Literature Program
 


Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

FREE

Talking Leaves...Books & Hallwalls present

Russell Howze

Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art

Slide show and demonstration.

A "vibrant exploration of a sub-sub-genre... [T]his volume crosses the globe for a swift tour of the world's best artists, making it a handsome and insightful introduction to the form." — Publishers Weekly, 10/16/2008

Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art packs over 500 full-color photographs in a 192 page, 8 inch by 8 inch pound of paper and ink. The book presents work by more than 350 artists from 28 countries, including Iran, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain, Lebanon, Israel, and the United States. Featured artists include: Banksy, Jef Aerosol, Logan Hicks, Adam5100, Arofish, M-City, SWOON, Hao, John Fekner, Peat Wollaeger, Klutch, and others.

Without a doubt, stencils are the fastest, easiest, and cheapest method for painting an image on a wall, a sidewalk, or almost any object anywhere. Stencil Nation focuses on the unexpected mix of this lively, accessible medium to reveal engaging aspects of an intentionally secretive international creative community. With dynamically illustrated perspectives from diverse niches of the art form, hundreds of photographs and numerous essays have been curated by StencilArchive.org’s founder, Russell Howze. Stencil Nation builds upon previous published works to give the most extensive and up-to-date history of stencil art, as well as how-to tips from the artists who work within the art form.

Russell Howze saw his first stencil in 1990, which was J. R. "Bob" Dobbs on an apartment wall in Clemson, SC. In 1995, Russell saw an amazing sight on the exterior wall of the Reichstag in Berlin: a huge stenciled Bertolt Brecht poem. He snapped a photo of that stencil, then found one in Budapest, Hungary. Then a few more stencils appeared in Basel, Switzerland. When he landed in San Francisco in 1997, he found dozens on the sidewalks of the Mission and Haight neighborhoods. He's never stopped photographing the sometimes temporary, always intriguing art form.

In 2002, Russell created the first version of Stencil Archive, thinking that he would have time to scan and upload his own collection before anyone discovered the site and submitted their own work. He was gladly mistaken, so Stencil Archive (www.stencilarchive.org) took off, outgrew its parent site HappyFeetTravels.org, and ended up becoming a site with over 12,000 uploaded photographs. At the time of its inception, Stencil Archive was the only international stencil site out there (for a few months). Now there are dozens of sites with tens of thousands of photographs. Russell continues to curate his site, posting stencils from around the world and featuring dozens of amazing artists. 

When not photographing, making, painting, and uploading stencils, Russell fills his time by doing one or more of the following fun things: being a carny for the Sustainable Living Roadshow, riding his bike, writing for his blog www.HappyFeetTravels.org, cooking healthy food, creating vector art and putting it on stickers and buttons, producing events, puppeteering, listening to good music, traveling, and volunteering/protesting to make the world a better place. 

He currently lives in San Francisco's Mission District, and is usually seen on his bike with his camera slung around his shoulder.

 
 
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IN THE GALLERY
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Laylah Ali
Paintings and Drawings


Laylah Ali's work explores power dynamics and interpersonal conflict through compositions that position culturally, racially and sexually ambiguous figures in precarious, loaded, and unexpectedly humorous situations. Ali uses concise—even minimal—imagery that is specific in rendering and intent. While there are narratives in Ali's work, they are stories whose open spaces often give them the atmosphere of fables.