cutting mats, and a worn out Xacto knife to share. All of the supplies he offered were promptly utilized.
This is it! The final Stencil Nation tour which will end the Year of Stencils (which began last June with the book opening). What an amazing (road) trip it’s been, giving me hope that humanity is not completely lost in a consumer/TV/Xbox/Twitter haze. All your help, hospitality, support, cooking, schleping, encouragement, and couches/futons/beds can only support the fact that there are amazing people throughout Stencil Nation who see kindness and community within the whole art and graffiti worlds. I am grateful and indebted to you all for all that you have done along the roads that lead to that next stencil!
Out of the desert, where I hiked some blazing trails, and at the end of the Southern Cal tour. Winding down what was an amazing time down here, dropping the rental off, catching the bus back north to San Francisco. The tour resumes for about five more dates, and then off to Middle America in June (dates announced soon!). Right now, some photos from the Wet Paint event in Tempe. Was having so much fun at this event, time flew. I did manage to cut a signature stencil and used it on some books. Koleszar never stopped stenciling the whole time. Even during my presentation. Here are some pics I took, and Koleszar took, of that nice day.
Had a great day in the heat and humidity at Wet Paint near ASU in Tempe. Painters hitting the canvas while soul spins on the turntables. People taking time out of a weekday Cinco de Mayo to stop by and check out the painting. Koleszar was making people happy by throwing together great art that all could enjoy. Jess and the crew at Wet Paint went all out for a great Stencil Nation outdoor art event. More on that later this week. For now, pics from last night’s arrival to the end of the ‘burbs
Not enough time in the day for all the amazing things that can be experienced. Must figure out how to expand the concept of time to fit it all in. Wanting to share with you all the continued good times and amazing hospitality that I have received on the Southern leg of the California tour. And after sitting in the blazing car for six hours, driving to the Tempe, AZ burbs to meet up with Koleszar and see his mighty spray painted fortress (my room has stencil art on the walls), I am wondering if it is at all possible to dictate a blog entry to an application that can type it all out to post? While driving. Woah. That was a bit geeky on my part. Apologies, but I am sitting at the School of Spray Paint here in the urban sprawl.Â Thinking geeky thoughts. And thinking about Koleszar’s neighbors: cows and horses and cacti. Oh, and a scorpion or two….
So April 30 finds me saying goodbye Swiv Tackle and hello UC San Diego. I show up to find my very own parking space, reserved with my name on the sign. In all of my stencil geekdom, I think I have now achieved a level of uber-geek, thanks to my very own parking space.
I find Groundwork no problem and land into a group of energetic and active young college students there. Who have great books to look at and free pastries to munch on. The food coop next door closes and a group of workers there come to the presentation. Some artists are there too, one of which wanted us all to tag his skin with Sharpies (“You know you’re gonna soak up all the toxic ink, right?” “Sharpies say they aren’t toxic on the label.” “Yeah, right.”) Great crowd, even though they don’t get my sarcastic Swine Flu joke I told. And still a great crowd after the food coop people leave to see a friend snowboard on a hill of fake snow (sponsored by Red Bull), because I sold a pile of books at this stop. Best in a while. And the Groundwork crew hung out while I put up some stencils on their counter. And then I got invitations for dinner and invitations to check out UCSD’s Graff Hall. So humankind’s amazing capacity to host and be sweet and supportive continues on this tour. I think I love this experience more than anything (even stencils).
The Graff Hall is a stairwell of the UCSD Arts Building. Stencils are around this building too, so we wandered up the stairs hunting stencils. And found a bunch. I even found a cut stencil that said “Zeus,” which most likely fell out of an artists portfolio. Adding it to the Archives. Later, I found the Free School house no problem and met the great people there. While hanging out for my host Brian to show up, we watched/listened to YouTube (There’s a definite trend here). We watched a hilarious video as we waited. The guy speaking is supposedly in a dark closet on acid saying all this crazy, sometimes offensive stuff. I can deal with the offending bits because this guy goes into insane visions soon after. “No way!”
Great presentation tonight at Skylight Books on Vermont St. here in LA. Submit and Ripper1331 showed up, as did a few other local artists (if I surmise from some reactions I got from a few things in the presentation). My friend/hostess Christine Marie took some photos of the event, and was great for support, assistance, and yet another diner visit (this tour is turning into the Diner Orgy Tour). Several people in the audience had a pile of questions, so we spent a good deal of time discussing stencils and elaborating on my small bullets for the presentation. Getting our stencil geek on. woo hoo!
Back on the roads of Stencil Nation tomorrow. Hoping that pigs and birds aren’t allowed or sneezing on the bus down to LA! The tour has been OK so far. Crowds are a bit off it seems, and sales are low, but I am happy to be on the road. Arcata and Sacramento happened last week, to little fanfare. I’m not sure what happened, or if stencils are on the radar that much in that part of California. Only a small turnout in Davis. All enthusiastic people who waited a bit longer than usual before the presentation. I showed them photos of Stencilada at CELLspace to kill time. Only sold a few books. Had an isolated day in Davis the next day, and managed to find a few stencils around the college town. Got to upload pics to Stencil Archive, which was long overdue. Sacramento on Sunday was quite miserable. The highlight was finding what looks like a C215 stencil on a random building in midtown. Found a few more stencils near the book store in the Tower District. But the presentation was a wash! Had one person show up, and we waitied about 30 minutes for more people, killing time looking at a Peter Kuper Spy vs. Spy book and flipping through Stencil Nation. She left and I left soon after, getting stuck in traffic the whole way back to San Francisco. Last Wednesday at Booksmith on Haight St. was a good time. Had about 12 or 15 in attendance. Sold some books. Got to finally meet Eclairacuda Bandersnitch, the current queen of street work in SF. She said that the kissing girl stencils all over the Mission are by Banksy (he’s got a book out from PM here in the Bay Area so was in town). Who knew he painted sidewalks?
Spent Thursday at the SF Zero Graffiti Huddle in China Town. That was disturbing (will post my notes soon). I missed the SF Arts Comission presentation on thier upcoming Street Smart program (artists to paint murals on walls that have permission). CUBA was there, one of the godfather’s of SF spray art. We connected and I think it made both our days. Sunday was the presentationÂ and skillshare in Oakland. Another small crowd of about five people. Good news is that four of them stayed for the skillshare. The photos of our hanging out and making stencils are at the top of this post. When I showed up to Rock Paper Scissors, the exhibit on the walls was getting painted over and a zine jam was happening. I encouraged them all to hang out and keep working during my presentation. Loved the multiuse aspect of that small space. Ruby from Wisefool was there, dropping great history of stencils in the Bay Area and adding great comments durng the presentation. So, off to the southlands tomorrow. No idea where the next wifi connect will be. Oceanside and San Diego are the next stops. Then LA (tell all your friends!) and Tempe, AZ. Then back up to the Bay Area for about four more stops. I added up all the stops from this tour and the upcoming Middle America leg, and will have done over 50 stops by then. Not sure what else is in store after June. I DID say last June that this was the “year of the stencil” so am not quite sure what next year holds in store. Year of the swine flu? Hope not!!