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Nation of Illustration

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Graffitists and street artists are seasoned players in the game of visual media; it is their mission to flood the streets with art made by the public for the public. The stencil as tool to accomplish this mission is rapidly increasing in popularity, but stencilers still remain a secretive community. After all, it isn't difficult to cut a stencil out of cardboard and spray paint the side of a building in the name of personal expression — the hard part is actually getting up and doing it, and then getting away with it. Russell Howze, founder of StencilArchive.org and author of the recently published book Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art, documents the beautiful and ephemeral world of stencil art and the people who make it. Tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. at Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street, Soulard, 314-771-8230, or www.madart.com), Howze highlights favorite artists and pieces in a visual talk about the scene, and he's then joined by local stencilista Peat Wollaeger (he's featured in the book as well) for a live demonstration of the state of the art. Admission is free, books will be for sale through Left Bank Books and Mad Art's cash bar will be open for business. Howze visits Star Clipper (6392 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-9110 or www.starclipper.com, free admission) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, to discuss his book and stencils.
Wed., June 24, 2009