Andy Blue from the League of Pissed Off Voters called me up yesterday to see if I had any plans last night. None, really. So he told me to stop by Pirate Cat Radio/Cafe before 7pm to sit on a panel and discuss graffiti on the League’s weekly show. All worked out nicely, so I met up with Reyes, Cuba, Chris (who co-created the new local books with Steve Rotman), Eddie, and Eclairacuda to have a one-hour talk about what’s going on in SF with graffiti and street art. The talk mostly discussed spray graffiti, so it was great to hear Chris, Cuba, and Reyes talk about what’s going on in their world. Chris has great thoughts and concepts about what’s happening. Eddie and I got to throw in some angles too. And the writers, including the always entertaining Eclair, kept things real throughout.
You can hear the discussion here. Make sure you scroll half way through the two-hour show to get to the graffiti talk.
Thanks to Andy Blue, a fan and grey-area participant of the scene, for pulling us together in what may become an ongoing dialog about the City’s Zero Graffiti stance, and how absurd that goal truly is.
While getting in touch recently, I asked Adam5100 if he’d like to paint his amazing, 6-foot-long hand stencil at CELLspace. His reply: “as long as the hands are coming out from under the building.” No problem. So we made plans to do it this morning around 10am. That ended up being about 11:30am but timing didn’t matter. Adam showed up with his stencils in a roll, I opened up CELL to use the gallery as a staging area, and we went to work sweeping the sidewalk and then putting up the stencils. While Adam rolled the black layer, I had to pick up the leaves and trash that kept blowing into the paint. We were talking about how hard it is to be an artist right now, especially on the “nickel and dime” level as Adam put it. But, during these hard times, those of us used to starving are knocking out amazing works and deeds. Adam was well into the second hand (make the right hand by simply flipping the stencil over) when CUBA stopped by to talk about painting murals on the Florida St. side of CELL.
Back on the roads of Stencil Nation tomorrow. Hoping that pigs and birds aren’t allowed or sneezing on the bus down to LA! The tour has been OK so far. Crowds are a bit off it seems, and sales are low, but I am happy to be on the road. Arcata and Sacramento happened last week, to little fanfare. I’m not sure what happened, or if stencils are on the radar that much in that part of California. Only a small turnout in Davis. All enthusiastic people who waited a bit longer than usual before the presentation. I showed them photos of Stencilada at CELLspace to kill time. Only sold a few books. Had an isolated day in Davis the next day, and managed to find a few stencils around the college town. Got to upload pics to Stencil Archive, which was long overdue. Sacramento on Sunday was quite miserable. The highlight was finding what looks like a C215 stencil on a random building in midtown. Found a few more stencils near the book store in the Tower District. But the presentation was a wash! Had one person show up, and we waitied about 30 minutes for more people, killing time looking at a Peter Kuper Spy vs. Spy book and flipping through Stencil Nation. She left and I left soon after, getting stuck in traffic the whole way back to San Francisco. Last Wednesday at Booksmith on Haight St. was a good time. Had about 12 or 15 in attendance. Sold some books. Got to finally meet Eclairacuda Bandersnitch, the current queen of street work in SF. She said that the kissing girl stencils all over the Mission are by Banksy (he’s got a book out from PM here in the Bay Area so was in town). Who knew he painted sidewalks?
Spent Thursday at the SF Zero Graffiti Huddle in China Town. That was disturbing (will post my notes soon). I missed the SF Arts Comission presentation on thier upcoming Street Smart program (artists to paint murals on walls that have permission). CUBA was there, one of the godfather’s of SF spray art. We connected and I think it made both our days. Sunday was the presentation and skillshare in Oakland. Another small crowd of about five people. Good news is that four of them stayed for the skillshare. The photos of our hanging out and making stencils are at the top of this post. When I showed up to Rock Paper Scissors, the exhibit on the walls was getting painted over and a zine jam was happening. I encouraged them all to hang out and keep working during my presentation. Loved the multiuse aspect of that small space. Ruby from Wisefool was there, dropping great history of stencils in the Bay Area and adding great comments durng the presentation. So, off to the southlands tomorrow. No idea where the next wifi connect will be. Oceanside and San Diego are the next stops. Then LA (tell all your friends!) and Tempe, AZ. Then back up to the Bay Area for about four more stops. I added up all the stops from this tour and the upcoming Middle America leg, and will have done over 50 stops by then. Not sure what else is in store after June. I DID say last June that this was the “year of the stencil” so am not quite sure what next year holds in store. Year of the swine flu? Hope not!!