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.

Donate any amount.

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

Sunday 19 May Uploads

Once again, any tips on who is cranking out these stickers are appreciated.

Before diving into another big archive upgrade, here is a quick tour of some fresh images from here and there:

California, a prophet on the burning shore

Found in Hollywood (2004), the Eye of Providence looks over those who commute in Los Angeles.

The California Stencil Archive has been updated in addition to a batch of new uploaded images.

Clocking in at over 1,000 photographs, this state archive includes the sub-archives for Northern California, The San Francisco East Bay, and Los Angeles County/City. We have always tried to figure out a way to not confuse California (CA postal initial) with Canada (CA country code) and Los Angeles (LA abbreviation) with Louisiana (LA postal initial), so you will now see "CA East Bay" for the SF East Bay (there are other East Bays in the USA!), and "CA LA" for Los Angeles. CA will have to do for the state is large enough be a country and the country north of the US border. 

It took all week to update these folders, and some subfolders are gone with their images now added to the larger ones (a few North Cal. high schools are two). This is one of the largest updates so far, with a few large ones still looming (looking at you, Hamburg and Italy). Though tedious, it was a true pleasure to revisit these fun and amazing works.

Here is one more, from the East Bay (2020)


Haight Street, SF Archive Upated

A valentine on Divisadero Street.

The Stencil Archive for Haight and Divisadero Streets is updated. With around 800 images, spanning as far back as the late 1990s, this archive also includes Cole Valley and Duboce Park. Though many know about the Haight Ashbury name, locals break up Haight Street at Divis, which is where the hill to Upper Haight (Haight Ashbury), Ashbury Heights, and Cole Valley really begins. Below Divis is Lower Haight, where the bicycle Wiggle cuts through and goes past Duboce Park into the Upper Market, Castro, and Mission Districts. 

The Stencil Archive project began in earnest in 1997 after seeing covered sidewalks on Haight Street. Out of all the locations in San Francisco, only Valencia Street and the Mission District top Haight Street as the most concentrated and consistently painted parts of the City.

Along with this large update, SF's Other Locales archive also got a few new ones from North Beach today.

Xavi's Archive is Updated

Xavi's set of tools on-site at a wall in the Mission District.

Decided to update Xavi's Stencil Archive this morning after seeing his "Tetris House" in the media streams yesterday. Not sure if he and his crew used stencils and cut paper to paint this house, but it is always possible. Open to sharing knowledge and tools, Xavi has been an inspiration for what can be done with negative space. Not only does he work with obvious patterns, Xavi also works with angles, lines, and simple shapes to make wild backgrounds behind repeated applications that create even wilder front matter on his walls. It is fascinating to watch him at work. Stencil Archive has stopped by his walls whenever able, because Xavi always has interesting stories, great tips, and general good cheer for talking about dreams, art (including graffiti), stencils, murals, and the biz.

More San Francisco Archive Updates

This IBM stencil ad, sprayed all over the Financial District in 2001, is an early example of corporations getting legally dinged for tagging sidewalks and walls.

Had a bit of fun strolling down through history with the South of Market (SoMa) and Financial District archive while it was being updated. With banks, government buildings, the Israeli consulate, and other spots that demand to be spoken to, the streets have something to say in SF's "downtown". This archive also includes Union Square, Jackson Square, Market Street, and the Embarcadero, tony locations where tourists visit and consumerism rules. Sure, things are down around this part of SF, but it hasn't been down for the first time. And it may not make a difference with illegal works. Advertisements pop up along with protest stencils. Some artists roll through to get up in this part of town. And stickers tend to run on signs here, making it a decent, and somewhat surprising spot, to stare at some street art.

Tenderloin Stencil Archive Updated

Making a statement (ph Lynn Ray)

Believe what you want about the Tenderloin, and its surrounding neighborhoods, but know that this neighborhood is one of the most affordable parts of San Francisco. And it has many protected buildings that house all sorts of interesting people. Murals are on the walls now, but it was mostly graffiti, stencils, and posters up until galleries and organizations went large on the walls. 

The Tenderloin - Civic Center Stencil Archive is updated, and includes new images. Just so you all know, this archive also keeps images from Union Square, Polk Street, Van Ness Ave., and Mid-Market. I have walked through the TL many times (and gave tours through it for about five years), and though grim and sad at times, I have found stencils and interesting walls to look at.

Logan Hicks Flashback

Early 2000s Logan Hicks in Los Angeles

The past several weeks, Logan Hicks has been going through his personal image archives on social media, giving us an opportunity to get refreshed with his earlier works. He has also written great accounts of collabs, experiences, travels, and process. We even downloaded some missed pics, and took the opportunity to update Hicks' Stencil Archive. He hasn't gone back to the very beginning yet, but we have it all here from as far back as 2003!

Before he made a huge splash with his very large, photo-realistic architectural/street scene stencils, Hicks was cranking out sneaker images, portraits, and even a few sidewalk works. Some of Logan's first images here on Stencil Archive were credited to Workhorse in Los Angeles before contact was made and his personal archive was created. 

His fascination with patterns was there at the beginning: just look at his sneaker series from 2003. Hicks quickly began experimenting with buildings and street scenes back in 2003. The scaling up in size of his work soon followed, along with incredible depth and detail advancements.

Many people make photo-realistic stencils, but Logan Hicks pioneered the style, and cut it all by hand! When we met him in his Brooklyn apartment while working on the "Stencil Nation" book project around 2008, he reminded me that he was bleeding edge for this style of stencils since it was easy to forget this. There is no denying that Logan Hicks is the master of the multi-layered photo stencil style, and any chance to see his work live is worth the effort.

03 May: Fresh New Uploads

Paul Don Smith in Brick Lane, London (ph billywills)

Just your old-school stencil update for today. Music: more good ole' cassette tape bootlegs.

  • >NEW< PZY (UK) (thanks, billywills)
  • >NEW< Vale (FR) (thanks, billywills)
  • ELK (just one)
  • JPS (thanks, billywills)
  • Australia (just one: thanks, Everything4Everyone)
  • Greece (thanks, Everything4Everyone)
  • France (just one; thanks, Eva Reichmuth)
  • Switzerland (Archive Updated, one new one)
  • Spain (Free Palestine! Thanks, Amanda)
  • UK (thanks, billywills)