A couple of weeks ago I submitted a project to destructables.org for a spray painting technique using a box and a stencil to spray paint on sidewalks. Here is a link and here is what I wrote and the photos that go along with it.
Associated Artists for Propaganda Research’s Stencil Box for Spray Painting on Sidewalks
This is a technique used for spray painting small stencils on sidewalks without being detected.
You will need:
Access to a computer and printer
Some thick matte paper
A buddy (Optional)
Find an image you like on the internet with well defined lines. It should preferably be an image that criticizes authority or makes people think about topical government issues and not just images that are cool or propagate only your own reputation.
Edit it in image editing software so that it’s approximately 6″x9″. You may want words on there so look for a Stencil font (It’s in most common software packages or if it’s not you can find it on the internet.) After you’ve finished your design print it out in black and white on 10.3 mil or thicker heavy matte printing paper. You may need to turn it sideways before you print it.
Use a sharp Exacto knife to cut out all of the areas that you want to be spray painted. You may want to edit out details of your image in order to streamline your design or to avoid thin pieces of paper that may warp or get broken over time.
Find a cardboard box to use. I personally like a box that is 11″ High x12″ x15″ because it’s small enough to carry under one arm and large enough to spray paint in. Turn the box over and cut out a 7″x10″ hole on the bottom. While it’s still upside down tape your stencil to the bottom. Make sure that it’s facing in reverse so when you flip it over it’s facing the right way.
Flip it over and put a can of spray paint in each corner (if you’re going to use 4 cans). Find thin strapping material (or string or tape) to secure the cans. If you use tape as a strap make sure to place tape over the sticky side so you can easily slide your cans in and out. Mark the box so you know which way the stencil reads. Shake all of the spray paint cans really well before you leave the house. You don’t want to be shaking them out in the street.
Get a buddy to act as a look out. If not it’s possible to do it on your own but you’ll have to be quick. Find a location and crouch down with your back against a wall. I don’t like to spray in residential areas or on private property but I don’t mind doing it in commercial districts or on sidewalks. Open the box and use the box’s top flaps to further mask your activities. Make sure no ones looking and spray!
Pick up your box and walk away.
Over the weekend I started building 2 small scale models from the A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structures) series out of balsa wood. I also started working on a small scale model for an idea for A Theory of Progress sculpture that uses 2″x2″ pieces of colored wood to make a column. I made it using a 1/2″x1/2″x6″ piece of balsa wood that I painted black. I used gouache paint to make blue, red, orange, green and yellow strips that I cut to different lengths and glued to the center piece of black balsa wood. The photo below shows the small scale model of the “house” in 2 parts drying with clamps, the Rodchenko small scale model part way done and at the bottom is the A Theory of Progress small scale model that needs some touching up before I take a better picture of it.
The other night I came up with an idea for using colored pieces of wood to create sculptural projects. The concept was born out of a comment that I made about how I thought that the art viewing public would be more interested in what we were doing if we made a large sculpture of a wave using colored blocks. This was said half in jest really but the idea stuck with me for a couple of days. I’d been thinking about another way of visualizing information and stumbled across the idea of using strips of colored wood. This is nothing new really but I decided that I wanted to develop it anyway to see where it leads me. I quickly realized that this could very easily become public art which I usually despise and I find is mostly rooted in the solving of design problems and not art problems. This idea (using colored wood strips) could very easily be about solving design problems and develop quickly into a gimmick but I’m a little desperate at this point to get work shown. This creates a bit of an integrity issue and I think that the only way that I feel comfortable approaching this project in any serious way is if it’s a little tongue-in-cheek which is why I’m stealing the title A Theory of Progress from my previous small scale model. They might share it in the end or they might get sucked in together under the same project title. They are similar in idea but are also slightly different in their approach.
The concept that I’m most excited about is the covering of a telephone pole using this technique. This is something that I can do outside of my studio on a telephone pole on my street over a long period of time; I can add to it at my leisure and decide when it’s finished later. The black disco ball idea came from a dream that I had and I thought that I could make small colored streaks coming out of its center circumference. The first idea involved the illusion that the colored strip were coming out of a gallery floor. Another idea was to have them coming off of a wall. I bought a lot of strips of tiny balsa wood today to make a small scale replica of the telephone pole piece and another idea for making a perfect column. Here are some of the sketches that I made.
I decided to make a couple of small scale models of the ink rubbings from the A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structures) series. The first one that I’m making is based on a hanging ceiling sculpture made by Alexander Rodchenko. I’m thinking about making a small scale model of the blue house as well at the same time since there is a lot of time waiting for the glue to dry. I’m making it out of 3/16″ pieces of hard balsa wood and Gorilla glue. When I’m done putting it together I’ll wood fill it, sand it and paint it flat black. So far I’ve cut out all of the pieces for the bottom frame and the top frame and I’ve glued the bottom together and put the cross braces in. In the photograph below the top frame is being glued together using corner clamps which are great for clamping corners together.