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Stencil Archive at 20: Artist Weblinks Updated

Tip of the hat to Prez with Highlife magazine for contacting the Stencil Archive with a simple note, "many artists links are dead". After years of not wanting to grind through updating the artists weblinks, Peter's hope to use the links for a project greased the gears. 

Spending many hours this week reviewing and revising the Stencil Archive artists weblinks felt like a digital archeology dig. On the top layer of the work is the recent move to https for website links. There were also about half a dozen duplicate postings that got fixed. Dig a bit more, and some links need to be updated with personal info (RIP Michael Roman) or for typos. Under these layers things get more interesting.

Some artists have quit the art/stencil hustle and websites are gone. This entailed deleting the artist's weblink page completely (RIP Arofish). Some weblink pages date back to 2008, so myspace sites were gone, pages appeared abandoned, and some sites had not been updated to modern design standards (RIP Flash).

The biggest transition, and one the Stencil Archive has tried to avoid until now, is the move to linking to social media. Many artists have broken personal site links on their own social accounts, and some do not have personal sites at all anymore. As the Stencil Archive artists weblinks were vetted this week, it was apparent that Instagram now dominates as the main site that covers stencil art.

Towards the late 2010s, Insta links started being posted on this site when deemed necessary to share art to the Stencil Archive community. Now, during this week's massive update, Insta links are also included if the artist has a self-hosted site that is still live.

It was a matter of time before Instagram got added to the Stencil Archive weblinks, so expect to start seeing new weblinks posted for stencil and cut paper artists who have not been included due their only having a social media presence. You will probably need your own account to log in to these sites if you want to click through. Welcome to the "new" era!

Stencil Archive still does not like the privacy/labor/etc issues that corporate-run social media sites have, but the war is lost. Too many artists use these mainstream platforms to share their lives and art; we cannot push back from the tide any longer.

Lines are still drawn however at the shopping cart links, the linktree links, and the art gallery links. We are trying our best to keep things as personal as possible without direct merchandising sites.

Who knows, this may change in the future as the Internet continues to evolve and develop.