Historical Item

Kilroy Was Here, a Story

Submitted by russell on Sun, 02/24/2008 - 17:37

Not a stencil story, but worth posting as a classic reminder of human's urge to get up:


In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program, "Speak to America," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the REAL Kilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article.

Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax, Massachusetts had evidence of his identity.

Kilroy was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war. He worked as a checker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. His job was to go around and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piecework and got paid by the rivet.

Kilroy would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice. When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would…

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Valencia Street Art Wall Archive Now Online

Submitted by russell on Wed, 01/30/2008 - 15:12

deappropriationproject.net, documenting years of street art on one Mission District wall, goes online.

For ten years now, the legal wall on Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District has hosted hundreds of pieces of art. Pasted posters represent the vast majority of the wall's art, but also includes anything from stenciled posters, stencils, stickers, and even children's drawings. Artists like Swoon, Shepard Fairey, SAW, members of Just Seeds, and many more have put up stencils on this wall over the years. I have been photographing this wall since I moved to San Francisco, and so has Bruce Tomb, the owner of the former Cop Shop that had the wall as its facade. Tomb has documented the wall at least once a… Read more

01/30/08: Public Meeting for Valencia St. Art Wall, SF, USA

Submitted by russell on Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:20

I have been photographing stencils and stencil posters on this wall for 10 years. This meeting is from Southern Exposure Gallery.

January 30, 2008 6:30 PM

As part of Bruce Tomb's project, the (de)Appropriation Project Archive, you are invited to a public meeting to discuss the wall at 1240 Valencia Street (btw 23rd and 24th Streets). This wall is privately owned, but its owner condones wheat pasting and graffiti on the wall's surface and has been documenting it for the past 10 years. Southern Exposure invites all to voice their thoughts around the (de)Appropriation Project Archive at a public meeting. Have you tagged the wall? Do you consider it an artwork? A nuisance? Does it build community? Degrade it? Come and share your thoughts with the community.

Fill out a…

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Grateful Dead "Steal Your Face" Logo First Stenciled

Submitted by russell on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 17:00

Photo, from WI in 1970, updated 2019 (thanks, r/gratefuldead)

Was reading an interesting article/interview about LSD pioneer chemist Owsley "the Bear" Stanley and hopped over to his site for further reading. In 1969, Stanley and artist Bob Thomas worked out the Grateful Dead logo to mark the band's equipment (here's his story). At first, it was just the three-colored lightening bolt, and was used as a stencil.

In the account, Stanley describes how it became a stencil:

"At the warehouse I told Bob the idea that I had, and he made a quick sketch. A mutual friend, Ernie Fischbach, who was visiting with…

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Save Tire Beach in SF!

Submitted by russell on Fri, 08/03/2007 - 15:32
From the Stencil Archive inbox:

Thought you might know some folks who would be interested to know about this weekend's planned whitewashing of graffiti at tire beach, aka toxic beach or "warm water cove." If people aren't familiar with the area, it's the park at the east end 24th at the bay. The walls adjacent to the park are covered with great graffiti--a testament to the area's long history as as a space for free, unrestricted public art. A few city sponsored groups are soliciting volunteers to "reclaim" the park from "graffiti vandals" who they say have targeted the park. This saturday the 4th, between 9am and noon, they plan to whitewash over the graffiti as part of efforts to make the area cleaner and safer. Safer for development, and for the inevitable mission bay-ing of the dogpatch, I guess.

This is a terrible idea. Tire beach is one of the most beautiful spots in the city, as-is, and one of sf's last bastions of… Read more

Resistencia Visual: Oaxaca Stencil (Video)

Submitted by russell on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 20:01

aki esta el link pa el video de fotos de stencil de oaxaca. saludos

Splasher Manifesto PDF Download

Submitted by russell on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 12:12
From the NY Times article:

Two days after Mr. Cooper’s arrest, a group of people showed up at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Chelsea, where a reception was being held for Mr. Fairey. Without identifying themselves, they distributed copies of a 16-page tabloid with the title “If we did it this is how it would’ve happened,” with a cover photograph of an image created by Mr. Fairey defaced with paint.

Inside were reproductions of the communiqués that were pasted next to the sites of many paint attacks and appeared to draw inspiration from the writings by the Situationists, a group of political and artistic agitators formed in the 1950s, and a 1960s anarchist group called Black Mask.

In often bombastic language those fliers condemned the commercialization of art and included statements saying that the wheat paste used to affix the fliers had been mixed with shards of glass. An essay in the paper given out at the gallery scoffed at those who had… Read more

Lost Graffiti Dissertation FOUND!

Submitted by russell on Fri, 06/15/2007 - 15:56
After being lost in an old mail folder, I finally found Steve Paynter's great dissertation "Subversion of Public Space." He gave me the paper in 2005, so I'm glad that I can put it up for you all to enjoy. Go here to download the PDF file, read, and discuss.

Apologies to Steve for waiting so long to post this. Read more

Taggers spread gang image

Submitted by russell on Tue, 10/24/2006 - 21:19

Here's an article about gang graff from my temporary home town:

Des Moines, other cities wrestle with rise in graffiti reports, costly cleanups

October 24, 2006

The writing is on the wall: Des Moines police expect 2006 to be a record year for graffiti.

Officers have fielded 942 graffiti reports this year. That compares with 740 last year, 441 reports in 2004 and 357 in 2003.

"We'll top 1,000 for the first time" this year, Detective Michael Stueckrath said.

Even more disturbing than the damage and the cost of cleaning it up, police say, is the source of the malicious art: street gangs, who are using the spray paint to send messages.

Gang-related graffiti was reported in at least nine locations on a single day last week.

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SRJC student arrested as prolific tagger

Submitted by russell on Mon, 10/09/2006 - 21:43

A Santa Rosa man suspected of being the prolific tagger "El Barto," whose widespread graffiti has caused about $100,000 in damage, was arrested Friday, police said.

xxxx, an 18-year-old Santa Rosa Junior College student, is suspected of several hundred graffiti incidents throughout Sonoma County and in other parts of the Bay Area during the past year, making him one of the region's most active vandals, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lisa Banayat said.

His tag has been prominent on freeway railings and overpasses, homes, commercial buildings, fences and signs.

"I even saw him once on Lombard in San Francisco," Banayat said.

After a monthlong investigation, xxxx was arrested at a first-floor, one-bedroom Ridgway Avenue apartment where he lived with his father, xxxx, across the street from the Santa Rosa City Schools District… Read more