Stencil

From Academic Kids

Missing image
AntiWar2.jpg
a political stencil
by Josh McPhee

A stencil is a letter, number, cartoon, typographical symbol, illustration, or any other shape or image in cut-out form (it can be cut out of paper, cardboard, metal or other material). Stencils are used to create sharp-edged paintings of the desired image, by applying paint on the surface with the cut-out, leaving a painting of that shape on the underlying surface.

Silk-screen printing also uses a stencil process, as does mimeography. The masters from which mimeographed pages are printed are often called "stencils." In silk-screening and mimeography, multiple stencils are often used on the same surface to produce multi-colored images.

Stencil art using spray paint can be quickly and easily produced. These qualities are important where stenciling is illegal or quasi-legal, depending on the city and stenciling surface. Unconventional stenciling surfaces include sidewalks and corporate billboards. The extensive lettering possible with stencils makes it especially attractive to political artists, such as activist Josh McPhee. Some people that are well known for their use of stencil art include Banksy, a British artist.

A related surrealist technique is aerography, in which spray-painting is done around a three-dimensional object.

Some stencils are sold as children's toys.

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