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A 2004 Interview with Klutch

The Stencil Archive just found out that Russell "Klutch" Short passed away on June 8, 2023. This led us to doing a quick search on the site for some of his contributions to the art world, this site, and to stencil culture, art, and fandom. This Stencil Archive interview with Klutch (here is his stencil archive) is from 2004, soon after the amazing Vinyl Killers 2 exhibit (here is the stencil archive for VK1). This post needed a bit of revision, but Klutch's humor, opinions, and love for making and living art still shine through. His thoughts and words needed no revision! Rest In Paint, Russell Short.

K: I was born in Oklahoma and raised by hippie parents. I lost my mom when I was 12. This really affected me, so losing her early in my life has made me focus on living in the moment. After she was gone my dad told me I could do anything I wanted, but that I was also responsible when I fucked up. He wouldn’t be there to bail me out. I still did some crazy shit growing up but knew it was all my ass if I got caught. This sense of urgency about not wasting a single day, self reliance, and a complete lack of respect for all authority figures has shaped my whole life.

My “live for now” attitude has twice led to me leaving secure and lucrative careers to do what I want with my life. First, I left a job in the early 1980’s for skating and hardcore. I left another job three years ago to get out of the rat race and spend more time doing art and playing in the mountains. Money can be a very empty reward when you aren’t doing what makes you happy.

Cut a Stencil out of Department Store Clothes Boxes

I was searching for card stock at home today and was having trouble finding anything sufficent. I was digging through my walk in closet and found clothes boxes.  Like the ones JCPennys wraps clothes in at Christmas time. Ha, so anyway I created some sick stencils just using that. If you unhinge the corners and flip em up they act as a cool "tray" and catches unwanted paint from transfering.... I don't know if that really helps but it's one of those items lying around the house that kids could easily access. 


Stencil Art: A Revolutionary Meme

This essay was originally written for Josh MacPhee's Stencil Pirates book. Parts of the text were used in the book's final run, but here it is in its entirety. Note: this is in no way a comprehensive history of stencil art. Hopefully it is the beginning of the artform's history.

"We need to learn how to spread the vision of liberation and life everywhere in humble, small, invisible ways. Like grass slowly growing up through the cracks in the concrete, perhaps our counterinformation can eventually sneak up on the mighty machine and topple it."
- PB Floyd, Slingshot, Summer 2003

Books about Stencils from 1986 to 2004

Pre- and Early Street Art Books about Stencils

Paris Graffiti; James Huber; Thames and Hudson, publisher, 1986.

Pochoir a la Une; Solange Pierson, Kriki, et al; Editions Paralleles, publisher, 1986.

Soho Walls; David Robinson; Thames and Hudson, publisher, 1990.

Pound the Pavement (zine series); Josh MacPhee (with Nicolas Lampert and Colin Matthes), Just Seeds, publisher, 2000-2008.

Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall; Banksy; Weapons of Mass Distraction, publisher, 2001.

Existencilism; Banksy; Weapons of Mass Distraction, publisher, 2002.

Stencil Graffiti; Tristan Manco; Thames and Hudson, publisher, 2002.

Stencil Pirates; Josh MacPhee; Soft Skull Press, publisher, 2004.

Cut it Out; Banksy; Weapons of Mass Distraction, publisher, 2004.

Stencil Project - Paris 2004 (with DVD); Collectif; CRITERES, publisher, 2004.

The Materials

Another classic by Stencil Pirates author Josh MacPhee


Stenciling is the poor persons' printmaking. It is the easiest and cheapest way to print the same image over and over on different surfaces and in different places. To start off, the three most important things for making a stencil are an idea, something to cut with, and something to cut the stencil out of. I can't help with the idea part, but you shouldn't feel like you have to be an artist to do this. One of the great things about stencils is that since each print looks the same and consists of only a positive and negative, it makes almost all designs look really sharp and good.