Posts Tagged ‘Stencil Nation’

For the past year, I have been scaling back my online presence. This includes deleting email addresses, unsubscribing to lists, ending social site profiles, and now – taking down StencilNation.org. Since the site went live in 2008 after the Manic D Press book was released, it stood as the site least updated (Stencil Archive is always first).

Antonio Gomez did an awesome job with the Flash animation, which was standard back then. Now the standard is anything that works on an iPhone or iPad (HTML5, CSS, Java), which is NOT Flash. I never had a static version of the site that mobile devices could default to, and I didn’t want to update the site here in 2014. I still see Flash sites but they don’t work on phones, which is what everyone uses now.

The book is now out of print. It had four successful printings and Manic D’s Jen Joseph always has good things to say about the book. I haven’t sold a copy via the site in months. I may have sold ONE copy last year when I sent someone to the site.

I still have copies left for sale! 

The address stencilnation.org now redirects to the mothership Stencil Archive. You can still buy a book via PayPal on the Stencil Archive site. You can also buy a copy via this site.

At some point I may put the Flash site back up on this site for archival fun, much like I do for the 2004 version of happyfeettravels.org. For now, I am keeping it simple. One less site to pay for, worry about, and update.

Stencil Nation on Cross Currents (2009)
(Click link to access player)

I’m in the process of saying farewell to StencilNation.org. The book is officially out of print and the website was designed (by Antonio Gomez) in the heady days when Adobe Flash was du jour. With the rise of mobile phones and HTML5 (and the whole responsive site mania), it is time to retire the Stencil Nation site and redirect to Stencil Archive (the mothership).

While backing up Stencil Nation one last time, I saw a random mp3 file on the top level of the site’s backend. I clicked listen and it was a Cross Currents interview I did while on the book tour. It was a great experience and it actually riled up a listener who felt that all public art was vandalism. Fun!

I guess I was worried about taking up too much memory back then. Good thing the cloud revolution caught up and now memory is practically infinite. The interview mp3 is on this site’s cloud, and WordPress even allows super easy linking via its “Add Media” button.

Here’s my original post about the interview:

Had a great bike ride over to the KALW studio near McClearen Park this morning and interviewed with Penny Nelson for Cross Currents. The engineer, a bike commuter, told me another route that sent me through the park and then down Mission St. in the Excelsior District. Found some stencils along that ride home! They posted the show early so here’s the goods. Fast forward in about 3 and a half minutes to hear my segment. About 10 minutes long total.

In the Facebook worlds, posting all this stuff is instant, and friends find things and post them. I take the trouble to pull things off of there for the Stencil Archive, my own archives, etc. and then maybe, just maybe, post it on here. I forget that some friends don’t do Facebook! And I have to remind myself that this blog belongs to me, as opposed to a multi-billion dollar corporation that is currently dot com booming the Bay Area. This site is also a great, long archive of my life here in San Francisco.

So back in late January, Regan Ha-Ha Tamanui stopped over on his way back to New Zealand and Australia. He’d been traveling the world for a year, but got stuck in Berlin for eight months. How unlucky. I got him four walls here in SF, and he took my photo after a day of wandering around the Tenderloin looking at street art. He cut a stencil portrait out of that photo, as well as the photo he took of my friend Monica that evening in Hayes Valley.

Icy and Sot, expats from Iran who now live in Brooklyn (leave Iran to have a street art show, go back to Iran and get arrested for satanism) were driving through. They all took my tour and I got them two walls to paint on. Regan collaborated with them. Icy and Sot came back to SF for an art show at a Noise Pop concert. I missed it (always seem to miss the good art shows!).

Here are photos from early Feb, with the stencil portraits thrown in.

S.F. NEIGHBORHOODS Graffiti marring much of city’s street art – vandalism on the rise
Matthai Kuruvila
Published 4:54 pm, Thursday, December 27, 2012


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/SF-murals-become-targets-for-vandals-4150191.php#ixzz2GeFBUSjw

Muralists around San Francisco say that they’ve seen an increase in vandalism of murals by taggers, who are defacing the art with their monikers.
Vandals have wrecked murals from North Beach to the Tenderloin. In the city’s liveliest mural zone, the Mission District, muralists say it’s been particularly bad. Street paintings made in months have been ravaged in seconds.

“There’s been a very specific mural destruction going on,” said Russell Howze, a muralist and author who does street art tours of the Mission District. “There’s really no logic. I don’t know if there’s any organization or conspiracy behind it. More than anything, these murals are well-loved and huge amounts of time have gone into them.”

Vandals this year have defaced parts of the Mission District’s Clarion Alley, a 20-year-old street museum of murals. “Gold Mountain,” a North Beach mural depicting Chinese history, had to be repainted when the building owners couldn’t keep it free of graffiti.

