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.

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Other ways to support this site (beyond submitting pics, videos, exhibit info, etc.):

An Artists Interlude

Brent Houzenga cut out.

While updating full archives can take hours, new uploads continue to roll out in the other areas where things are new wave. This weekend, we have added to the new:

  • >NEW< Brent Houzenga (New Orleans)... thanks for tip off, Jeremy Novy
  • Praxis (thanks to Brooklyn Street Art)
  • fnnch still knocking out the honey bears
  • and NYC for good measure (gracias, BSA)

Westside SF Archive Updated


The Stencil Archive for the Sunset and Richmond Districts, along with Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park, has been updated. A fair amount of images were pulled from the Other Locales archive into the Westside SF collection, especially the ones snapped in Golden Gate Park. Some Geary Blvd. images are in this archive as well, because Geary Blvd. runs through many neighborhoods all the way to the western edge of the City in the Richmond District. For non-locals, San Franciscans call the northern district above GG Park The Richmond to not confuse it with the city of Richmond in East Bay. You will still overhear people ask "THE Richmond?" during conversations, so it stays as confusing as South City (the city of South San Francisco) and the Southern part of the City (San Francisco)! 

The Ever-Changing Other Archive

Know who is making these stickers in San Francisco? Please share!

The newly-updated Other San Francisco Locales archive has been a catch-all for the neighborhoods that do not have enough image files to get their own archive. Or perhaps these neighborhoods are distinct and spread outside the other archives that have developed over the years. Fort Mason, the Marina, Chinatown, North Beach - all are included in the Other archive.

Over the years, some images end up getting moved, like they did during this update. Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach eventually moved to the Sunset and Richmond Districts archive, because it makes sense geographically. Many images moved to the Western Addition archive after the logical path that that archive should encompass USF, Lone Mountain, NoPa, etc.

The Other archive also includes photos from San Francisco that may not have a specific location attached. Where exactly was that String Cheese Incident road case stencil photo taken? The 1997 David Solnit poster was photographed somewhere in SF, and ended up in the Other section. 

As the Stencil Archive project continues to develop, some new main archives may get pulled out of the Other section. After writing this post, it may be time soon for North Beach, Chinatown, and Fishermans Wharf to get a new archive. We'll put this down on the future to-do list.

Stencil Archive HQ, Represent

A local nickname for the upper class Pacific Heights neighborhood in SF.

The Stencil Archive project has been in San Francisco since the beginning. The streets of this city were filled with stencils in the mid-1990s, making fertile ground for collecting photographs, making stencils, and sharing it all through words, walks, and other ways of expression. The main section of the City that holds the most stencil history is the Mission District. Haight Street (the locals break this down to Upper and Lower Haight, while tourists know Upper Haight as the Haight Ashbury) comes in second. Makes sense that Stencil Archive was first thought up and created in the Mission District.

Since around 2012, Stencil Archive HQ has been in the Western Addition, a large swath of San Francisco that has smaller neighborhood names. First we were up in NoPa, a newer name for North of the Panhandle. Then we moved down the hill a bit to Divisadero Street, a main shopping corridor for this part of the City. Now, we are in Japantown, just off Fillmore Street and below Pacific Heights. Haight Street is also part of the Western Addition, but the Stencil Archives have been split up a bit due to the volume of images from Haight and Divis.

Finally(!), we have upgraded one of the geographic stencil archives for San Francisco, beginning with a smaller one for the Western Addition. This archive also includes images from Lone Mountain, USF, the Panhandle, as well as Pacific Heights, Fillmore District (and Street), Japantown, and maybe a few other nooks of this section of San Francisco.

We hope to focus on a few more manageably-sized SF archives this week, so keep an eye out for fresh images and filenames that explain more about what you may be looking at.

You Still Have Made a Choice

From the YYZed to your beauty eyes...

