A photoblog with pictures I've taken of graffiti and street art in Moscow (and anywhere else I happen to travel).

Monday, March 14, 2005

Stencil graffiti around the world

I have noticed lots of "stencil graffiti" in St. Petersburg and not nearly as much in Moscow, although maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.

"Graffiti Can't Be Stopped" stencil, 3:20pm,
Feb. 13, 2005, Zhukovskogo Street, St. Petersburg.

The caption on this reads (in translation): "I didn't go
to work today... ...I don't think I'll go tomorrow." Seen
on Zhukovskogo St. in St. Petersburg, 2:39pm, March 3, 2005.

The caption reads, "Be alert - you are being watched. Seen on a side street
(I can't remember which) off Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, 4:58pm,
March 3, 2005.

The Mona Lisa as a drunk - the caption reads, "Alko."
Seen on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and a cross street
(can't recall which), 4:37pm, March 3, 2005.

The caption reads, "Get a hold of yourself" (literally, "Hold yourself in
your hands"). Seen in an archway off Zhukovskogo Street, 2:40pm, March 3, 2005.

I was considering the possibility that the English-language stencil I saw in St. Petersburg might be a result of Finnish artists coming down there (as Finns are wont to do to engage in all kinds of bad behavior), but that doesn't explain the ones in Russian.

I haven't seen any like them in Moscow - the only stencil graffiti I've seen there is without any apparent message.

The caption reads "Konyok," which has many meanings
(according to Multitran ), including one which
refers to a type of bird. Who knows what this symbol
really means. Seen on Kuznetsky Most St. in Moscow,
5:15pm, March 6, 2005.

Stencil graffiti in its broader context...

...and close up. A bar code intertwined with flowers. No doubt someone's
trying to say something with this. Seen on Tverskaya St. near Pushkin
Square in Moscow, 5:00pm, March 6, 2005.

This last one is from Washington, DC, my
hometown. The caption reads (in case you
don't want to click on and expand the picture)
"Our dreams cannot fit in their ballot boxes."
Seen at the corner of Albemarle and 43rd
(I think) Sts., Northwest, on January 15, 2005.

As it turns out, stencil graffiti is a phenomenon that the web already has covered - no surprise there, I guess. Googling that last phrase (about the dreams and ballot boxes) led me to a blog called Madison Art Crime Collective , which has a post with a similar stencil seen in Madison, Wisconsin (coincidentally, my father's hometown).

I especially liked that blog's
inaugural post, which seems to serve as a sort of mission statement as well as breaking down some of the differences between different graffiti styles for the uninitiated. An excerpt:
I am going to do my best to photo-document Madison art graffiti as much as possible (any and all submissions are welcome) so that it can be admired/ridiculed/etc. I am going to focus primarily on stencil graffiti, but I will let this blog develop as the art does. Two reason for singling out stencil graff: 1) unlike "tagging", the work tends to be more premeditated and concerned with both aesthetics and message.* 2) one year ago there was little, if any, stencil work to be found in Madison, but since this summer, shazam!There is change in the air and this forum is here to give it voice!

*a word to the taggers: I'm not trying to start a war here, there are truly amazing tagging works out there and they are all the more amazing for having been painstakingly hand done and out of sight of the popo's. However, they are usually in hard to reach/edge of town areas for the same reason. Also, there are far too many egoists who are running around scrawling their names on things without creating art. Art isn't about fame, it's the love baby, the love!
MACC led me in turn to the Milwaukee Stencil Graffiti Map Project - a website that's a bit hard to navigate but is an interesting concept - an interactive city map with photos of graffiti- and to the Stencil Revolution website, which has galleries of lots of stencil work, and also to the Wooster Collective website - "A Celebration of Street Art."

Wooster Collective in turn led me to a website called
Streetmeme , also focused on stencil graffiti. Getting away from the stencil focus, Wooster Collective also links to Streets Are Saying Things - "The original online graffiti museum."

I get the feeling that I'm just scratching the surface of the graffiti-themed material that's out there on the WWW.


Blogger pri said...

Great stencils. I love Mona Lisa's one.

4:41 PM

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