Stencil art take on many forms, from the large, detailed, colourful, multi-layered to the small single-layered. I have a soft spot for the style of the revolutionary political messages – simple black stencils done to convey a message repetitively, illegally and cheap. Often relying on clichés or archetypes to make sure it communicates well.
With all the fancy materials to cut in, specialized paints, and computer programmes, creating stencil based street art is becoming increasingly costly and the threshold is raised. The good part of this is less crowded walls and generally a higher quality on the street art – at least regarding the technical bit. Where it loses, is as a democratic means of expression, and in a development towards greater focus on execution rather than idea and content.
As a self-proclaimed connoisseur, I appreciate a brilliantly done stencil. However, brilliant technique is often heavily dependant on doing street art on legal or non-exposed walls (or on canvass) – time and total concentration is a limiting factor when doing illegal street art. Therefore, where a technically excellent stencil is great, a great one-layer with a strong message is still my favourite.
It is said that the main layer of a multi-layered stencil should be able to stand on its own. Well, why not let it?
I’m a great admirer of the artists sticking to a defined style, making their work easily recognisable, but I have a hard time to limit myself in this way. I like to wary, trying out different techniques. I never have the patience or stamina to elaborate on a theme. Changing between styles and techniques makes it all the more interesting.
So having a high regard for the brilliant idea expressed in a single layer stencil doesn’t mean that this is the goal I’m seeking – at least not all the time. I’m too absorbed with having fun at trying out new ways and themes.