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The Mission District: San Francisco’s Street Art

16 December 2012
Hanna Wolf
From the Fair Observer (link here)

Street Art – The Fun Loving Criminals?
For many decades, street artists have made San Francisco’s Mission District one of the most colourful and fascinating places to see [7], mirroring the city’s vibrant multiculturalism and diversity.

We are walking through some of the stinkiest alleys in San Francisco, yet still tourists from all over the world come here to take pictures and admire the street art gallery surrounding them. Whether huge murals, stickers on the floor or graffiti: art is all around in this area of the city.

Our tour guide Russell Howze, who offers street art tours through the Mission District, has been walking through these alleys for 15 years, and still he discovers new pieces. “Once you train your eyes, it’s everywhere” is what he tells us as he points at a street light covered with almost torn off stickers and scribbled words, which would normally never catch someone’s eyes as art.

The Higher, the Better

Walking through Mission and Valencia Street we come across walls with both illegal and legal graffiti, stencils and other street art styles. Comics as well as posters and abstract pieces look down on us from the left as we try to read a graffiti on the right. Unlike in European metropolises, in San Francisco trains are no major hotspots for graffiti. The sprayers here prefer trucks instead and almost every truck we pass during the tour wears at least a small graffiti tag.

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Original Article Here.

Russell Howze has been enthralled with the street art of San Francisco for decades. He can instantly recognize the work of the city’s most prominent graffiti artists, and knows which Mission District alleys house the most memorable pieces. Howze, a stencil artist himself, maintains a website dedicated to street art, and has written a book on the subject.

As a general rule, graffiti doesn’t pay; Howze is driven by his love of the art form, not by profits. But with the help of a new startup called Vayable, he’s beginning to turn his passion into a career as a tour guide, helping travelers discover the hidden artworks on city buildings and sidewalks. “It’s starting to pay a lot of the bills,” he says. As his reputation grows, he hopes he may be able to turn his street art curator side gig into a full-time job.

Vayable is an online platform that helps travelers find new experiences led by local guides. “The company was born out of my own experiences as a traveler,” says founder and CEO, Jamie Wong. “I love going off the beaten path when I travel, and friends started asking me to create experiences for them to replicate my trips. I built the company to expand beyond my own experiences, and help everyone find that sense of cross-cultural exploration.”

Vayable launched with 70 guides in April 2011, and customers began booking experiences within the first hour of going live. Since then, the company’s been growing at a rate of 30 percent each week.

In San Francisco, Howze’s three-hour street art tour of the Mission District is a top seller; other popular experiences in the region include a sommelier-guided tour of Northern California wineries; a fishing excursion in the San Francisco Bay; and a guided biking tour through the city.

The concept marks a sea change from the traditional tourism industry, which is dominated by large companies that stick to tried-and-true tourist attractions. Vayable is dedicated to giving its users choices in how they want to experience an area, encouraging them to follow their own passions in planning a trip.

Though some guides had been offering professional tours independently prior to working with Vayable, many are new to the field. “Many of our guides are everyday people with access to special knowledge, or a community or space. We’re giving anybody the tools to build and curate an experience out of their interests or passions,” says Wong.

Vayable allows guides to set the prices for their tours, collecting a 15% commission on confirmed bookings. “Many of the guides are supplementing their income in really significant ways,” says Wong. “They love the flexibility. They can have a day job and then follow their passion when they’re not at work and supplement their income through Vayable, to help them pay the bills or afford a trip.”

The company is now offering experiences in over 600 cities on six continents, and growing every day. “With technology, there’s a whole new way to connect,” says Wong. “We’re using these online connections to power offline interactions, and to help travelers and locals alike find meaningful ways to connect with new communities.”

During my 2008/9 Stencil Nation book tour, I set up an event with Matteo Grieder at his art space Zeitvertrieb in Vienna, Austria. Matteo was nervous about the turnout (a common anxiety during my European tour), but I had Pod and Austrian artist Dieter Puntigam backing me up with live VJ and DJing. A nice crowd came for my presentation, bought books, ate and drank, and made a great scene for the event. Matteo was surprised and happy with the results.

A month ago, Matteo approached me with a request for photo submissions to his fun art zine “Artyfucked”. It is mostly a sketch zine, but he also features street art from cities around the world. Issue #8 features my stencil photos (the cream of the crop) from SF. They mostly cover 2011’s greatest hits. He also put them all in an online album.

Support a great project and buy a copy of “Artyfucked” today!

