Last Saturday afternoon turned out to be hot and sunny, so I thought I’d have about 3 or 4 people attend the scheduled skillshare at Modern Times books here in the Mission. I had the table moved out into the store, thinking that I’d end up sitting alone, cutting out my own stencil, but I only got to make about five cuts. 10 people showed up (on time), tipped to the event by the SF Weekly listing, so they helped me move the table into the back area of the store. Then about 7 more people showed up, so I had the MT people set up two more tables to work on. Like a kindergarten class, we had to share pencils and Xacto knives, and MT gave me some cardboard for everyone to cut on. I had enough paper to go around, and one attendee cut up his piece of mylar to share.
I began with a 5-10 minute introduction about making a stencil. Several people had made stencils before, so I asked them to sit next to those who hadn’t made one. Some people showed up with no idea to draw and cut, so they went to the free papers, magazines, and info section of MT and cut images based upon photos and art that they found interesting. I spent the rest of the skillshare walking around, answering questions, and giving tips. Scott Williams showed up with a bag full of his stencil journals, so people took breaks to sit with him, ask questions, and flip through his art. He also brought cut out stencils, cutting mats, and a worn out Xacto knife to share. All of the supplies he offered were promptly utilized.
As folks finished their stencils, I pulled out my cans (not a great color selection, which was my bad) and we headed out to the sidewalk to spray the cut outs. Some worked, others didn’t, so notes were given to improve the cutting skills. Valencia St. was hopping in the heat and sun, so as we painted, people stopped to watch. That’s one of the rewarding things about art in the streets: having passersby stop, appreciate, and maybe even interact with you.
A few people ran out of time and couldn’t finish their stencils, while one person made a nice three color skydiver stencil. One woman cut and painted a great fem-feline stencil, while Linda cut her name out in Chinese and did a great multi-color job painting it. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to spend some time stencil geeking with Stencil Nation. Even if you just visited, or stayed briefly, your presence was appreciated. And much respect to Scott Williams for really dropping the stencil knowledge to all who attended. It was a joy to see folks show up late, and then sit with his books in intense observation of the negative space!