News Articles

Spray Cachet

Submitted by russell on Thu, 09/15/2005 - 17:57

The old art form of stencil art returns as street art, even if it's sometimes against the law
Monday, August 29, 2005
The Oregonian

Think stencil and you think of grade-school art projects. Or crafty kitchens with painted cutouts of leafy vines.

You probably don't think of someone on the sidewalk stenciling a guy's bare chest.

But on a recent summer evening, stencil workshop instructor Victor Nash is doing just that, at student Jay Davis' request.

"It's cold," Davis exclaims as the spray paint hits him. Well . . . yeah.

Stencils have come a long way in the U.S. since door-to-door salesmen sold stencils made of tin for home decor a century ago. Today, stencils are a growing art form, a sometimes-charming tool for personal expression -- and, increasingly, a vivid medium for political activism.

In some cases, it's also illegal.

Stencil art, which can be…

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The Right to Bear Cameras

Submitted by russell on Sun, 08/28/2005 - 21:35

Go to the blog post

Tonight Flickr pals Ropeboy, Aqui-Ali, Ranjit and I all went down to Oakland's warehouse district to shoot. No sooner had we begun than we were stopped and confronted by Sheriffs. They required each of us to turn over our IDs and then proceeded to detain us for about 20 minutes. Admitedly there is a small power plant and trains down in the district but ask yourself this, should carrying a camera result in this kind of harrasment? Should the police be able to randomly stop you and run your ID for warrants or a background check merely for being in the wrong place with a camera? There is a chill in the air in this country right now but I'm not sure that taking it out on the rights of photographers is the correct answer. We…

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Not easy being green

Submitted by russell on Thu, 07/28/2005 - 19:15
Sonic Reducer
By Kimberly Chun

THE SAD FACT of life is art and green cookies don't always mix. I realized this at this year's Mission Creek Music Festival at the Lab, where Aquarius Records stalwart, Wire scribe, and onetime Bay Guardian columnist Jim Haynes was tag-teaming on a lengthy piece with fellow Bay Area sound artist (ext.) from behind a bed sheet. Yellow and orange lights pulsed. Textured noise induced lapping waves of paranoia. Apocalypse Now village watering hole chatter morphed into what sounded like Mos Eisley Cantina bum fights. The foldout chairs became increasingly uncomfortable. Mission Creek founder Jeff Ray closed his eyes and appeared to be lightly dozing in the seat beside me. I probably resembled Marlon Brando emerging from the jungle, peepers rolling to the back of the head and jibbering about the horror, the horror of certain sonic frequencies and maybe the South Beach Diet.

I decided to sit out the rest of the war on… Read more

Zapatista Stencils...RED ALERT!

Submitted by russell on Wed, 06/22/2005 - 23:36
June 19, 2005

To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples of the World:

Brothers and Sisters:

Based on this, we are informing you:

First - That at this time the closure is being carried out of the Caracoles and the Good Government Offices which are located in the zapatista communities of Oventik, La Realidad, Morelia and Roberto Barrios, as well as all the headquarters of the authorities of the different Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities.

Second - That also being carried out is the evacuation of the members of the different Good Government Juntas and the autonomous authorities, in order to place them in shelter. Now, and for an indefinite time period, they will be carrying out their work in a clandestine and nomadic manner.… Read more

Stencil Segment on StreetLevel TV, Screening May 1 in San Francisco

Submitted by russell on Mon, 04/25/2005 - 15:55

Mia Rovegno brings you a piece on stencil warriors Josh MacPhee and Russell H., including a guided tour through the City, rich with a history of public archives

In an age where even the Democrats are pulling out all the stops to create new MTV-like "fadical" broadcast networks, truly independent media is still struggling to keep the attention focused on the real issues.

Come join SLTV for a night of some truly grassroots community media!! This Sunday, May 1st, 8pm at ATA
ATA is located at 992 Valencia St at 21st

This month on SLTV

Sunny Angulo brings you the news from around the world and around the block in your local neighborhood

Lisa Sousa brings you a blunt interview with Aiden Delgado, a concientious objector recently discharged from the Army after serving in Iraq and at the infamous Abu-Ghraib prison; he talks about the realities of war and military recruiting in schools


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Vandalism or Art? Part II in the SF Chronicle

Submitted by russell on Tue, 03/08/2005 - 15:13

The public space belongs to everyone and no one. Caught in the middle are those who treasure public art and those who would paint over it.

Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

When she first appeared, on a wall in San Francisco's Mission District, the woman smiled in sunny contentment as she patted a fresh tortilla in her hands. A large, skillfully shaded water pitcher stood nearby and beyond, an airy Mexican mountainscape stretched down the block. Today her smile looks pale and wan. Graffiti taggers have had their way with this mural at the corner of 24th and Florida streets. They've inscribed the white tortilla with their signatures and marched over the landscape with their spray cans. The mural itself, meanwhile, has faded, as if it were sinking back into the surface under the pressure of these multiple assaults.

Most viewers would likely agree that this is a sorry and degraded sight. Vandalism…

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Vandalism or Art? Part I in the SF Chronicle

Submitted by russell on Mon, 03/07/2005 - 23:19

The urge to express oneself by writing on a blank wall is as old and primal as cave painting. But one tagger's colorful imagery is another person's ugly scrawl. One thing is certain: Graffiti's not going away.

Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic

Monday, March 7, 2005

The boxy white truck chuffed up 18th Street and pulled over near the intersection at South Van Ness. Four Department of Public Works employees, clad in white jumpsuits and bright orange vests, got out, opened the back door and pulled out their supplies. With rollers and buckets of Mail Box Blue, Feather Gray and Navajo White, the crew set to work painting out a swarm of spray-can signatures, insignias, pictures and slogans. The first thing they covered was this waggish line on a stucco wall: "fresh out of college and I turn to a life of vandalism."

The graffiti, which on first glance seemed apparent only on the broad surfaces of buildings and mail…

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LEGAL: Group of graffitists can be called gang

Submitted by russell on Tue, 08/10/2004 - 14:58

Bob Egelko, SF Chronicle

Three or more people who get together to deface a community with graffiti can be prosecuted and punished as gang members, even if they never damage anything but a building, a state appeals court has ruled.

California's anti-gang law, which provides additional punishment and registration requirements for perpetrators of gang-related crimes, applies to felony vandalism as well as violent crimes, the Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled Wednesday

The law covers "an array of crimes, both violent and nonviolent, that could terrorize a community when committed as part of a pattern by an organized group,'' Justice Patricia Sepulveda said in the 3-0 ruling.

"Vandalism is not a victimless crime,'' she said, citing the millions of dollars spent by San Francisco annually to remove graffiti.

The court reinstated gang charges against eight people indicted by a San Francisco grand jury for…

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Where Wombats Roved, and Aborigines Sketched

Submitted by russell on Sat, 08/07/2004 - 00:48

By Jane Perlez, New York Times
Dateline: SYDNEY, Australia

In a cave in rugged wilderness not far from the luxurious country resorts of this city's well-to-do, a leading anthropologist has found an unusually rare and pristine cache of ancient Aboriginal rock art.

In all, 11 layers of images of Australian animals ‚ kangaroos, wombats and monitor lizards, which Australians call goannas ‚  as well as drawings of boomerangs and half-human, half-animal creatures are scattered across the back wall of the cave in a giant mural.

The more than 200 images ‚ in faint reds and yellows, stark white and black ‚ stretch from 4,000 years ago to the late 18th century when white settlers first ventured onto Australian soil, said Paul S. C. Tacon, the chief research scientist in anthropology at the Australian Museum, who visited the site with Aboriginal consultants in May.

"I have been to thousands of places with rock art and only a…

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Lawbreakers, Armed With Paint and Paste

Submitted by russell on Sat, 08/07/2004 - 00:40

By Kirk Semple, New York Times
Published: July 9, 2004

Swoon frontloads her days with caffeine and works on her art late into the night. It can take her two weeks to produce a series of the large, intricate paper cutouts and hand-pulled block prints that have gained her considerable renown in one particular sector of the art world. When she is done - her arms aching and her clothes and skin speckled with paint and ink - she takes her pieces outside, slaps them up on old walls around the city, then disappears on her bike.

That is when her work, now left to the mercy of the elements and public taste, comes alive. "You know, it's weird, but I love it," she said. "I don't feel they need to be kept in a vault as precious art."

Swoon, 26, is a luminary in a movement known, at least among many of its proponents, as street art. Two decades after the heyday of graffiti, the spray can has given way to posters, stickers, stencils…

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