Welcome to the new/updated site! The Archives and search function may look a bit different, but it is still the same good time. Since 2002, your old-school website for all things stencils. Please consider donating what you can to support the much-needed upgrade. Photo submissions always welcome. Enjoy and stay curious.
Took a break from the mundane Archive revisions to give the right arm a break. What better way to slow down a bit than to put some new images in a few artist archives like before. We also updated their archives while poking around.
Spinning: Sun Ra on vinyl, Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers on cassette.
The West Asian/Middle Eastern Archive is one of the more trickier sections of our collection. Some street stencils have controversial statements, and some artists have fled their countries for fear of government reprisals. One artist asked to have their whole archive taken down after authoritarian government intimidation, and others protesting strong-man leaders continue to run forever on this site. No matter what the troubles are, there is no denying that stencils continue to make useful tools for speaking out against oppression and making other free speech statements.
Bart Simpson cut a stencil. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" ends with a stencil on fire. Mad magazine inserted stencils into one of their 1967 reprint specials. In the 1972 film "Live at Pompeii," Pink Floyd's gear stencils became so famous, the Beastie Boys used their equipment to shoot a similar music video in 1992.
Since the beginning of the Stencil Archive project, we have posted stencils that appear in media. Media is a loose term for any stencils not found in the streets or galleries. Stencils show up in TV shows, movies, documentaries, animated and drawn cartoons, etc.. Come to think of it, possibly one of the most famous stencils from the 1970s, M*A*S*H, is not on here! We just added it.
The Stencils In Media archive update includes a few other new ones, mostly recent grabs of band gear stencils from the 1960s and 70s. We cannot post this without saying thanks to X-Sacto, who may be one of the only artists and contributors that has sent us screen grabs from various video media over the years.
2011 saw a wave of public stencil art across the world. Stencils go hand in hand with protests, where a can of spray paint and a cut-out stencil can be deemed a weapon if the police want to detain someone. We just updated the Africa Archive, where Egypt has the largest collection. We can thank the massive Arab Spring uprising, begun in 2011, for a wave of protest stencils in that North African country.
When Occupy Wall Street bubbled up in 2011, another wave of protest stencils rolled over the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the United States. Generally named Occupy Together, this stencil archive attempts to pull many of these photos together in one place.
Up next for our New Wave updates: Mexico, Argentina, and stencils found in media.
The ongoing Archive's older images check/revsision project continues around the edges of the larger-sized albums, and progress is being made. We have just completed the whole Asian Archive, which has around 250 images from this continent. Up next: back to the Americas, and then off to Africa.
While giving mural tours, we got to meet Eon75 at a few walls he was working on. He usually donned a tool belt with multiple paint pens, and had all kinds of straight edges to pull lines off of. Ehrman has recently found the stencil image for repeating patterns, and here is his Archive for the first time.
Over in NYC, Jaime Rojo from Brooklyn Street Art continues to snap great photos of stencil art on the walls back East. Here are a few he captured that feature the art of Martin Whatson. Deep respect to BSA for their tireless coverage of art in the streets!
In 2007, Adam Feibelman developed this educator guide pdf for SPARKed (SPARK in education) to use for K-12 visual arts discipline(s). This was early-enough in the street art wave, and the websites and book resources are telling with their lack of content on what was happening in the streets beyond graffiti. A quick search in the pdf for "street art" found no results, but Adam does a great job, mostly citing Tristan Manco's writing, pulling all this public art together to show how it creates a "vibrant contemporary art form." Adam even includes posters and printmaking in the mix. Stencil Archive is not mentioned as a resource, but that's fine since Josh MacPhee's Stencil Pirates is included. The digital version of this book is available to check out on archive.org, and Stencil Archive contributed an essay and photos to that project.
Posting up recently collected photos from two new artists with very different techniques and style. From the amazing cut paper art of Bianca Levan in San Francisco to the nostalgia horror stylings of Korye Champion's Art is Dead coming out of Wisconsin, Stencil Archive enjoys them all!
‘You are not your car’: At this parking garage, every space gets a pearl of wisdom Written by Astrid Kane Published Feb. 03, 2024 • 8:00am for the SF Standard
"You are one of the great lovers.” “Relax. You’re already there.” “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”
The messages—some uplifting, some cryptic—sound as though they could have been sealed inside a fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant. But they’re found in a place more closely associated with motor oil than chili oil.
Anyone who’s parked their car North Beach Garage at 735 Vallejo St. may have noticed that the spaces aren’t identified in the typical way, with rows of white numbers painted onto concrete. Instead, they’re labeled with warm wishes and practical advice.
The 20-year-old structure owned and managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has almost 200 spaces across five color-coded levels, each with a message that can sometimes sound like the advice that swims up from a Magic 8-Ball (“Keep your plans secret for now”) or the banal exuberance of a life coach (“No one can make you feel bad without your consent”).
As we leave the Americas Archive, here are more of Amanda's photos from Argentina. 92% of all the countries and artists in the Americas now have updated archives. Mexico is the only one left, and we are still trying to figure out the most efficient way to update the larger-sized archives. Argentina will also get one last update once that is figured out. Meanwhile, we will continue to work around the fringes of the Stencil Archive where smaller amounts are easier to update. Stay tuned!