Stencil World

Cut out of stiff material such as cardboard, the outline of a stencil can be used again and again to reproduce the same shape or word. A form of urban signature, the history of stenciling is reminiscent of the early origins of the tag.

As a technique stenciling existed separately from graffiti (and also did not began in New York) yet it channels just as much street energy. Throughout the world, stenciling is often associated with slogans or reproduced images on walls, most often in protest and for political purposes. Stenciled images are often humorous, poetic or intentionally shocking.

With many public bodies cracking down on graffiti, stenciling came to the forefront as it is much faster to use in the street. With the inevitable encounter between graffiti of the 1970s and 80s, and stencilers, a new chapter in Street Art emerged.

M-City (b. 1978)
M-city 1011 (Shipyard)
Created on site at the ArtScience Museum
January 2018
M-City (a.k.a. Mariusz Waras) is graphic artist, outdoor painter, traveller, amateur architect and graduated from the Department of Graphic Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk in Poland. His work focuses on urban space and involves piecing together hundreds of carefully cut stencils to create a coherent imagined cityscape, composed of mechanical and industrial objects.
Banksy (b. date unknown)
Banksy (b. date unknown)
Rat and Heart, 2015
Spray paint and emulsion on canvas
Courtesy of Vroom & Varossieau
Photo: courtesy of Stéphane Bisseuil
Always working in complete anonymity this British artist made a return to the basic stencil in the 1990s. Banksy uses his sarcastic tone to denounce the peculiarities of the world around him with simple yet caustic scenes. The first Street Artist to cross over into a much broader public the Banksy phenomenon astonished, shocked, and took the Street Art world by surprise. Rapidly, Banksy rose to become one of the most recognised and sought-after artists. Each time one of his works appears in a city it is celebrated and not only by those who consider themselves stenciling purists.
Jef Aérosol (b. 1957)
Jef Aérosol (b. 1957)
Sitting Kid and Butterflies, 2016
Stencil on cardboard
Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Stéphane Bisseuil
Jef Aérosol enhances the stencil technique by using layers and predominately black, white and various shades of grey. He often creates portraits of famous musicians like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and others. This artistic ‘jukebox’ theme is inspired by album covers from his collection of vinyl. Another segment of Jef Aérosol’s work is devoted to anonymous people on the street: musicians, passers-by, beggars, children and even family pets. Similar themes often appear in the work of other stencil artists.