The Canadian Stencil Archive, and supporting Canadian artists archives, were on the update list about 6-8 weeks ago, but things took a turn towards focusing on archives that needed fresh new image(s) upload. While we'll focus on another much-needed archive upload this weekend, the Canadian archives got worked through over the week. Sadly, there are only a few new uploads here/there coming from the Great White North, and our travels have not sent us that way in a while. Would love to see that change in the near future!

Mississippi Travels - Artist Uploads

Positive vibes in New Orleans, thanks to CeeDaMessenger

Prior to uplading the new work, the Stencil Archive subfolders were updated. Tennessee's archive had quite a bit of photos from about 20 years ago up to the present, and two artists' work were pulled into new archives. A 2008 Banksy piece in New Orleans was missed back then, and found thanks to the exterior wall holding that piece now being inside a business, protected by a fence. Banksy Hates Me finally gets a new archive thanks to catching about three works in New Orleans. 

Keep wandering and discovering out there!

About that Total Eclipse

Poplar Bluff, MO: with an eclipse in totality and one happy stencil.

The trip idea started while reading a book about Cahokia, a World Heritage Site just outside of St. Louis, MO. The idea became a spring break trip, which happened to be the same week as the last North American total eclipse for a few decades. Add some big easy New Orleans to the trip, and it was a Mississippi River fun time. 

Part one of the photos snapped on this roadtrip are by artists and painters unknown. You know who you are!

Austria Update is Here

Smoking kills, snapped in Vienna by BeneRegoef

We were not planning on updating the Austrian Stencil Archive at this time, but we did after getting inspired by an email submission from a dear friend in Graz, AT. He sent one he snapped, and a few others from BeneRegoef, who immediately got followed on the social streams. Now that Reddit has decided to not allow images to be saved off of their site, X/Twitter remains one of the last socials standing where images are had. Part of this site's updating phase is to try to add photo credit as much as possible, as you will see clicking through and enjoying the small but enjoyable Austrian archive.

Cashing in on Mainstreaming of Street Art

By Isabella Kwai
New York Times

Isabella Kwai spoke to street artists, developers and real estate advisers from several cities for this article. 

Julian Phethean’s first canvas in London was a shed in his backyard where he covered the walls with bold lettering in spray paint. When he moved his art to the city’s streets in the 1980s, it was largely unwelcome — and he was even arrested a few times. 

“We had nowhere to practice,” he said. “It was just seen as vandalism.” 

These days, the canvases come to Mr. Phethean, better known as the muralist Mr Cenz. Recent facades, which he shares with his sizable following, have included an abstract mural on a Tesla showroom and a portrait of Biggie Smalls, sponsored by Pepsi Max. 

“I never would have envisioned that I’d be able to do it for a living,” he said. 

Landlords wanting to attract young professionals once scrubbed off the rebellious scrawls. That was before graffiti moved from countercultural to mainstream. Now building owners are willing to pay for it. 

From Berlin to London to Miami, the wider acceptance of graffiti has attracted developers looking to expand into trendy areas, companies wanting to relocate to hipper neighborhoods and brands seeking creative ways to advertise their products. 

A New (York) Coat of Paint

This 2006 stencil sums up the NYC scene.

The largest new wave stencil archive to date - New York City, with a bit of NY state thrown in - is complete, with about a dozen new images added at the end of the tedious updating.

I have wandered the streets many times in New York City and can never get enough of what is going on. Sure, things have changed over the decades, and I have found less-interesting stencils during my more recent perambulations. I'm a bit confused when I visit Williamsburg, where ruins by the river used to be full of all kinds of street art. Now there are shiny tall buildings with amazing views. Things change, especially in NYC.

But, during my last, very short trip to NYC, I found stencils. And I have to once again mention that Jaime Rojo keeps discovering interesting works while he snaps up all things fun for Brooklyn Street Art. Deep respect to him, and to the folks that keep putting up stencils in the streets over in the Big Apple.

I'll always return, and I'll always keep up the stencil hunt.