| In Josh MacPhee's book, Stencil Pirates, a brief history of stenciling begins, "Stenciling is one of the oldest forms of printmaking. It was commonly used in Egypt during the time of the pyramids and in China when the Great Wall was built." The technique has been used for purely decorative purposes for a thousand years in widely diverse and distant cultures and countries. More recently, and increasingly from the latter half of the 20th Century until today, the stencil has taken on a political function, similar to posters, but with the advantage of being cheaper and easier to produce, faster to put up, and harder to remove.|
David Loewenstein on stencils: "Reclaiming our visual environment and challenging the cacophony of advertising and sloganeering is one of the stencil's greatest attributes. Josh's excellent book makes this case with examples from around the globe. While Stencil Pirates is focused on stencils printed directly on the street (and many of my stencils do make it to the world that way), the images here are printed on paper.
These prints are from an ongoing series titled SNAFU: situation normal all fucked up, made in response to the U. S. government's most recent policies of invasion and occupation, and the human consequences of those policies. They are made simply with a utility knife, poster board, and spraypaint. The prints, completed with different degrees of 'finish' depending on their use, get into the world in various ways: as signs of protest, in art shows, as illustrations, on-line and on the street. I see them as visual 'Letters to the Editor' that would never be published in our local paper here in Kansas."