Blek le Rat, the “godfather” of stencil graffiti commemorates 30 years creating art on the streets with the launch of new retrospective from Art Publishing, Ltd.

http://www.artpublishingltd.com/new/

http://www.artpublishingltd.com/bleklerat.html

This retrospective features the artist’s private family photos, point and shoot images of his graffiti artwork from around the world, and full-color reproductions of his gallery pieces. The book is separated into two distinct sections: “Street Art” and “Fine Art,” both of which are augmented by the writing of celebrated scholars, critics, experts in relevant fields, fellow artists, journalists, collectors and gallerists. Lavishly illustrated with more than 200 images, “Blek le Rat,” the 30 year anniversary retrospective offers the first full history of this seminal artist’s tradition and legacy, featuring:
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Come Wander With Me!

Author: Russell

SF Weekly Promotes My Tour

Author: Russell

Original blog post here.

Graffiti Guru Offers Street Art Tours

Howzegraffiti1.jpg

art by Get Up, Upper Haight St.

​No matter how cool you are, there’s still a pretty good chance that the only thing you know about street art is sometimes you come across it, and sometimes it’s amazing. Who did it? What’s behind it? Where can you see more? Who knows?

We do. Or, we know who knows: stencil artist Russell Howze. He’s the author of Stencil Nation, and he offers a three-hour, small-group tour called Scout for Street Art. Howze just started giving these tours two weeks ago, and promises to provide “expert explanations, stories, and background for most of the art that constantly changes on the streets.” And he’s not joking about the “expert” part.

RusellHowzebiopic.jpg
Russell Howze

​Howze has dedicated his life to street art, especially stencils, and he knows a lot about the S.F. street art scene. “I have this particular affinity for San Francisco street art,” Howze says, “especially Mission district — there’s something really special and magical about it.”

Originally from Greenville, S.C., Howze has lived in San Francisco since 1997. Since he saw his first stencil in 1990 in Clemson, S.C., Howze has been photographing the public art in places around the world. In 2002 he created an online stencil archive, which features tens of thousands of photos of stencils. Stencil Nation, published in 2008, is the paperback extension of his site, documenting 350 artists in 28 countries.

Howze does not have a fixed schedule for his tour — you can just sign up by yourself or in a group ($37) per person and state your preferred times. The tour is run through Vayable, a company that draws on locals to give their own tours. Anyone can sign up to offer a tour, and Vayable acts as the conduit, handling bookings and payments. Vayable operates worldwide, and as one might expect, it offers numerous S.F. tours, including horseback riding on Ocean Beach, a used bookstore crawl, and a potentially perilous “Whiskey on Wheels” tour.

Vayable hosts a mixer called “A Vayable Idea” on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Galeria de la Raza, where Howze will start the night with a 10-minute talk, “The Present Future of Street Art.” The event is free, but you can register here.

For well over 10 years now, I have been documenting stencils on Bruce Tomb’s wall on Valencia Street (If you search the Archives for "DAP" they will appear). I have also put art up there and enjoyed all the other art that I do not document. Tomb may not confess to actually owning this wall, because over the years it has become a wall of Free Speech for many artists, neighbors, and organizations. Some call it the Democracy Wall, but Tomb named it the (de)Appropriation Wall, especially since he resides in a former SF Police Department building. The building had a literally tortured past (Chicanos and Latinos were treated poorly by the mostly Irish police in the last century), and a bomb was placed at its back door during the violent era of radical factions in the Bay Area. Tomb decided to use the facade of this building as a force of freedom, more specifically of speech.

Tomb had a brief tussle with the City authorities over his free access to whomever wants to get up on this wall. When the City realized that it could potentially be a Constitutional matter, they backed down. The DAP wall shows up in my book "Stencil Nation" about half a dozen times. He has written about it in the book "Mission Muralismo," where it was featured. Before the book came out, some of the contributors had a show at ATA. I showed a slide presentation of Mission District stencils. Tomb showed the following video of the photographs he has taken over the years. I believe he stands in the same exact place about once a week and snaps a photo of the wall. Being a historian and documentor, I asked him to post this video for others to enjoy and analyze. For a reference of time, notice how the tree grows in front of the wall!

And for a better explanation of Tomb’s concepts and ideas around the wall, go to his site: http://www.deappropriationproject.net/

The (de)Appropriation Project Archive will be participating in the Theoretical Archaeology Group Meeting held at the University of California Berkeley from May 6-8, 2011.

Resident archaeologist on the project, Phoebe France will present a paper for session 15: Graffiti and the Archaeology of the Contemporary.

This is an exciting chance to present the project in a new context, and to get feedback on the most recent iterations of the web resources and tools. Please join us!
http://arf.berkeley.edu/TAG2011/

“Russell Howze is a native Greenvillian and a stencil artist. He runs the Stencil Archive and published the collection Stencil Nation: Community, Graffiti, and Art in 2008, documenting the work of over 350 artists from 28 countries. The Stencil Nation Book Tour will stop by the Warehouse Theatre Monday, December 20 at 7 PM.”

Check out the rest of the Create Greenville interview here. FaceBook invitation and info found here.